The rebooted Fantastic Four movie shows that no one involved in its creation understands the Fantastic Four, superheroes, cinema, story, or joy. The previous pair of FF movies were a flawed attempt at adapting a colorful family of superheroes; this film renders its characters colorless, not a family, and not superheroes. It also fails to be remotely entertaining as a movie, with ponderous pacing and a mostly uninspired cast reciting a completely uninspiring script that is visually realized by a director who may not be capable of inspiration, anyway.
There is nothing here to like. The film is slow. It is visually dark and uninteresting. It doesn’t give us the superheroes we came to see, instead stretching out their origins. It makes the characters as dull as possible, by rendering them all a bunch of teenage science nerds sitting around desks designing stuff that will make the world a worse place. Yes, it’s like a documentary about a Silicon Valley startup, but with worse lighting.
The story doesn’t even try to make sense. Teenaged science geniuses invent extradimensional travel, go to the most visually boring alien planet ever, and when they get there, decide the genius move is to reach out and touch the pool of unidentified radiation glowing a toxic green. They leave one man behind so he can become Dr. Doom, and when they come back, he has made a ragged, hooded cape out of … something, and has undefined powers, and creates a sort of dimensional hole in the sky that sucks rocks and cars up from the ground without disturbing nearby cloud formations, and then they beat him for no reason, and decide to continue working for a corrupt and untrustworthy government that has tried to weaponize them—but on “their terms.” Whatever those are.
Meanwhile, there’s no camaraderie, no love, no charm among the characters. No real character development, either. The filmmakers are so uncomfortable with all superhero trappings–costumes, code names, nobility, selflessness–that they strip them all away and replace them with halfhearted effects, by-the-numbers camera work, and the unheroic tedium of real life.
It’s just a black hole of a movie.