Dark, gritty and a little bit rocky.

Please note the review below may contain minor spoilers - I've done my best to keep them to a minimum.

10 years have passed since the original 2005 Fantastic 4 offering, now Fox attempt to reboot the franchise once again with Fantastic Four, showcasing a far more realistic and grittier take on the super-powered scientific foursome.

Fantastic Four begins with a young Reed Richards, a socially awkward, albeit unrealistically underappreciated genius wonder kid who has seemingly mastered the science of teleportation - within his own garage of course, aided by his only friend and heir to a family junkyard Ben Grimm. Now several years later both Reed (Miles Teller) and Ben (Jamie Bell) are attending their high school science fair, with a complete teleportation prototype - believing the items they are teleporting are moving locations upon Earth.

Itís here they come across Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) and his adopted daughter - who is also quite the fellow brainiac herself - Sue Storm (Kate Mara) - who enlightens the pair to the fact, that the teleportation device actually transports matter to another dimension - the former offers Reed a scholarship to his own private thinktank, where he can continue his work within a larger team and together, research this newly discovered alternate dimension in more depth.

This larger team is where we meet Sueís brother Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), a frustrated hothead who is reluctantly pulled in by his fatherís ultimatum after a recent run-in with the authorities. The other piece of that pie is the iconic Fantastic Four character and rival to Reed himself, Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell) who seemingly has very little trust for the Ďsuitsí he is working for or their intentions for the technology they are creating. But feeling that united kinship, the four gather together and pool their resources to foster their ideas into reality - of transporting matter forward and backwards across dimensions - culminating in using living organic matter in the form of a Chimpanzee.

Their hard work pays off, but feeling underappreciated by their backers - and wanting to be the sole pioneers in this new realm - Reed, Johnny and Victor are accompanied by Ben to test out the machine for themselves. They successfully arrive at their destination but an organism within this strange new dimension has other ideas - as the four are attacked - causing them to run for their lives and back to their own world - except now enhanced with unique abilities.

Fantastic Four does one thing extremely well, setting up the backdrop to the universe and its eventual culmination of super-powered beings. In fact up until that point it could've been your average well done dramatical and thought provoking film, about scientists pushing the envelope too far. Unfortunately that well executed plot falls apart as our Ďheroesí gain their abilities. Whilst Fantastic Four does a much better job than itís predecessors of trying to convey what the reality of living with powers may indeed be like, it feels like the film's writer and director Josh Trank, is rushing us out of the door for an eventual sequel. Fantastic Four spends the bulk of its hour and half runtime on the setup, giving us just a glimmer of its payoff. Thereís also a definitive point within Fantastic Four where plot takes a backseat, at odds with its own methodical approach in the first two actís seemingly wanting to just put things to a resolution.

This is never more apparent than the villain within Fantastic Four, it should come as no surprise who the villain is - after all he is a mainstay within the Fantastic Four lore itself and one of the movies of past. But a continual problem that many Marvel films have been struggling with of late, is creating a believable, well thought out villain with who the audience can actually emphasise with. Unfortunately things are no different in Fantastic Four with the iconic Dr Doom, whose entire story arc from life to culmination seems to span a total of 5 minutes - in fact Iíd say itís probably the worst in a Marvel film to date.

Diehard comic fans will already be well aware that this particular movie is diverging from itís original source material quite significantly, so they will also be sad to hear that Doomís powers only add to this - whilst in-line with the world created within the Fantastic Four movie itself - itís quite a stretch from the comicís origin. But the character of Victor (Toby Kebbell) himself is in stark contrast also, not only in the methodical approach Fantastic Four regails us as a film, but of the plots writing never really hinting or explaining the character turning so dark, something that had previously come across more as teenage angst.

When all's said and done Fantastic Four is basically two movies; a long-winded drama of a scientist meeting and bonding with his peers then pursuing technology without really thinking about the moral implications, and a super-hero launching pad for future endeavours from the Fantastic Four universe. Whether the movie does well enough to warrant further sequels remains to be seen but there are a lot of great aspects to take away from Fantastic Four, itís just unfortunate that most of them donít come from the super-powered aspect within the film.

If you are a diehard Fantastic Four comic fan you may be a little disappointed with the changes to plot and character, whilst likewise a casual Marvel movie-goer who is seeking some light-hearted thrills and comedy with plenty of action really wonít find it in Fantastic Four - at least in terms of action up until the last 10 to 15 minutes or so - nor have Fox attempted to create some kind of united universe for their characters (X-Men, Wolverine or the upcoming Deadpool) to keep you invested, the same way Disney have - so be sure to not stick around for any credit scenes.

As a standalone film Fantastic Four works well at least up until the third act, it's rushed nature will likely hamper the film with critics and fans alike, but the darker, more realistic setting for Fantastic Four differentiates itself from other super-hero films and will keep you invested up until the end - just donít go in expecting the usual Marvel action-fest.

Fantastic Four is currently available to buy on Blu-ray & DVD via Amazon or on-demand via Amazon Video.

  • Review by
    David Robinson

    Twitter: @5ypher

    Posted on
    5th August 2015

  • 3 Out of 5 Stars
  • Rushed conclusion

    Another non-sensical villain

  • Great setup

    Super-power repercussions

Film Info

Fantastic Four Fantastic Four
Rating: 12A
Release Date: 6th August
Runtime: 1 hr 40 mins
Director: Josh Trank
Starring: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Reg E. Cathey & Toby Kebbell

  • Hulk
  • Fantastic 4
  • X-Men: First Class

No, near end there is quite a lot of violence inflicted upon people that could be unsuitable for small children.

There is no mid or post-credit sequences, so be sure to not stick around for them.

This is the first time The Thing has been recreated using CGI rather than prosphetic make-up.