“Return to 1994” Fantastic Four review

By Kenneth Ship

At first, as I sat down and saw the first 20 minutes of Fantastic Four, I was wondering why the reviews were all bad….but by then the train had already left the station and I was in for a trainwreck (In no way related to the Amy Schumer flim I previously reviewed which was awesome) Is it possible for me to be taken off this assignment?

I’d actually rather not, but if you insist

The first part of the movie actually took some time and spent it on a young Reed Richards and Ben Grimm as childhood pals. I really liked these parts because they were the only genuine and unforced scenes in the entire films. After this point, it gets a lot murkier. (But honestly, the fact that they did what was essentially a montage of their childhood to advance the story along should have been a tip) The bull crap meter hit pretty high when Sue Storm and her father “stumble” upon Richard’s high school science fair project and figures out that Reed has created a working inter-dimensional portal.

Richards receives a scholarship to the Baxter Foundation and from there we are introduced rather quickly to Johnny Storm and Victor Doom. I should mention that Reed and Doom had the same idea, only Richards sort of made it work better in regards to their machine. For as much time as they spent building and crafting that 4 seater piece of crap, the motivation to go to this new dimension was pretty weak. Fix our planet by learning about another one? I would have preferred the explorer angle because the mess we received was lacking in the inspirational ideas it tried to spout out. The mumbo jumbo Franklin Storm tries to form into eloquent speeches the entire film doesn’t endear us to him at all. He also feels the need to reform and recruit Doom back to the school after he destroyed their servers. Ben Grimm heads back home since he doesn’t feel at home at the foundation and we are introduced to Johnny Storm…being Johnny Storm, in a typical hot-headed racing incident. His car almost blows up….oh, I see what they did there

But let’s recap what has happened so far:

  • Reed Richards with assistance from childhood friend Ben Grimm built an inter-dimensional portal
  • Richards is found by the Storm family and enrolled at the Baxter Foundation
  • Doom is a prick to computer servers
  • Johnny Storm races, wrecks, and is made to work off his debt at the foundation
  • Franklin Storm convinces a board of directors to allow high school students to create a portal

So far, the film is bland, but nothing that I would characterize as awful….

It’s not until they finish the machine that it starts to get weird. After being told that NASA would be making the trip to the other world and not themselves, (let’s go get NASA to sacrifice themselves in the negative world!!) Richards, J. Storm, Doom and a late night call to Grimm decide to transport themselves first so they can claim to be the first explorers there. We are then treated to a horrible CGI landscape which doesn’t seem real and gets worse the longer it’s on screen. As the planet “reacts” to their presence, Doom falls off a cliff, or rather dangles from his harness, gets planet acid or radiation sprayed on his face, dangles some more and then presumably falls to his death. The others try to get back to the transport, but Johnny bursts into flames, Grimm is attacked by rocks, Richard is howling in pain and as they come back through Sue Storm is hit by some energy blast. That entire scene looked bad and wasn’t convincing at all. Like I will talk about in my next article on blockbusters, when CGI is done right, you don’t notice it and even the scenes where it may be displayed prominently, those should still hold up.

Somehow, this looks better
Somehow, this looks better

Any who, we are then “treated” to scenes showing the 4 discovering their powers and Reed Richards running scared, the story then jumps a year into the future….wait, what? Well, if you’re going to do a time jump it had better be worth it.

It wasn’t, it wasn’t worth it all. When you don’t develop your characters well, it will show when you need them most. Once they are dealing with the ramifications of their trip. We don’t care because we haven’t been given anything to care about. We are expected to have feelings about Richards running away and Grimm tracking him down in a montage that took 1 min. J. Storm and Richards make up in about 5 seconds; if I’m supposed to be mad about Richards leaving, I’m definitely not now. Okay, I just can’t give this review anymore energy…I’m serious, I’m giving you bulletpoints to wrap the rest of this stinker up and then one last paragraph and that’s it.

  • Grimm becomes an Army weapon in exchange to them “fixing” his condition
  • Sue and Johnny Storm work on controlling their powers, Johnny wants to use his, Sue doesn’t
  • Reed Richards tries to build his own transporter while he’s gone for a year
  • Once reunited, they rebuild the original transporter and end up sending a new team who encounters a transformed Doom.
  • Doom flips out
  • Doom explodes people’s heads
  • Doom somehow creates a wormhole or black hole which will rip apart our world
  • The Fab Four go through the portal
  • Tobias and DeBrie try to make it as Fantastic Four street performers
  • Tobias gets arrested while dressed as the thing in a “To Catch A Predator” style show
  • Tobias creates a Fantastic Four musical with DeBrie, Argyle Austero and Mark Cherry
  • Did you catch that? I started listing plot points from Arrested Development Season 4
  • Any of those last 3 were better than one scene from this movie
  • In case you’re wondering those are episodes 5 and 9 from the 4th season
  • Why are you still reading this? That season is on Netflix, go watch it now so you can wash the bad taste out of your mouth.
I imagine this is what Josh Trank was really going for
I imagine this is what Josh Trank was really going for

I really like Johnny Storm, Michael B. Jordan was a great, but misused casting in this film. And to a lesser extent so was Kate Mara with Sue Storm. If there was anything to savage from this film, I’d like for those two to work with a better director and new script that makes sense. Otherwise, there was nothing good about this film. This one will get the lowest score since I’ve been writing reviews

Fantastic Four: 1 out of 10 (Editor’s note recommends coffin face instead of numbers for this movie.)

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