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Movie Review - Fantastic 4

Fantastic 4

Starring: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson, Owen Judge, Evan Hannemann, Dan Castellaneta, and more.

Directed by: Josh Trank Screenplay by: Simon Kinberg, Jeremy Slater, and Josh Trank Based on Characters Created by: Jack Kirby and Stan Lee Cinematography by: Matthew Jensen Music by: Marco Beltrami and Philip Glass

Premise: Despite the opinions of his teacher and his peers, Reed Richards continues to work at making his dream of inventing a form of teleporation a reality. With Ben Grimm at his side, he makes enough headway to get himself noticed by an unexpected source. Dr. Franklin Storm believes Reed has stumbled upon the answer which has been holding back his own dimensional travel program. He gives Reed a full scholarship to come learn and work at the Baxter building. Bringing back a disgruntled Victor Von Doom, and his own authority bucking son, Johnny, into the mix, he uses his adopted daughter, Sue, to hold them together long enough to create wonders. But when the opportunity to be the first people to go to the other world is suddenly denied them, the young scientists decide to go for a ride despite them. And things go wrong. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Thumbs Up: The young actors Owen Judge and Evan Hannemann did a fantastic job setting up the audience and getting us to connect with Reed Richards and Ben Grimm. Miles Teller and Jamie Bell pick up from there as the story rolls forward seven years. Kate Mara does a different take on Sue Storm, making her more of a loner than previous incarnations. It was great fun watching Reed trying to connect with her despite her own reservations. Michael B. Jordan also did very well as the authority clashing Johnny Storm. Toby Kebbell was grim and distrustful as Victor, but he too could be surprised.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: There were a lot of cool CGI effects in the film.  The dimensional globe was quite impressive, especially when we see the first version of it in Reed's garage. The setup of his science project version made it look very impressive, even if his teacher didn't think so.

Johnny's flame and Ben's rock skin looked great. And they did a fabulous job of actually letting Mr. Fantastic use his stretch skills effectively. Sue's fields and bubbles also got a spiffy look.

The green goo on planet Zero was super cool. Loved the cracks. The swirling gas and bioelectric micro-lightning looked great. And what happens after that? Very nice.

The planet, however, was not cool. If I see one more alien planet with 45 degree angled rocks jutting from the ground everywhere, I'm going to SCREAM! It's an alien planet, for pete's sake, use your imagination! With CGI you can make the planet look like anything! So why is it that everyone is using the same setup? 45 degree angled rocks are becoming a visual cliche in science fiction movies. I don't understand why they're overusing them like this? Why? (As I saw it for the first time through the camera screen, I kept expecting Riddick to step out from behind one of the angled rocks and take a pot shot at them...:P)

3) Plot/Story - Neutral: I knew from the commercials the film was not going to be cannon. Dimensional travel instead of space travel, super young people instead of late twenties to mid thirties, got it. I went to see it totally prepared for all that and more. And to give them credit, the first half was fabulous! Totally loved how they started the story and swept us up in the tale. Which made the second half, once things actually go bad plotwise, a complete and total copout! *cry*


Sue keeps the guys focused, Sue makes the suits to keep everyone safe, Sue gets promised, like the rest, that she will get to go on the first voyage...And she's bummed like the rest when they take the opportunity away...But the guys go off to get drunk, decide they're going anyway, and NEVER called her! They bring in Ben (who I did think should go) but left her out! They never even thought of her. If I was her, I would have been FURIOUS! Horrible turnout be dammed. Heck, she might have kept them all safe! Yet she spent all this time all this work and they forget her? Then, since she gets her powers as part of an energy discharge when the group comes back, they're just actually subliminally implying she won't be as powerful as the rest. Well Grrrrrr. (Though at least she did get pattern recognition and intelligence, so it could have been worse...) (And really, it was a cheap plot shot to just make four travel canisters instead of five.)

Victor...you are a genius. yet you stupidly put you hand into reactive energy on an alien planet without taking scans, precautions, or anything else. Really? Worse, you decide to suck the Earth into a blackhole for no real good reason. Worse, if you can make a syphoning interdimensional conduit from pure power and rocks, why didn't you use that to open a portal to come back yourself? The character of Dr. Doom in the comics is scary because he defeats people with who have superhuman powers with his intelligence! But no, let's just make him smart but then give him a ton of super natural power which he will waste stupidly blowing people's heads off for no real reason. UGH!

Reed...You ran away. At first I thought, good, so you can collect your thoughts, make a plan, and come back to save the others. But no. For a full year, you just run around. You've controlled your power, you can make yourself look like anyone. You know Sue looks for patterns, yet you never tried to contact your friends EVER! You only end up talking to them again because you got captured (great fight!), really, Reed? Really? You can create a dimensional rift with speakers and wire but not figure out a way to help the people you feel GUILTY about messing up? REALLY?

And talk about skipping reality fallout. An entire secret base is a giant hole in the ground with only four survivors - four survivors who are super powered. Yet they're instantly embraced as heroes rather than scapegoats for the loss of life and millions of dollars? Not like there was anyone there to back up their story. But our government just took them at their word? Let them quit and gave them everything they ever wanted? Yeah, right...

And finally, they get all sorts of goodies they ask for, but they don't end up owning the Baxter building and no 4 with a circle for the helicopter pad. Boo!

Ben Grimm keeping track of kills in the field? Double Boo! And not a single one of them moved to save a single human at the base or on the other dimension. They only cared about Franklin and didn't really even try to save him with an invisible shield or elastic push. Argh!

And last, but not least, what about the fact that though "being turned back to normal" is the giant motivation placard for which Ben is out there killing people, but by the end, it's not even a consideration anymore. Yet nothing had really changed to make him not want to go back. Come on!


No real surprises, no real twists, not even a Stan Lee cameo... Boo! Nothing at the end of the credit either. (Though Fantastic 4 #2 is already in the works.)

There are years and years and years of great Fantastic Four plots out in the comic verse, yet this is what they went with... Sigh...

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Nice work for the stunt people and interlaced CGI. Watching Ben Grimm (The Thing) kick some booty with bad guy military peeps? Awesome! (Killing count - not so awesome.) The facility personnel and their bad travails toward the end were nicely done.

Conclusion: Fantastic 4 had a great first half, then threw all that work away by shoving in an unimaginative and not well thought out problem, assuming audiences would be satisfied with just bright lights and action. So they threw the whole thing away. Boo!

Rating: 3 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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