You know what? I’m probably going to catch some hell for this, but I actually kind of like the 2015 Fantastic Four movie starring Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell. Yes, I know. “That movie sucks!” And I agree with you! It does! The 2015 Fantastic Four reboot is bad. And I mean really bad. Especially Dr. Doom. I mean, jeez. What the hell did they do to the ruler of Latveria?
That said, while I can definitely acknowledge how bad the movie is, there are also quite a few things that I not only admire about the much-maligned movie, but even like about it. In fact, I don’t even think it’s the worst superhero movie I’ve ever seen (I’m sorry, DC fans, but that prize goes to Catwoman). And while it’s certainly not the best comic book movie of all time, I definitely think you should give it a second chance. And guess what! I have 5 major reasons why.
It Does Body Horror Really Well
Long before there were any rumors that the Dr. Strange sequel might be a horror movie, there were rumors that the Fantastic Four reboot would get there first. You see, the director, Josh Trank, who also did the excellent movie Chronicle is a big fan of David Cronenberg, who pretty much created the sub-genre of body horror. In this sub-genre, the horror is actually of the human body, usually in the form of self-mutilation, but sometimes, it can be as existential as aging or deteriorating. This sounds like a prime source to pull from for a superhero movie, right? Well, Fox apparently didn’t think so, either, which is why there is so little body horror in the final product.
But the stuff that is in there is actually super effective. When the team gets back to Earth, the characters—most notably Miles Teller’s Mr. Fantastic, and Jamie Bell’s The Thing—are truly suffering through their transformations, with Jamie Bell’s distress of turning into a human rock genuinely horrifying, which brings me to my next point.
It’s Like No Other Comic Book Movie
For better or worse, the 2015 Fantastic Four flick is like no other comic book movie ever made, and it’s especially nothing like the first two Fantastic Four movies that came out in the early 2000s (more on that in a few). Here, you have a film that’s almost completely devoid of any humor. Instead, we’re given a dark, moody, almost existential story about how horrible it might actually be to engulf yourself in flames or be able to stretch your body like an action figure.
According to the director, studio interference is what destroyed the project. And I guess I’ll have to believe him, since the second act of the film where the heroes were supposed to be used as weapons is completely removed and replaced with a “One Year Later” caption. And this is where, in my mind, the movie falls completely apart (Somebody even made a cool fan-made scene of this deleted section of the film where The Thing strikes fear in the hearts of men).
In the end, Fantastic Four is a weird film, but not like Deadpool, breaking the fourth wall, weird, but rather a curious, how the hell did this film end up like this, weird? In fact, it’s a film that I’ve watched several times just to discern where the film goes from being interesting to being awful. And I often jump back and forth in my decision. That said, forget The #SnyderCut. Give me the #JoshTrankCut! That's the movie I want to see.
It’s Extremely Different From The First Two Fantastic Four Films
Not only is the 2015 Fantastic Four different from every other comic book movie ever made, it’s also especially different from the two Jessica Alba Fantastic Four movies, and I kind of love it for that reason. Now—and please don’t hate me for this comment—but I’ve always kind of disliked The Fantastic Four comic as a series. I grew up reading them and watching the ‘90s cartoon and I always found them corny (besides Dr. Doom, of course). So I couldn’t really hate on the two kid-friendly Fantastic Four movies starring Michael Chiklis and Chris Evans since I already kind of thought the characters were pretty lame.
But the 2015 version couldn’t be any more different from the characters I already had in my head. This was the kind of movie that I could tell, just from looking at the poster, that the fans were not going to hate. And I love when movies make bold choices like that. Even when they don’t always succeed, they still come out being unique, and Fantastic Four is no exception.
Michael B. Jordan Is A Bold Choice That I’m Cool With
Scroll to the bottom of this article, and you’ll see that I’m a Black dude. So, while a lot of people were upset over Michael B. Jordan being cast as the traditionally white Johnny Storm, I was cool with it. In fact, I was better than cool with it; I loved the decision! Michael B. Jordan is a talented actor, and I thought he would do a different job than Chris Evans, who was such a good pick the first time around that I thought that his performance was kind of blah as Johnny Storm.
And before you say, “Well, what if Black Panther was white? Would that be okay?” I’d say sure. Cast Leonardo DiCaprio as T’Challa and call it a day. But for me, I loved seeing this traditionally white character played by a Black dude. Especially since they one-line wrote off the fact that he had a white sister and didn’t make a big deal out of it. She’s adopted? Okay, cool, let’s move on then. And I love that.
The First Half Of The Movie Is Actually Really, Really Good
This might be the most important reason why I kind of like this train-wreck, but I actually love the first half of this movie. And I’m talking all of it. The failed space mission, their return home, their transformations. All of it. The tone is just so off, and I love it. In fact, everything before “One Year Later” is so good, I want to cry.
But Lord, that second half is just horrendous. It’s quite possibly the worst second and third acts I’ve ever seen in any movie ever. Dr. Doom, as I keep mentioning, is just plain AWFUL here. I didn’t think he could be any worse than the silly Dr. Doom (played by Julian McMahon) in the 2000 films, but I was wrong. At least that Dr. Doom had a personality. But this Dr. Doom (played by Toby Kebbell) is utterly worthless. Plus, he looks like garbage. But I’ll stop there. We already know how bad the movie is. But that first part. Man, it’s so good!
Those are my reasons, but I would love to hear what you think. Sound off in the comments section below if you love or hate this much-maligned movie, and why.
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.
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