“It’s not canon and there aren’t enough puns!” Ah, nerds. So angry all the time at works of fiction and people’s opinion of it. I get it. I get nerd ragey at times, too. However, I also try to critique movies based on how well they’re made, as objectively as I can.
As most of you know, the newest Fantastic Four is getting HEINOUS reviews. Critics think it’s worse than Elektra. Apparently, it’s even more rotten than Batman & Robin. Some are even going as far as saying it’s the worst superhero movie they’ve ever seen. Is it, though?
Here is my short and sweet review. It was uneven as f**k. Some parts were really terrible, but some parts I actually enjoyed. Some of the dialogue was awful, yet some scenes made me smile and care about the characters. Overall, I felt like I was watching two very different movies at the same time. As if the TV antenna was making the channel switch from a good sci-fi horror movie to a really bad Syfy movie.
It’s become a familiar feeling the last few years when watching comic book movies. It happened to me with The Wolverine, the most recent Spider-Man, and Age of Ultron. I’m sure it’s happened to you with other nerd movies, too. And, if you really think about it, how many comic book movies are actually great and will stand the test of time? There are only a few, at best, the rest are junk or just good, but not great. Keep in mind that these were all made by different studios, so you can’t just say Fox movies suck, since they’ve also made some pretty cool X-Men movies.
I do find it rather easy to blame some faceless, old studio exec who’s never picked up a comic for ruining what could have been several great superhero movies, but it’s not easy to make a great movie regardless of the genre. And it’s even harder when all The Man wants to do is make money by selling toys to 8 year old boys because they’re the ONLY people that like superheroes ever, right? (Hahaha! Idiots, we have way more money.)
In the case of Fantastic Four, director Josh Trank tweeted and immediately deleted his frustration. Now, I’m not saying the creative team always has their sh** together, but we’ve seen many people leave projects due to “creative differences.” And we all know Josh has already made a fantastic movie in Chronicle. So what happened? Did he make a way too serious, gritty version that the suits hated and the pressure got to him? Did he not know what the hell to do with a well-known comic book property that nerds love way too much? We’ll probably never know.
What I find interesting is that most of the critiques I’ve read aren’t actual film critiques. People say that it was “soul-crushing” and “somber.” That there wasn’t enough action. That it doesn’t represent what the Fantastic Four are about. To me, none of this actually sounds like a diss on bad filmmaking. It sounds more like some whiny nerd’s wet dream that never became reality.
And while it’s true that people go to the movies to escape, some of us also enjoy some reality every once in a while. It helps us relate to characters struggling with similar issues. Personally, I don’t want every superhero movie to be the same formulaic bullcrap we’ve been seeing lately. I want both bright fairy tales and dark, fearless takes on superhero stories. I enjoy watching the very family-friendly The Flash, but I also want to have an adult conversation about the brutal alien invasion that pissed off all the nerds in Man of Steel. I want to take my niece to see a fun Captain Marvel movie, but I’m also looking forward to a very messed up second season of Daredevil.
Superhero movies and TV shows aren’t just for you or me or children or adults. They’re for everyone. And I think it’s important to take risks and challenge the audience with some depth and originality, not just give ’em the same cheap, predictable entertainment. Unfortunately, Fantastic Four failed at that, but it did have instances that could have made it a pretty cool and different superhero movie. So that’s why I didn’t hate it. Does that make me uncool because it’s not the popular thing to say? I don’t care. Whatever. Call me Dr. Doomrina.
I’ll see myself out.