The latest reboot of the Fantastic Four — the cinematic equivalent of malware — is worse than worthless. It not only scrapes the bottom of the Marvel-movie barrel; it knocks out the floor and sucks audiences into a black hole of soul-crushing, coma-inducing dullness. And, guess what, it’s an origin story. That’s right. A gifted young cast (Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Michael B. Jordan) has been hired to freshen the plot, like an old whore trying to pass as jailbait. No go.
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Director Josh Trank (Chronicle), who wrote the soggy script with Simon Kinberg and Jeremy Slater, takes forever to get things going. Reed Richards (Teller, acting NAÏVE in capital letters) is a science prodigy recruited by Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) to join his rogue think tank. Storm’s adopted daughter Sue (Mara) is a willing participant. His car-crazy son, Johnny (Jordan), not so much. Mara and Jordan are given nothing to act so you can only watch as they lose the will to try. Toby Kebbell as Victor Von Doom, Dr. Storm’s embittered pupil, overcompensates by overdoing everything. But he’s the bad guy. You can tell because he keeps giving shit to Reed’s BFF, Ben Grimm (Bell). Everyone pretends to be excited by Reed’s invention, a teleporter which can transport a monkey into an alternate dimension. Since this movie has no dimension at all, everyone is envious of the monkey.
So, of course, they jump into the teleporter and gets transformed into — spoiler alert! — the Fantastic Four. Except nothing about this misbegotten, cynical attempt at franchise-rebuilding is fantastic. That includes the crude, cheap-looking, unspecial effects that turn Reed into the stretchy Mr. Fantastic, Johnny into the Human Torch, Sue into the Invisible Woman and Ben into a pile of rocks called The Thing. Fantastic Four is a pile of something, too. You fill in the blank.