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‘Fantastic Four’ fizzles once again

Superman, Batman and Spider-man may rule their comic book kingdoms, but the Fantastic Four are certainly up at the top of the second-tier of comic superheroes. They have legions of devoted fans, so it is a bit surprising that Hollywood hasn’t been able to turn these beloved characters into a series of blockbuster movies.
The last attempt was such a flop that a few of my “comic-nerd” friends refuse to even acknowledge the previous film’s existence.
I suspect that they won’t feel much better about the latest “Fantastic Four” movie. Fox has assembled a cast of promising young actors and paired them with some okay special effects, but also saddled them with a story that plods along in service to a movie that seldom generates much excitement.
This is the story of four scientist/explorers who are teleported to a distant planet that alters their molecular structures. They return home, and in a creepy/cool scene, learn that they will never be the same again. Richard Reed (Miles Teller) can stretch himself like he’s made out of rubber, while his childhood pal, Ben (Jamie Bell) has been transformed into a super-strong orange rock creature. Adopted siblings Sue and Johnny (Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan) get the abilities to turn invisible, project force fields and suddenly burst into flames.
It is a motley assortment of superpowers, so it’s little wonder that it takes the quartet a while to gel before ultimately banding together to stop yet another plot to subjugate humanity. If heroes are judged by the villains they battle, the new Fantastic Four are a mediocre team indeed.
I understand that as a reboot, it’s important to show our heroic quartet’s origin story, but the end result is a movie that spends most of its running time giving us characters talking instead of doing anything all that interesting. By the time that the special effects finally take over, it’s simply a case of too little, too late.
The characters are also a bit milquetoast, especially odd given their fantastic backstories. Teller, Jordan, Mara and Bell are four of the hottest, up-and-coming actors working in Hollywood today. You’ll have to take my word on this, because you certainly wouldn’t know it from their performances in “Fantastic Four.” I blame the inert screenplay, but it’s still shocking to see a quartet of appealing young actors simply going through the motions and failing to generate much audience interest at all.
“Fantastic Four” is another movie that diehard fan boys will hate and general audiences should greet with an indifferent shrug. A sequel is already in the works, which seems foolish considering that the filmmakers didn’t come close to getting the first feature right.
Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM and KBTV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at smcbride@sbgtv.com.com.