A limp, soulless blitzkrieg
Josh Trank, who directed the 2012 sci-fi fantasy Chronicle, attempts to reboot the Marvel Comic franchise with a younger cast headlining this action-packed blockbuster.
Reed Richards (Miles Teller) is an inquisitive scientist, who has conducted experiments since his schooldays, which he hopes will reveal the secrets of the universe.
He joins a privately funded program run by Dr Franklin Storm (Reg E Cathey) and develops a portal that permits inter-dimensional travel.
Reed agrees to make the first jump as part of a five-person team also comprising Dr Storm’s two children, Sue (Kate Mara) and her hot-headed brother Johnny (Michael B Jordan), computer scientist Victor von Doom (Toby Kebbell) and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell).
They teleport to an alternate universe, but disaster strikes during the mission and Victor is lost, presumed dead.
The four survivors return to the lab, blessed with startling new abilities.
Reed can stretch his human form to outrageous lengths and becomes Mr Fantastic, while Sue can become invisible and create force fields. Johnny can set himself ablaze and take flight as The Human Torch, and Ben is encased with stone body armour that allows him to perform feats of incredible strength as The Thing.
The four friends vow to use their extraordinary talents for the benefit of mankind, but they meet their match in Victor, who survived his ordeal, and has been reborn as megalomaniac supervillain Dr Doom.
Trank’s film is devoid of jeopardy. Even when Dr Doom conjures a black hole to destroy Earth part of us secretly hopes he succeeds. Annihilation is a small price to pay to rule out the possibility of a sequel.
Fantastic Four delivers a soulless blitzkrieg of wanton destruction, hung limply on an undernourished screenplay.