I bet you didn’t even know that this happened. Or maybe you thought it was just an Arrested Development joke. But no, this actually happened. In the early 80’s, some movie producer bought the movie rights to the FF from Marvel for super cheap, with the intention of then selling it to the studios for a profit. Unfortunately, nobody wanted to make a Fantastic Four movie, and so the only option he was left with was to produce his own movie for as cheap as possible before the rights went back to marvel. So he convinced Roger Corman to help him produce it, and they made the movie for a budget of 1 million dollars. For whatever reason it never ended up being release, but years later someone put out a VHS of it and now I had to watch it. And, well, it’s pretty fucking bad. But it’s also pretty fucking funny. First of all, just watching the movie I would not have been able to guess that it was made in the 90s. It looks and feels just like an old 70’s drive-in movie. It’s super corny. It starts out with the origin of Doctor Doom, ripped straight from the comics, with him and Reed back in college. We then flash forward ten years to the origin of the Fantastic Four themselves, and all of that is handled decently well. But when it really starts to become funny is when they get their powers, and you realize just how woefully unprepared the special effects budget is to deal with showing them. The Thing is in a rubber suit that legitimately looks worse than stuff you would see nerds at comic-con wear, Mr. Fantastic only ever stretches his arm out, and only does it about three times, and it always just looks like a pool noodle with a glove in the end of it stuck up his sleeve. And as for the Human Torch, oh boy. Most of the movie is just him causing fires by focusing on certain objects, as opposed to actually lighting his body on fire, and he only “flames on” once, right at the end, with the greatest CGI effect of all time. It literally looks like a windows 98 screensaver. It looks like a character from that show Reboot (you’re all too young). It looks like that thing Grum from that one Tim & Eric sketch. I can’t even do it justice, just google it or something. Anyway, this is probably one of the worst Marvel movies, but it also may be the most enjoyable Fantastic Four movie to watch. And actually it’s probably the least laughable portrayal of Doctor Doom ever put to film. It’s kind of hard to find a good download of, and the DVD is difficult to track down, but if you can figure out some way to watch this movie I would highly recommend it.
Overall Rating: Roger Corman/10
I was going to watch this movie, but the spine of the DVD case looks identical to that of the first one, so when I took the movie off the shelf to put into my PS3, I accidentally grabbed the first Fantastic Four movie. Which I then watched instead, because as a rule Ben Dick doesn’t try something twice. So I’m doing this review without having actually watched this movie in years. Shouldn’t be a problem, it’s basically just like the first one, right? Except this time they spend the whole time travelling around the world with the military for some reason. And Johnny has that weird thing where he can switch powers with the other three? Remember that? And the Silver Surfer’s in it, I guess. Other than that it’s exactly the same. Same corny jokes, same terrible CGI, same annoying Reid/Sue love story b-plot, same dumb fight with Dr. Doom at the end. And that’s my biggest problem with this movie. They make Doom the bad guy again. Now, I get that much like Magneto in relation to the X-Men, that Doctor Doom is the major adversary of the Fantastic Four, and so when building a film universe, it’s important to give that character a major role to play in all the sequels. But what the X-Men movies did not do was make that role exactly the same in each movie. Doom shouldn’t have been the villain again, he should have been more of a side character, like Magneto in X2, or Loki in Thor: The Dark World. Hell, after fucking up Doom so bad in the first movie they probably would have been better advised to just ditch him altogether and focus the movie on a different character. One like, oh, I don’t know, The Silver Surfer? Or Galactus?! Sure, the giant pink helmet probably would have looked dumb on screen, but a gas cloud was the best you could think of? What about some kind of giant, badass-looking energy monster or something? And then the FF and the SS have to go up against it. Yeah, that’s what this movie SHOULD have been about; Silver Surfer comes to earth, befriends the Fantastic Four, and helps them defeat Galactus. Sounds pretty fucking simple to me. Have Reed like whip of some miracle device to save them at the last second. You know, it could actually feel like the Fantastic Four are supposed to feel. Instead we get the same dumb CGI-energy-explosion-y battle against Doom that we ended the last movie with, proceeded by a directionless montage of poorly thought out action scenes inter-spliced with ridiculously stupid comic relief. I mean, the first one sucked, but at least the franchise had some potential. This one just killed the whole thing. And then pissed on it’s grave.
Overall Rating: Now They’ve Ruined TWO Of Marvel’s Coolest Villains/10
Fantastic Four was one of those movies that came out in the wake of the original Spider-Man and X-Men movies. Like Daredevil, of Ghost Rider, or Ang Lee’s Hulk. And like a lot of those movies, it sucked ass. This was one of the ones I liked as a kid, and then as I grew up I sort of realized it sucked. Like a lot of pre-Chris Nolan Batman superhero movies, one of the major problems is that they don’t take the movie seriously at all. It’s just a random collection of bad action sequences and cheesy wink-to-the-audience jokes. It came out in 2005, and unlike the X-Men or Spider-Man films it feels very specific to that time. The song choices and bad CGI date this movie horribly, and while it is great for some 2000’s nostalgia, there’s no real value beyond that in watching this movie today. The cast is decent; I actually really like Chris Evans as the Human Torch. He’s probably the best part of the movie. And his chemistry with Michael Chiklis as the Thing is great. Their love/hate relationship feels like it leapt right off the page. Speaking of the Thing, I actually think the rubber suit looks really awesome. Sure, it’s a little corny, but whatever serious-looking CGI version of him they whip up for the reboot is not going to look as good. In terms of Mr. Fantastic, Ioan Gruffud looks a lot like Reed Richards, but his actual performance is fairly forgettable. The only really glaring flaw in the casting of the main four is Jessica Alba as Sue Storm. The whole point of Sue Storm is to be the quiet librarian type who you don’t realize is hot until she takes her glasses off. And when she does, she has the brain and attitude to command respect beyond her physical appearance. In this movie Jessica Alba has none of that intelligence or gravitas and is just kind of there to be hot. Insulting. Sexist. Demeaning. What else is new in Hollywood? But I could probably forgive all of that and call it fun in a shitty way if it wasn’t for the single biggest reason that I hate this movie: Doctor Doom. They took Marvel’s most unique and badass villain and turned him into a classic hollywood caricature of an evil wealthy business man. And they took his amazing range of both mystical and scientific abilities and turned it into a guy with metal skin who shoots fucking lightning bolts. I’m sorry, I can’t talk about it anymore. This review is over. Fuck this movie.
Overall Rating: Entirely Un-Fantastic/10
I’ve never really though that Christopher Nolan was a great, visionary director. I will say, however, that the man can make an action movie. Inception doesn’t exactly hold up well to scrutiny when it comes to the plot and the way the dream thing works, but it is a very entertaining, engaging, and well made action movie. So are the first two Batman movies he did. My favourite of his is actually Memento, because by all rights that movie should be a hard to follow clusterfuck, but it’s so well made that you’re never lost for a second. Anyway, I think he’s a good director but I don’t feel like anything he’s done has ever really been earth shatteringly great. And that remains true for Interstellar. But it was pretty damn entertaining. The universe they establish feels unique and well though out, and there’s a lot of cool space scenes, but what really holds the whole thing together are the characters. The whole movie sort of hinges on the relationship between Matthew McConaughey and his daughter, and the writing and the performances of both of those characters are great enough to sustain the movie. I also really liked Anne Hathaway despite usually thinking she’s pretty meh. As for the plot it’s pretty basic, until the end when it gets ridiculous. It may not sound like I’m being super complementary of this movie, but I actually really liked it a lot. It was beautifully directed, and probably the best thing I can say about it is that I was consistently entertained for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Say what you want about Christopher Nolan and about this movie, but that’s a pretty hard thing to do. Anyway I would definitely suggest seeing it (preferably on a big screen), but I sort of don’t think I’ll ever want to watch it again, and I doubt it will remembered as well as Inception. I think Christopher Nolan is a very good director, but I’m still waiting for his “masterpiece” so to speak, and Interstellar wasn’t it.
Overall Rating: Fuck you Michael Caine, I will got gently into that good night if I damn well please
I love movies based on marvel comics. Even the bad ones are usually entertaining. But I haven’t seen all of them. In fact, there are way too many I haven’t seen, and even more than I haven’t talked about on this site. So here’s what I’m going to do: before the end of 2014, I will have watched, and reviewed, every single theatrically released movie based on a Marvel comicbook. Now let me lay down some ground rules: first off, we’re talking live action. There are some great Marvel animation films out there, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Secondly, theatrical releases only. There are a lot of made for TV marvel movies, including three Incredible Hulk movies, two Captain America movies, and a really bad Nick Fury movie with David Hasslehoff. We’re not counting those. However, I will be counting the 1990 Captain America movie that was straight to DVD, and the 1994 Fantastic Four movie that never had an official release. I’ve also decided not to include the original 1944 Captain America, for several reasons; it’s a four hour long serial, so not really a theatrical film, the title and costume is basically the only relation to the comic, and at that point in time the company was called Timely comics, so it’s technically not a “Marvel” film. Lastly, I’ve decided to omit the Spider-Man movies; for now. I’ve already talked about the first four, and I’ve gone on extensively about why I don’t want to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I’m not saying I’m done talking about Spider-Man movies forever, but for now I feel like I’ve said what I need to, and when I do go back to them, it’ll be it’s own thing. So, the complete list of movies I will watch and review before January 1st, 2015 is:
Howard the Duck
The Punisher (1989)
Captain America (1990)
The Fantastic Four (1994)
The Punisher (2004)
Fantastic Four (2005)
Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Punisher: War Zone
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Eight movies I’ve seen, four I haven’t. Twelve movie reviews in the next two months. And when it’s all over, I’ll update my marvel movies list to include all the new entries, and maybe re-arrange some of the current ones.