Fantastish

 

“Fantastic Four” is the first film I can remember during which I actually walked out.
But it was just to use the washroom.
In fairness, I did get there in time for the start of the show, which isn’t eminently common for me. 

I think that that balanced things out in the end.

Josh Trank’s take on the quartet reminded me of Burton on Batman. Like the older auteur’s rendition of the Dark Knight’s legend, this film seemed to be made by an individual who was more interested in doing his own thing than he was on maintaining especial resonance with the source material from which the story took its trappings. Obviously, this is apart from the liberties that tend to get taken in most adaptations. Even particularly faithful translations like “Watchmen” and “Iron Man” change all kinds of things from the page for the screen. I don’t have a problem with that. An adaptation’s its own thing. I didn’t have a problem with this either, though. But I almost feel as though things might have felt cleaner if Trank made his own science fiction tale while someone with a greater passion for Marvel’s First Family took that franchise on. But this is coming from a guy who prefers the products of Joel Schumacher’s fervent adoration of Batman over the respectable Tim Burton movies that happened to feature a comic character about whom the maker was ambivalent. The difference in directorial attachment is not explicitly tied to my taste here, but it might serve to reinforce it.

Though it might not be the "Fantastic Four" film I would have chosen, I felt no aversion, and there were some things I definitely liked. Many of them were at the beginning. Victor shone especially brightly in his introduction. The hair might have helped. He was also listening to my favourite Vivaldi song at the time. You know the one. It’s probably yours too.

His eventual form looked slightly odd before he threw on that cloak. Like a Halloween version of the Silver Surfer. Which . . . They’re going to want to introduce that guy at some stage, aren’t they? It might be hard to distinguish now. But I did hear that an earlier writer’s treatment of the film chose to make Victor into a composite of his comic self and the Surfer. Abandoned idea. Still seems like a vaguely interesting coincidence. “Vaguely interesting” is probably a decent way to describe the overall film, though.

I did like what they took from the Ultimate version of the team. A lot of that was at the beginning. The beginning of the series was where that book seemed strongest too. Pretty solid cast. I can’t really recall when I developed an affection for Miles Teller. I’m not terribly aware of my original reasons for it either. Maybe he's picking up a bit of the slack from Shia as the younger Stevens brother drifts into a more esoteric existence. But I was most excited to see his interpretation of Reed Richards. Jamie Bell's Ben Grimm had a deviant touch of merit. And I did like the retention of the eyes in his Thing form. I distinctly recall a conversation in an early issue of “Ultimate Fantastic Four” wherein Johnny pointed that out to Ben after his transformation. I still miss Chris Evans’s portrayal of Torch, though. He always excelled at those types of characters, and I think that his acquisition of the Captain America role marked a transition away from that.

The final scene did serve to highlight the sense of heart that I liked about the film’s opening. It also included a joke about “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place”, which doesn’t seem like something that happens much in mass media. But it’s a Ryan Reynolds reference, and that dude loves superheroes. He wants to play all of them. Thus it seems appropriate for his presence to be felt here despite his total lack of involvement. Ooh. He would make a decent Johnny Storm, though. But Jordan was fine. If I had to complain about something, it’d be the hair, which he shared with Evans’s version. I really think that Reynolds could have been the one to capture the Torch’s follicular flare.

 

Bonus Question!

Michael B. Jordan vrsus Michael Jordan? 

I don't know. One can fly on fire, but the other's got mad hops. Strangely, the latter's the only one with actual experience in fighting aliens at this point. Maybe he can teach the younger Mike about that in advance of the extraterrestrial threats that inevitably enter the lives of all who are associated with the Fantastic Four. 

Copyright © 2011, Jaymes Buckman and David Aaron Cohen. All rights reserved. In a good way.