What Critics Are Saying About Fantastic Four

DF-11764r – Miles Teller (left) as Reed Richards and Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm prepare for an epic battle with a former friend turned enemy. Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein
Miles Teller (left) as Reed Richards and Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm. Photo: Ben Rothstein/Marvel & Subs. TM and Twentieth Century Fox

After several pushes back and rumors of reshoots, Fantastic Four finally careens into theaters this weekend. But how is it? Earlier this month, Miles Teller told BBC’s NewsBeat, “This is not a movie we’re going to go on Rotten Tomatoes and it’s going to be at 80 or 90 per cent.” By the looks of our review roundup, he got it so right. Here is what the critics are saying:

“There’s a fundamental tonal dissonance at the heart of Fantastic Four. The awkward staging, cut-rate effects, and stilted dialogue might have worked alongside a fun, ridiculous story. (The recent Ant-Man, though more polished, has a bit of that B-movie spirit going for it.) Instead, we have a film that, at least at first, tends toward darkness, grief, regret, and stoic glares. The disconnect between cheesy surface and grim subtext is excruciating and often embarrassing.” —Bilge Ebiri, Vulture

“The opening sections show genuine promise, with strong acting from our leads and a nugget of Amblin-esque wonder hinting at Cronenbergian horror to come. And there are moments of light, with interesting characters having interesting conversations about interesting things, which is significantly more important than whether the action or special effects are any good. But the movie as a whole is a mess, with the halfway decent first 45 minutes or so giving way to a stupefyingly generic and wrongheaded superhero origin story that squeezes itself into what amounts to yet another example of a franchise that makes the Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins mistake. It’s all setup for a franchise that may never happen.” Scott Mendelson, Forbes

“On a film like this, it’s impossible to say who decided what, but just like in most of the earliest attempts at superhero movies, it feels like they saved every penny of their effects budget for the last scene, and they shouldn’t have bothered. It’s more glowing doodad end of the world bullshit, with Doctor Doom represented by a terrible digital/make-up design with the powers of David Cronenberg’s Scanners.” —Drew McWeeny, HitFix

“When it’s not on Planet Zero, the special effects for which are the dullest sub-‘Thor’-looking digital schmutz a medium-sized budget can buy, ‘Fantastic Four’ confines its abnormally gifted youngfolk to what appears to be an industrial park warehouse somewhere in Baton Rouge, La. This may be because ‘Fantastic Four’ was filmed largely in Baton Rouge, La.” —Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune

“All of this takes at least an hour, and it’s build-up to … nothing at all. A sense of heaviness, gloom and complete disappointment settles in during the second half, as the mundane setup pays no dramatic or sensory dividends whatsoever. Even if lip-service is paid to some great threat to life on Earth as we know it, the filmmakers bring nothing new to the formula, resulting in a film that’s all wind-up and no delivery.” —Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

“Delivered so slowly that you can sense other worlds for the team to explore forming as the run time ambles on. The cast are some of the most promising actors of their generation, but what chemistry there is between them is swept away by wave after wave of expository dialogue and ludicrous exclamation (‘His biochemistry is off the charts!’). There are many references to the purity of creative endeavour being corrupted by corporate involvement. After the fifth or sixth mention, it’s hard to not to read this as something of a dig at the studio.” —Henry Barnes, The Guardian

“With all this tedious Tinkertoy origin-story business out of the way, there could certainly be some entertaining ‘Fantastic Four’ adventures in the future with this ensemble. Whether or not audiences will want to gamble another 100 minutes of their lives on subsequent chapters, however, is another matter entirely.” —Alonso Duralde, The Wrap 

“This falls prey to every fault of the modern superhero film: a failure to embrace its own silliness, an over-involved origin and a weak last act. Despite the best efforts of the cast, whatever good nugget of an idea in there just can’t stretch to a whole film.” —Helen O’Hara, GQ U.K. 

“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. And having seemingly missed twice in trying to get ‘Fantastic Four’ right, the studio, unlike Reed, might want to think seriously before making any more trips back to the drawing board.” —Brian Lowry, Variety

What Critics Are Saying About Fantastic Four