The latest entry into the superhero movie genre was released this week: the Josh Trank directed Fantastic Four staring Miles Teller as Reed Richards, Kate Mara as Sue Storm, Micheal B. Jordan as Johnny Storm and Jamie Bell as the ever lovin’ blue eyed Thing. The movie is taking a bit of a beating critically, and nobody seems to want to see it. Now, before you read any further I have yet to see the new Fantastic Four movie, so be aware that this is all based on observation. Until I do see the movie I won’t comment on it’s quality, but it’s hard not to be aware of the reviews as they’ve been coming in.
To say that the reviews have been pretty unflattering would be an incredible understatement, but that’s not the harshest criticism of the movie I’ve seen this week.
Granted, according to Rotten Tomatoes, it is the worst Fantastic Four movie that has been released. That includes the 1994 version that had a budget of about $1 million dollars and was never released to theaters or home media (it was made just so the rights holder wouldn’t loose the movie rights – sort of like the 2015 one), and the two previous offerings from 2005 and 2007 which are universally considered pretty bad. Now while I felt that the 2005 movie was somewhat underrated, I wasn’t that critical of the sequel, either – it’s cheesy, unintentionally funny but it’s certainly no Incredibles. The 2015 iteration had a lot to live up to, not because the previous movies were great, but precisely because they weren’t. In the current comic book movie age where superhero films are rarely ever out of the theater, Fantastic Four had some lofty heights to reach in order to stand with the likes of The Avengers and Guardians Of The Galaxy.
While the film has been mired in controversy for the best part of two years, from some fans crying foul about the casting choices, others raging at some questionable story choices regarding a certain Russian hacker – sorry, Dr. Doom – and the Thing being naked in the few trailers that were released, one could be forgiven for thinking that all the movie had to do to garner fan acclaim was simply be average. From all accounts, however, it isn’t.
But when the director of the 2015 movie releases this tweet (that has since been taken down) it doesn’t exactly encourage me to ignore the reviews and rush to the cinema.
Josh Trank released a fantastic found footage style movie, Chronicle, that is essentially an origin story for a superhero. It’s a brilliant film, and it shows that when Mr Trank has more creative freedom than the studio was allegedly willing to give him then he will produce a movie that is stylistically wonderful, has an intelligent approach to a genre that makes millions and was enjoyed by all that have seen it. If you’re not one of those who have seen it, then you can probably still find it on Netflix. From what I’ve heard about Fantastic Four, Chronicle is by far a better way to spend an evening.
The thing is, though, is that when a director tweets what is both an apology for a movie that is getting critically beaten, and an attack on what I assume is the studios interference in his project it does more harm than the reviews could ever do.
When a director has no faith in his movie, why should you?