Origin Of the Species
Film: Fantastic Four
Cast: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan
Directed by: Josh Trank
Duration: 1 hr 40 mins
Rating: * * *
Director Josh Trank was just 28 when he made his debut with the low budget sci-fi thriller Chronicles in 2012. Armed with a multi-million dollar budget he has helmed the latest Fantastic Four and it was going to be an uphill task for many reasons – to begin with, there is an overdose of super hero films and secondly, the earlier Fantastic Four films (in 2005 and 2007) didn’t exactly create a new or loyal fan following. Given those circumstances, Trank has done a decent job.
Fantastic Four is more of an origins story. We learn how Reed Richards (Miles Teller of Whiplash fame) became Mister Fantastic, Johnny storm became Human Torch (Michael B. Jordan), Sue Storm (Kate Mara turned into the invisible woman (Kate Mara) and poor Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) became The Thing.
They were all ordinary people once – Reed was a whizkid working on teleporting at a rather young age with Ben ably assisting him. They meet Sue (who likes to listen to the British band Portishead) at a science fair and her father is in charge of recruiting fresh talent at the Baxter research institute. Her brother Johnny is keen on racing cars but he eventually joins the team working on teleporting. Turns out that Victor Von Doom a contemporary of theirs has already done considerable work on it but has other issues that need to be sorted before he can come on board. Besides, he also has a thing for Sue.
The build-up moves steadily at a brisk pace with not many dull moments. It hits a few bumps when they become superheroes when an experiment goes horribly wrong. In fact even the initial portions when they discover what has happened to them is handled well but when it comes to saving the earth it is on a familiar and sticky wicket. Von Doom when he turns into a villain is such a cardboard character (and looks straight out of a B grade movie) and the final act is the weakest. With a sequel scheduled for 2017, they are hoping you’ll come back for more.
Meanwhile, this installment goes in the Comme ci, comme ça category.
Published in The Navhind Times on 23rd Aug 2015