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Movie Review

The Fantastic Four also known as “Les 4 Fantastiques,” “Les quatre fantastiques,” “Los 4 fantásticos,” “Quarteto Fantástico Brazil,” “A fantasztikus négye,” “Fant4stic,” “Fantastic 4 - I fantastici quattro,” “Fantastik Dörtlü,” “Fantastiskais Cetrinieks,” “Fantastična četvorka,” “Fantastyczna Czwórka”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and language.

Reviewed by: Bob MacLean
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Superhero Sci-fi Action Adventure Fantasy IMAX
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2015
USA Release:
August 7, 2015 (wide—3,800+ theaters)
DVD: December 15, 2015
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
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Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

fantasy of alternate universes/dimensions

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Featuring: Kate MaraSue Storm / The Invisible Woman
Miles TellerReed Richards / Mr. Fantastic
Jamie BellBen Grimm / The Thing
Michael B. Jordan … Johnny Storm / The Human Torch
Toby Kebbell … Victor Domashev
Aaron V. Williamson … Navy Seal
Tim Blake NelsonHarvey Elder
more »
Director: Josh Trank—“Chronicle” (2012)
Producer: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Marvel Entertainment
more »
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

What do you prefer in a movie review? Help in deciding whether to pay the $11 per ticket? Some scoop on the story-line? Enough info on the excitement or intrigue? As a believer in your Lord, who paid a much higher price for your forgiveness, maybe you also, or even preferably, want to know if the contents of a film honor your commitment to Him or fall short in that regard.

Rather than a review (a person’s opinion), Scripture is our best source for that. Take Jesus’ very clear definition of the fundamental importance of Scripture in Matthew 5:18:

“I tell you the truth, until heaven and Earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” NIV

We see Philippians 4:8 encourages us so:

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (NASB. See also Phil. 3:7-8, 16; Col. 3:1-2; Eph. 4:1; Col. 3:3)

Moving forward into the review, then, we take Romans 2:12 and Ephesians 4:23 in hand to guide us.

Comic book movies started at least 75 years ago and have seen a resurgence in the past 35. The Fantastic 4 franchise started in 2005 and was followed by the “…Silver Surfer” in 2007. “The Fantastic Four 2” is already announced for June 2017, with the same actors playing the super heroes.

The first half of the movie sees some genuine intent on character and storyline development. That means there is little in the FX department during that time. One brotherly relationship grows out of that introductory period, but I found it to be underdeveloped and shallow. The main idea developed is how some super smart young adults develop a transporter mechanism under the guidance of the wise adult who talks them into collaborating, although a couple of them don’t have the personality traits that would encourage working well in a team.

This reveals one of the sad undercurrents of nearly all film plots in the last 20 years, and that is the principle of the egotist. It is held up as being perfectly acceptable and even encouraged in screenplays. Let me be clear, this attitude is completely unbiblical and unacceptable, yet movies cannot lay it aside as the wrong way on a steep slippery slope, precisely because the subject of real character, which is the opposite of egotism, is to be a servant, showing kindness and preference to others. And since Hollywood does not believe in God, the Bible and its contents will never be the source of the attitudes they choose to put in movies.

Contrast that with “Courageous,” a Christian movie concerned with character as its main subject. Of course, the most humble, most caring human ever was Jesus himself, as explained in Phil 2:8 (see also: Phil 2:4; Rom 12:2, 10.

The necessary anti-hero character is introduced also, and, again, the character is poorly developed. I suppose this issue of poorly developed characters is not much of a problem, if you just want an action movie, but I don’t understand why. The writing talent available in filmmaking is definitely there for the having.

However, I had this and many other questions answered in an article I read about how Hollywood decides which movies to make and how to construct them. Apparently, most business relationships are honed in Hollywood parties for the ultra-in group, those that wield the power to conceive of and produce movies. They meet and schmooze at these fests, cementing deals and plans for future projects. The ones who seem to have the most respect are those who create the most edginess in their films, the ones who push the envelope the farthest and find new ways of including more action, gore, sex, foul language and shock value. Since they introduce it incrementally over the years, people become desensitized to it.

This goes a long way in answering our questions “why does Hollywood put such unnecessary scenes in movies? Don’t they know we’d prefer less and that they’d sell more tickets?” Again, if you are an atheist, you don’t have a hope in knowing what true character is nor why themes connected with it are a good idea.

Another completely expected theme is Evolution. The “wise guide,” who leads the youthful group, brings it up and proclaims to the financers of the project that this first-of-its-kind apparatus will lead mankind directly to the next steps in his destiny. Jesus believed in the literal account of Creation, and since He created everything (“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in Earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” —Colossians 1:16), it makes little sense to argue the point. If you have trouble with Genesis, you will have trouble with many issues throughout the Bible.

After the first half of the movie, you’re left wondering what they are going to do in the second half because the buildup has taken more time than most comic book based films with almost no FX or action. Well, things begin to move along once the transport mechanism is built and four of the talented and youthful inventors get in it and push the ON button. The events that follow transform the young inventors into the fantastic four plus one super villain. How ironic it is that the perceived positive result of “evolution” non-believing mankind is headed for is its opposite. It is actually one leading to hell because of their desire to put themselves into the throne reserved for the Almighty God.

At this point in the movie, things are pushed into high gear. The super-villain wants to destroy Earth and is making a super-mess of our planet. The other four know they cannot individually beat him and decide to unite to end the inter-dimensional maelstrom he builds, which is sucking Earth in great gulps into oblivion.

In the past few years, there is a phenomenon in fantasy and sci-fi movies that is disturbing to me. Due to the increasing sophistication of special effects, villains are able to conjure up matter as whirling clouds of dust or metal and create objects or living matter. I’m thinking of “Transcendence” and the X-Men character Jean. This stuff makes my skin crawl, because it wreaks of man seeing himself as having the ability to bring things into being.

The end of the film is predictable, the villain is destroyed, the Earth is saved and the Fantastic Four demand a research institute for their role in saving Earth.

You’ll notice there isn’t much in this review about details of the characters or the plot. That is because there is nearly nothing to either. Of course, those who “just wanna see a bit of action” will have to read reviews from others who prefer that kind of movie. This review is meant for those who want to dig a bit to see how the contents of the film compare with the Christian worldview, as Chuck Colson used to put it.

Objectionable content

There is no sexual content with the exception of a tightly fitting suit for Kate Mara’s character. Foul language consists of the s-word in various forms (9), damn (1), hell (4), OMG (3), G*d-damn (1), d**k (2), scr*w (1). The f-bomb is not used explicitly, but one character uses the gesture to show it. I am so pained to see PG-13 given to such foul language. The slide downward in what is permitted will only continue, sadly.

If you consider all the negative themes and the weak positive ones, I can’t say this movie is worthwhile.

Violent, disturbing scenes: At the beginning, a young boy is being slapped around by what appears to be his older brother. This is rather despicable. There is a very gruesome scene of a human burning alive, which could be very disturbing to children; it sure turned my stomach. Another sequence that lasted too long was the “escape” of the villain. He marches out of his containment cell, killing many in the process, while marching down corridors. Brains literally splatter on walls as he crushes skulls telepathically.

The idea that an action movie has to employ these elements is, of course, just not true. I’m thinking of “Deep Impact,” “2012” and “The Day After Tomorrow.” I’m looking forward to the production of more Christian films to choose from in the near future, in order to have good choices like “Courageous” and “Soul Surfer.”

Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: Moderate to heavy / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—This movie isn’t as “Hollywood good” as the 2005 movie, but I really enjoyed it a lot! It’s possible there was a bit of foul language, but I honestly don’t remember hearing any. There was one time when the bad guy flipped someone off. There was no nudity, kissing, or sexuality of any kind whatsoever. I’m actually sad we chose not to bring the kids to this one. I remembered how sexual the 2005 one was, so I assumed this one would be the same. It’s not. I really enjoyed it A LOT!

If there is anything bad to say about this one, it’s that the violence was gruesome in one spot. People were wearing full-body suits (think about the type the CDC wears), and you could see people explode on the inside of the suit. I’m a little disappointed that there were no end scenes after the credits, and we never saw a shot of Stan Lee, but it was still worth going.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Chrystal, age 38 (USA)
Positive—When I look at a film, I am looking for whether the movie is safe. Safe for my kids to watch without having nightmares, safe for a husband and wife without either one having to look away during the movie to respect marriage, because people are shown that were placed there to pollute the mind and defile the marriage bed, and is it safe to listen to. In my opinion, this movie was safe.

It didn’t have as much action as we have come to expect from Marvel, but it was decently made, with some creative effects. I also liked that there was diversity in the actor selection for this movie; no the actors weren’t big names, but they were new faces, and that, in a way, is refreshing. There were a couple of times the language could have been avoided and was unnecessary, but it wasn’t over the top.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—MWest, age 41 (USA)
Negative
Negative—This movie is insulting. It has the same attitude as the kid who works at a fast food restaurant, and demands 15 dollars an hour just show showing up. Everything about this movie is bad. It’s not just a bad representation of the characters (the director told the actors NOT to read the comic books), it’s just a bad movie. And also lazy. Lazy lazy lazy movie making. The actors (or should I say the bodies on the screen?) didn’t even try to act. They just stared, deadpan, and read off their lines. I blame the director for this trash, how dare he try to pass this off as a movie. Poor acting, poor CGI, horrid directing, poor story. Like I said, it’s insulting. Worst movie I’ve seen in awhile, and I’ve seen “Sharknado”… twice.
My Ratings: Moral rating: none / Moviemaking quality: ½
—James, age 29 (USA)
Negative—Sometimes, when someone tells me a movie is terrible, I watch it anyway, purely out of curiosity and (I’ll admit) a good laugh. I can tell you, from seeing many terrible movies (MST3K, anyone?), that this doesn’t even deserve to be seen. The whole film was not only boring, it was arrogant. I feel like I was watching a home movie of a bunch of zombies, because, literally, the dead have more emotion than these actors were portraying.

Sometimes, with these new movies, they ignore story and acting and dialog and just focus on action and CGI, but even that was terrible!!! In one scene, especially, they showed a chimp going into space, and all I could think of was that the monkeys of the 70’s “Planet of the Apes” were more believable. Like, really???… And not only was the CGI not that impressive, but there was very little action in the whole movie.

Now, the director said he wanted to make more of a science movie, instead of a superhero action flick. Honestly, it doesn’t even work as that. It doesn’t feel smart. It feels dumb. The science (what little there is) is rushed, leaving long spaces of time in the movie for random montages of the characters doing nothing. I know I’m rambling, but PLEASE! Don’t waste your money on this. Send a message to Fox and the producers that this kind of movie-making is unacceptable!
My Ratings: Moral rating: none / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Emma, age 27 (USA)
Negative—If you’re looking for a movie with a good story, keep looking, because I’m still wondering if this one actually had one. It makes the 2005 “Fantastic 4” film look like “The Avengers,” which is a special thing to do. What little “action” that is in this movie makes me think a five-year-old was in charge (of the “humor” too). Dr. Doom barely even lifts his hands and people just fall over, like it’s too much effort to ask for more. If you think maybe the end fight against Dr. Doom will redeem the movie, you are wrong. It takes them all of about 3 minutes to beat him.

There’s absolutely no character development or reason to like any of them. Reed is a coward who runs away because he gets his feelings hurt (beats me how he becomes the leader), and Miles Teller does one of the worst acting jobs I’ve ever seen in my life in this movie. Sue has absolutely no chemistry with her “brother” or Reed, and somehow gets her powers when she falls over her desk (still trying to figure that one out). Somehow she’s the most likable character, even though she gives you no reason to like her, she’s just not as annoying as the rest of them. Johnny thinks he’s the coolest thing since sliced bread, but he has my vote for most annoying on the team. Ben says about 5 words in the whole movie, and doesn’t wear any pants for some reason (that’s just weird, even if you’re a rock man). He also tries a little too hard to make you think he’s angry, which would be laughable if it didn’t make me want to cry. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Jose, age 22 (USA)
Negative—After watching this movie, I felt bad… I felt bad for the word “Fantastic,” as it was misused in the extreme for this movie title. “Abysmal,” “Excruciating,” or “Insufferable” would all have been more fitting words for this movie. I’m sorry Fantastic, I’m sorry they dragged you through the dirt like that. Actually, I have seen piles of dirt more fantastic then this movie. They must have spent all of their time and money making that CGI monkey, as it appears they didn’t spend any time or money on the rest of the movie.

Here’s a tip for all those who made this movie, next time TRY! I’ve had more fun eating stale chips. I’ve been more entertained watching grass grow. I’ve seen more thought-provoking dialog on Teletubbies!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Keith, age 23 (USA)
Negative—The Fantastic Four (2015), I didn’t found it fantastical… the effects were cool, as expected, the young actor’s story didn’t really fascinate me, and the story changing… if I was asked to watch between 2015 and 2005 Fantastic, I will prefer the 2005,… I mean, even the technology is way far more than the new 2015 “Fantastic Four”… For me, I didn’t see anything fantastic on that movie; it is the worst movie this year. On a 0-10 I wll rate 2…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Fashia Kunthia, age 23 (Kenya)
Movie Critics

…More like the Unfantastic Four… feels like a 100-minute trailer for a movie that never happens…
—Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

…Never achieves superpowers… “Fantastic Four”… can lay claim to one of the longest, dullest setups… in movie history… [2/4]
—Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

…Well, that was a fantastic snore. …Superheroes are supposed to be bigger than life, not smaller. …Can you stay awake?…
—Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)

…This is the summer’s worst movie… plodding, joyless and stillborn Marvel reboot… [0/4]
—Lou Lumenick, New York Post

…Comic book movie bizarrely short on humour, action… For a film that devotes so much space and so much amusing pseudo-science to this wind-up, “Fantastic Four” then spends disappointingly little time letting us see these relatively realistic characters discover their new bodies and new powers. … [2/4]
—Katie Taylor, The Globe and Mail

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