8:00 pm EDT, August 4, 2015

First ‘Fantastic Four’ reviews slam latest adaptation

The first reviews of Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four are in, and they’re… not so good.

Following months of murmurs that Fantastic Four was in serious trouble — first started by a strange lack of promotion — the reviews appear to be matching expectations.

We’ve read through several Fantastic Four reviews to see what the first critics have to say about the new film. The movie appears to be a disappointment, with the reviewers all in agreement that the story does not offer an entertaining experience.

“The biggest mistake here seems to have been trying to marry a dark and realistic tone with the story of four teenagers whose superpowers include transforming into rock, generating force fields and becoming very stretchy,” said Digital Spy, who gave it the most positive review we’ve read. “While far from the unmitigated disaster some had predicted, Fantastic Four feels unlikely to kick-start a new franchise, barely sustaining the narrative steam to power itself through its modest 90-minute running time.”

The Hollywood Reporter’s main gripe is that Fantastic Four lacks a payoff. “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. The fact that the writers couldn’t think of anything interesting to do with these characters in this first series reboot does not bode well for any potential excitement in a sequel.

Adding to the problems is the lack of character development, according to The Wrap, who believes each lead only has “one or two” personal traits at best. “If the screenplay by Trank, Simon Kinberg and Jeremy Slater wanted to eschew superheroics in favor of character development, they wound up bringing neither to the table; it’s only the inherent charm of the lead actors that make these otherwise archetypal cardboard characters of any interest,” they write.

Variety adds that Fantastic Four comic readers will see a stark difference in tone for better or for worse. “If the original comics were defined in part by the interaction of the characters — from Ben’s depression at having become a ‘monster’ to the budding relationship between Reed and Sue to Johnny and Ben’s squabbling — those dynamics emerge only fitfully. And while comicbook aficionados will likely welcome the seriousness of tone, the near-absence of humor and lengthy emphasis on building the interdimensional portal largely handcuffs the cast, with only a hint, for example, of the ebullience Johnny gleans from his newfound powers.”

Fantastic Four opens in theaters this weekend. Despite reviews, do you plan on seeing it?

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