‘Fantastic Four’ or Fantastic Flop? 9 Critics’ Most Scathing Reviews

“This is like a generic TV pilot for a show you wouldn’t want to watch,” one critic writes

Fantastic Four
20th Century Fox

“Fantastic Four” isn’t living up to the adjective assigned to the Marvel superhero team played by Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Miles Teller and Jamie Bell.

Although director Josh Trank’s “Chronicle” arrived mostly to acclaim in 2012, critics are slamming his second film. “Fantastic Four” — another origin story about the formation of Mr. Fantastic (Teller), The Invisible Woman (Mara), the Human Torch (Jordan) and The Thing (Bell) — holds a disappointing 11 percent approval rating from critics counted, so far, on Rotten Tomatoes.

The majority of the aggregated film reviews fault studio 20th Century Fox for dragging in promising actors and subjecting them to an underwhelming plot with minimal allowance for character development, plus lousy CGI.

TheWrap‘s Alonso Duralde was among the majority of his peers, and described the reboot in his review as “10 minutes of Michael B. Jordan-Kate Mara-Miles Teller chemistry” and  “1 1/2 hours of bad story.”

“It’s one thing for a movie to leave you wanting a sequel and quite another to make you wish you were watching that sequel instead,” Duralde wrote in his review. “‘Fantastic Four’ — the second attempt by Fox and the third by Hollywood in general to bring Marvel Comics’ popular superteam to the big screen — offers glimmers of good things to come in its final moments, but only after the audience has slogged through yet another dispiriting origin story and yet another Earth-rescuing battle in a bland, CG-created nowhere land.”

Though scathing, Duralde’s review isn’t the most damning of them all. Here’s eight of the worst things critics have said about the new, not-so-improved “Fantastic Four.”

JoBlo’s Movie Emporium critic Chris Bumbray:

“It’s really puzzling how badly awry this reboot has gone as the finished product is neither bad enough to be ironically entertaining, nor is it halfway decent enough for us to wonder what could be done with the franchise if the material/direction was better. Rather, this is like a generic TV pilot for a show you wouldn’t want to watch.”

FilmInk’s critic Erin Free:

“The big screen hoodoo continues with the prematurely rebooted ‘Fantastic Four,’ which is obviously engineered to trigger a new franchise, but ends up a disappointing misfire. Directed by Josh Trank (who put an inventive spin on the superhero genre with his 2012 debut, ‘Chronicle’) amidst rumors of unrest and studio interference, ‘Fantastic Four’ feels like a film with nobody at the wheel, as it careens around shambolically before grinding to a slamming halt as the creative fuel runs dry.”

CraveOnline’s critic William Bibbiani:

“This isn’t ‘the world’s greatest’ anything. It’s barely even a superhero movie, and ultimately fails to entertain on the most fundamental levels unless your affection for these characters is righteous and strong.”

IndieWire’s critic Kevin Jagernauth:

“It seems at a certain point that with a release date to hit and only so much they could do without pushing the movie back, 20th Century Fox just threw up their hands and cobbled together what they had. The special effects are often lousy in ‘Fantastic Four,’ with poorly rendered CGI backdrops that make the fact that the actors are all standing on a soundstage all the more apparent, and this is particularly glaring during the climax.”

The Skinny’s critic Jamie Dunn:

“Maybe Trank shouldn’t shoulder all the blame. This is a film that’s been shredded to near-incoherence in the editing room, with a finale that’s over before it’s barely begun. In the movie, the money-grabbing adults who try to take control of the project eventually get out of the way and let these four talented kids save the day. It’s a shame the producers of ‘Fantastic Four’ didn’t have similar trust in their talented young director.”

Screen International’s critic Tim Grierson:

“After battling months of bad buzz about a troubled production and the need for reshoots, ‘Fantastic Four’ emerges as a wounded animal of a superhero movie, only rarely showing flashes of the darker, more emotional breed of Marvel film it’s trying to be. Certainly, Fox’s rebooting of the franchise blessedly lacks the dopey irreverence of the 2005 version and its sequel, both directed by Tim Story, but ‘Chronicle’ filmmaker Josh Trank struggles to balance an origin story, mediocre comic-book action, and a strained metaphor about dysfunctional families. A good cast led by Miles Teller gets swallowed up in a narrative that grows progressively more muddled and tedious.”

Flicks’ critic Liam Maguren:

“I could easily say that this new ‘Fantastic Four’ outstretches its welcome, that its plot vanishes without a trace, that the action fails to ignite, or that the script could have used a good clobbering. But I’ve got a simpler statement: this is a bad movie and you should not watch it.”

Miami Herald’s critic Rene Rodriguez:

“‘Fantastic Four’ is a synthetic bum-out, an assembly-line product, a movie a group of people made just because they could. All those comic-book adaptations Hollywood has lined up for release over the next three years are starting to feel like a threat.”

“Fantastic Four” opens in theaters on Friday.