Director Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four is dark, oppressive and grim so grim some of the one liners feel out of place. The aesthetics aren’t what you’d expect, with major changes and the actors are possibly too young, but previous outings also had this issue. However, the characters are easily identifiable and encompass the essences of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s creations.
Although Lee serves as executive producer In terms of look and feel it shares very little with the comics or previous incarnations of the Fantastic Four. Without drawing comparisons to the 1994 Roger Corman (bootleg) version or the recent underrated 2005 and 2007 outings this version is surprisingly drawing.
Taking its time Trank’s offering spends the whole of its running time as an origin story about friendship, war policies and morales with only the last ten minutes to deal with their adversary, Doom. Due to the unorthodox story structure it comes to an abrupt end. Also oddly Fantastic’s tone feels more DC than Marvel.
Kate Mara is notable as The Invisible Woman. Jamie Bell’s performance as The Thing in the latter half is by design hidden by the effects. Toby Kebbell is excellent but his screen time is limited with the rest of the cast being effective in their respective roles.The music by Marco Beltrami Philip Glass score is exceedingly ominous and compliment the great effects, sterile sets, costume design and performances as they harness their powers.
Arguably all the recent superhero adaptations attempts while entertaining never seem to capture their subject matter spirit faithfully coming across as bloated, soulless money makers which try to cash in by appeasing adult fans at the expense of younger children which doesn’t always mix and this is no exception.
That said, if a slow burning, brooding re-imagining is your thing then this delivers exactly that and to its credit debatably more edgier than its paint by numbers same universe contemporaries despite an anticlimactic rushed showdown.