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Fantastic Four (AF)


Stars: Miles Teller, Michael B Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson

Director: Josh Trank

Some films, like, shall we say, Fifty Shades of Gray and James Bond cash generators are critic proof and happily head for box-office glory regardless of what reviewers have to say.

Fox’s reboot of the Marvel Comics (co-creator Stan Lee is credited here as Executive Producer) superhero falls firmly into the category of “An-audience friendly-who-gives-a-damn-what-critics-think” movie likely to please genre fans thanks to its well-used and vivid movie magic that transforms four mere outsiders into a superhero team destined to save Mankind in sequel after sequel.

Here the storyline (screenplay by director Josh Trank, producer Simon Kinberg and Jeremy Slater) goes back to the genesis of the Four. We first meet genius inventor Reed Richards aged 12 creating magical machines in his parents’ garage. Then, grown up after a fashion and played by Mike Teller, his school science project wins him the approval of Dr Storm (Cathey) and he and the other three young geniuses (Kate Mara, Michael B Jordan and Jamie Bell) destined to become the Incredible Quartet find a way to travel to other dimensions and – you would never figure this would happen – save Mankind...

Magnificent special effects compensate for an undernourished storyline that boldly goes (and in case you believe that what happened in Star Trek stays in Trek, one of the school kids orders young Reed “Beam me up, Scotty”, thereby proving to me that he is not only a scientific genius but, even better, a Trekkie) into new worlds but doesn’t do enough there to provide a strong storyline for the Fantastic Four to operate in after they come into being…

That said, it’s never boring and not too long, the action, when it comes, is slick and satisfying the key performances are perfectly adequate and a more story-driven sequel is surely signalled.

One point worth mentioning - for once, ever-modest Stan Lee is nowhere to be see in a Marvel film.

Alan Frank

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox. Technicolor.
99 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 06 Aug 2015