First “Fantastic Four” Reviews Aren’t Nice

The first reviews for Fox’s “Fantastic Four” reboot dropped this morning a few days out from release and the word is not good.

Even the most skeptical doubters of the new reboot were expecting Josh Trank’s film to at least be an improvement on the two previous films from a decade ago, but some of the reviews seem to suggest we’re in for something on about the same level. Here are some excerpts:

“Joining Spider-Man in the annals of dizzyingly rapid reboots, Fox’s second stab at “Fantastic Four” comes just eight years after the first try and its sequel, which didn’t set the bar inordinately high. Yet if this latest version, with a significantly younger cast (one’s tempted to call it “Fantastic Four High”), clears that threshold, it’s just barely, drawing from a different source to reimagine the quartet’s origins without conspicuously improving them… Ultimately, Fox’s stab at reviving one of its inherited Marvel properties feels less like a blockbuster for this age of comics-oriented tentpoles than it does another also-ran – not an embarrassment, but an experiment that didn’t gel…” Brian Lowry, Variety

“Fantastic Four feels like a 100-minute trailer for a movie that never happens. At this point in the ever-expanding cinematic superhero game, it behooves any filmmakers who gets involved to have at least a mildly fresh take on their characters and material, but this third attempt to create a worthy cinematic franchise from the first of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s iconic comic book creations, which can genuinely claim to have launched the Age of Marvel, proves maddeningly lame and unimaginative… Nothing that Trank and his co-writers Jeremy Slater and Simon Kinberg have come up with does anything to alleviate the feeling that the titular quartet simply don’t constitute very interesting superheroes…” Todd McCarthy, THR

“The biggest mistake here seems to have been trying to marry a dark and realistic tone with the story of four teenagers whose superpowers include transforming into rock, generating force fields and becoming very stretchy. While far from the unmitigated disaster some had predicted, Fantastic Four feels unlikely to kick-start a new franchise, barely sustaining the narrative steam to power itself through its modest 90-minute running time…” Emma Dibdin, Digital Spy

“Director Josh Trank, whose debut feature “Chronicle” put a smart new spin on superhero tropes, has assembled a quartet of engaging, charismatic performers and stranded them in a miasma of exposition and set-up that sinks the movie. So much time is spent putting the pieces on the board that there’s barely any time to play with them…” Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

“After battling months of bad buzz about a troubled production and the need for reshoots, Fantastic Four emerges as a wounded animal of a superhero movie, only rarely showing flashes of the darker, more emotional breed of Marvel film it’s trying to be. Certainly, Fox’s rebooting of the franchise blessedly lacks the dopey irreverence of the 2005 version and its sequel, both directed by Tim Story, but Chronicle filmmaker Josh Trank struggles to balance an origin story, mediocre comic-book action, and a strained metaphor about dysfunctional families. A good cast led by Miles Teller gets swallowed up in a narrative that grows progressively more muddled and tedious…” Tim Grierson, Screen