The “Fantastic Four” reboot has been plagued with negative press even before its official release and many fans seemed to think that 20th Century Fox has already ruined the potentially awesome franchise. However, if there’s one thing that I’ve learnt from watching this movie, it’s that people will always have conflicting opinions about movies and mine was pretty positive.
If you’re a longtime comic book fan, there are some things that you should probably know about the reboot. First of all, this is a reboot that is based on “Ultimate Fantastic Four”, a modernised re-imagining of Marvel‘s long-running Fantastic Four comic book franchise. So, don’t expect to see the same team that you have come to know from the previous “Fantastic Four” films. The new team is much younger and the origin of their powers is obviously different.
Second of all, director Josh Trank didn’t completely abandon the source material. The origins of the characters are, after all, based on their origins in the “Ultimate Fantastic Four” comic series. Let us start with the opening sequence.
The film opens with a young Reed Richards displaying remarkable intelligence ahead of his peers as he devoted himself to creating a teleportation device that could transmit matter from another dimension. He became friends with Ben Grimm, who showed interest in his project and helped him to build the device. Fast forward to a few years later, we are introduced to the grown-up versions of Reed (played by Miles Teller) and Ben (played by Jamie Bell) displaying the final product of Reed’s project at their school’s science fair.
Their project caught the attention of Dr. Franklin Storm (played by Reg E. Cathey), who witnessed the whole teleportation with his adopted daughter Susan Storm (played by Kate Mara) at the science fair.
Yes, you will see some minor changes here and there, but they didn’t really affect the film’s continuity. One thing I liked about the movie was the way they showed Reed and Ben meeting for the first time, which is similar to the comic series.
Another thing comic book fans should know about the reboot is that you won’t actually get to see the characters possessing their special abilities until the 2nd half of the film, where Reed and the team gets affected by the energy source that came from the alternate universe.
That happened after Reed was brought into the Baxter Building to work on the teleportation device with Susan, her rebellious brother Johnny Storm (played by Michael B. Jordan), as well as genius computer programmer Victor Van Doom (played by Toby Kebbell). We know what you’re thinking, but no, the building is not the Fantastic Four headquarters. Just like how it was shown in the “Ultimate Fantastic Four” comic series, the building is where gifted children use their intelligence to build something for the US government.
Also, the Storm family’s relationship with Victor go back a long way, as Victor was previously thrown in jail due to some issues with Sue and Johnny’s father. Despite their past issues, Victor agreed to team up with Reed and Susan to build the teleportation device that he has been working on for a long time. Johnny was slightly problematic in the beginning, but he later agreed to work on the project with them as well.
Their technology caught the attention of Dr. Allen (played by Tim Blake Nelson) and the US government as the team successfully teleported biological matters to the alternate dimension which was known as the Planet Zero. However, the team wanted to be the first group of people make the leap instead, just like how Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon.
While Sue wasn’t around, Reed invited his best and “only friend” Ben to join him, Johnny, and Victor to be the first human beings to enter the alternate dimension. Of course, things won’t go as smoothly as expected as the experiment went awry and they ended up being transported back to their own dimension without Victor, who was last seen falling into a pool of lava-liked energy source in the Planet Zero.
The malfunctioned teleportation device did not only affect the team, but also affected Sue, who tried to save them by bringing them back to the testing site. As you can already imagine, the experiment altered their physical form drastically as Reed earned the power to stretch his body parts to incredible lengths while Susan can make herself invisible and project force fields. Her brother Johnny was engulfed in flames, but was given the power to fly and shoot fiery projectiles. Ben, however, became a super strong stone giant who is nigh-invulnerable to physical damage and physiologically stressful conditions.
The later part of the film showed how they coped with their new powers individually before working together to save Earth from Victor, who went rogue and called himself “Doom” after being abandoned in the Planet Zero.
The reasons why they didn’t don the iconic blue jumpsuits?
Well, that’s because this film focuses on each character’s origin before earning their special abilities. The action sequences are built in the later part of the film, with the team fighting against Doctor Doom who tried to destroy the Earth. It was also explained in the film (as well as the “Ultimate Fantastic Four” comic series) why most of Doom’s body parts were transformed into metal and his internal organs were converted into a toxic substance. But surely they could’ve brought us more action scenes because why end the film at 100 minutes?
Also, the CGI work wasn’t painfully horrid and while it’s a gritty take on the original film, a few jokes were thrown into the reboot as well. The cast members may not be showing their best performances, but well, at least they tried their best to perform well for their respective roles. I must admit that the film ended quite abruptly, especially during the awkward ending scene where they tried to think of a good name for the team.
Personally, I think this reboot is so much better than the previous “Fantastic Four” films because it embraced a dark and grounded tone. The movie is definitely not disastrous as it gave us the team’s back story and explained what it is all about. It simply left the door open for some potential spin-off movies and sequels. For what it’s worth, it may just surpass your expectations. You should definitely check it out yourself.
“Fantastic Four” is set to be released on 6th August 2015 in Malaysia.