Fantastic Four hits theaters this weekend, and while reviews were believed to be embargoed until tomorrow, a few critics have published their thoughts on the superhero reboot, and they are not positive. While there are currently only five reviews listed on Rotten Tomatoes, only one of them is positive, giving Fantastic Four a 20% "Rotten" rating thus far. That number will likely change when more reviews start flooding in tomorrow, but for now, we have a few excerpts of these reviews.
Fantastic Four is a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel's original and longest-running superhero team, which centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy. The plot is based on the Ultimate Fantastic Four comics, which feature much younger versions of these characters than the original 2005 Fantastic Four adaptation.
Miles Teller stars as Reed Richards, a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic, who has the ability to stretch his body to incredible lengths. Michael B. Jordan plays Johnny Storm, a.k.a. The Human Torch, who is able to create and manipulate fire. Kate Mara portrays Johnny's sister Sue, a.k.a. The Invisible Woman, who can create force fields of energy around her. Rounding out Marvel's First Family is Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm, a.k.a. The Thing, whose rock-like exterior is nearly impenetrable. The supporting cast is rounded out by Toby Kebbell as Doom, Reg E. Cathey as Dr. Franklin Storm, Sue and Johnny's father, and Tim Blake Nelson as Harvey Elder. Take a look at these review excerpts and let us know what you think.
Joining Spider-Man in the annals of dizzyingly rapid reboots, Fox's second stab at Fantastic Four comes just eight years after the first try and its sequel, which didn't set the bar inordinately high. Yet if this latest version, with a significantly younger cast (one's tempted to call it "Fantastic Four High"), clears that threshold, it's just barely, drawing from a different source to reimagine the quartet's origins without conspicuously improving them. All told, the movie feels like a protracted teaser for a more exciting follow-up that, depending on whether audiences warm to this relatively low-key approach, might never happen.
Fantastic Four feels like a 100-minute trailer for a movie that never happens. At this point in the ever-expanding cinematic superhero game, it behooves any filmmakers who gets involved to have at least a mildly fresh take on their characters and material, but this third attempt to create a worthy cinematic franchise from the first of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's iconic comic book creations, which can genuinely claim to have launched the Age of Marvel, proves maddeningly lame and unimaginative. Die-hard fans will undoubtedly show up, but box-office results for this Fox release will fall far short of what Marvel achieves with its own in-house productions.
It's one thing for a movie to leave you wanting a sequel and quite another to make you wish you were watching that sequel instead. "Fantastic Four" - the second attempt by Fox and the third by Hollywood in general to bring Marvel Comics' popular superteam to the big screen - offers glimmers of good things to come in its final moments, but only after the audience has slogged through yet another dispiriting origin story and yet another Earth-rescuing battle in a bland, CG-created nowhere land.
But whatever strengths Fantastic Four has, it does not feel like a movie directed by Trank (who made such a striking debut with 2012's bold anti-superhero fable Chronicle) or for that matter by anyone. It's a muddled and underdeveloped origin story which segues jarringly from light-hearted adventure to heavy-handed grit, grasping for a gravitas that it hasn't earned. The biggest mistake here seems to have been trying to marry a dark and realistic tone with the story of four teenagers whose superpowers include transforming into rock, generating force fields and becoming very stretchy. While far from the unmitigated disaster some had predicted, Fantastic Four feels unlikely to kick-start a new franchise, barely sustaining the narrative steam to power itself through its modest 90-minute running time.
After battling months of bad buzz about a troubled production and the need for reshoots, Fantastic Four emerges as a wounded animal of a superhero movie, only rarely showing flashes of the darker, more emotional breed of Marvel film it's trying to be. Certainly, Fox's rebooting of the franchise blessedly lacks the dopey irreverence of the 2005 version and its sequel, both directed by Tim Story, but Chronicle filmmaker Josh Trank struggles to balance an origin story, mediocre comic-book action, and a strained metaphor about dysfunctional families. A good cast led by Miles Teller gets swallowed up in a narrative that grows progressively more muddled and tedious.