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The Master

Fantastic Four reboot

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Sigh. Normally I'd go see this movie anyway, especially now that the talk around it is interesting, but by all accounts it's legitimately boring, which isn't even something you can say about Batman & Robin.

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There's a few exciting scenes though. The origin sequence is really well-done. The final fight is too short but it's not bad. The movie's not that long anyway.

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My spoiler-free review:

It's not a load of bull-shit. It not a good movie either. It's almost - but not quite OK. There is a LOT wrong with it (the less said about the origin of 'It's clobbering time' the better) but it does get some things right.

There is the bones of a damn good movie there. If that movie had been the one released, people would be clamoring for a second one. But it wasn't. So they aren't.

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I haven't seen one positive review of this film yet. Here are some phrases I've seen while Googling around:

"A dawdling, indie drama dressed up in superhero garb"

"A tragic chore"

"Powerfully mediocre"

"The gloom is infectious"

"A 'Fantastic' fail all around"

"This is the summer's worst movie"

"A complete bore"

"Super only in its mediocrity"

"The CGI rendering is abysmal"

"Fant4stic is barely a movie. It’s a bunch of vaguely connected moments cobbled together to 100 minutes so it can qualify for a cinematic release; the idea there’s a coherent narrative with a flowing story between its vaguely defined beginning and end is so contentious it’s insulting."

I'm going to go ahead and guess that Damien and I might be covering this at some point.

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I hate - HATE - that there's an FF movie that I'm not fussed about seeing. I should be there midnight opening day, beside myself with excitement.

I need to see a legitimately entertaining Fantastic Four movie before I die.

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I get paid on the 24th, and up until that point I have almost literally no money. Tuesday (25th) is cheap day at the cinema, in which a ticket costs £3.60, which the internet reliably informs me is akin to $5.58. My plan is to take the 25th off of work and get caught up with as many movies as possible on that day. I'm hoping (genuinely) that Fantastic 4 is one of those films, given my role within this site. My fear is that the film's reviews/business is so toxic that it is withdrawn from the cinemas before the 25th, which I calculate is its third week on release.

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I hate - HATE - that there's an FF movie that I'm not fussed about seeing. I should be there midnight opening day, beside myself with excitement.

My feelings exactly.

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My favorites so far are "it's like watching a unicorn do heroin" and "I would walk out of this movie if it was on an airplane"

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The vitriol is way over the top. I mean, it might not be great, but it can't be the cinematic atrocity that critics are falling over each other to declare it. This is getting ridiculous.

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People didn't hate Man of Steel this much.

Man of Steel had more of a phenomenon where the people who liked it really liked it and the people who hated it really hated it. On this one it's just hate. Up to and including the director of the movie. That's when you end up in a death spiral where hyperbole starts to take over.

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That's just the thing; this isn't howling internet nerd rage. These are critics, people who evaluate and write about film for a living, smelling blood in the water and going batshit.

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It might lose to Mission Impossible at the box office this weekend. At this point, Fox can try to recoup the cost with overseas markets but, even then, damage done. Fox has two options: try again in a few years or let the rights revert. A part of me feels that Fox might let them revert. I mean, they have X-Men which makes money and FF which had one minority successful film, one that kinda did alright, and this one that might flop.

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Here's hoping the rights end up back with Marvel because of it.

This isn't a shot specifically at you, Jason, but I hate that argument. I refuse to buy into the idea that Marvel Studios only makes good movies that fully respect the source material it puts out there. When they hit the mark (Iron Man, Guardians), the films are awesome; when they don't (Incredible Hulk, any Iron Man sequel), the films get a 7/10 and are then never referred to again.

Also, by and large, Fox have done right by the X-Men franchise and I really don't want to see a Kevin Feige-produced universe in which they are secondary to the Avengers. I'm not going to pass judgment on the new Fantastic 4 until I see it (what with that objective viewpoint I hold so dear) and even if it is as wretched as everyone says, I don't see anyone flocking to see a reboot just because it's under the Marvel Studios umbrella - if a property is that universally despised, its toxicity is going to take a few years to settle (I'm thinking Batman & Robin - Batman Begins).

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If this was released any other time of the year, would it have had a chance? Both Ghost Rider movies did well with their February release dates.

Clearly I am at the bargaining stage with this movie.

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Here's hoping the rights end up back with Marvel because of it.

I don't see Fox trying again with these characters. If they did try to keep the rights, it will be some kind of crossover with the X-Men. They have a sequel planned, but surely that's on hold.

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This was not the Almighty trainwreck everyone is so eager to call it. Does it drag in places? Yes, after they get their powers it crawls until Doom returns. Does it falter in building the four as a cohesive team, let alone a family? Also yes, but the individual pairings, such as Ben and Reed, work well. (And the final scene is classic FF.) But the big question is: Does it work as a Fantastic Four movie? Yes, if you're willing to see this more as an Ultimate Fantastic Four movie. If anything, now that the origin is out of the way, I hope Fox moves forward with a sequel that lets the four be The Fantastic Four. The groundwork has been laid here for big, cosmic adventures that only these four can beat when they come together. Let's keep that moving.

Also, Doom is fucking frightening, and the look they've designed for him makes perfect sense once you've seen the movie.

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Here's hoping the rights end up back with Marvel because of it.

This isn't a shot specifically at you, Jason, but I hate that argument. I refuse to buy into the idea that Marvel Studios only makes good movies that fully respect the source material it puts out there. When they hit the mark (Iron Man, Guardians), the films are awesome; when they don't (Incredible Hulk, any Iron Man sequel), the films get a 7/10 and are then never referred to again.

Here's the thing: a 7/10 "halfway-decent" Marvel movie is at least better than any Fantastic Four movie currently made under Fox. The first Fantastic Four movie got the "fun" aspect right, but almost completely missed the superhero angle of the team, as well as having real believable character interactions between anyone except Ben and Johnny. The second one actually had some superhero stuff but was somehow a worse movie, and this new one was apparently made just so they could keep the rights to the franchise, and it's a trainwreck. So yeah, no matter which way you look at it, there's almost no way Marvel wouldn't do a better job. Heck, the F4 are a really odd group of characters, and the people at Marvel are probably the only ones who are guaranteed to actually get who the characters are and why they're great.

Also, as with the Marvel comics universe, the Fantastic Four characters (especially Reed, Doom, Galactus & Silver Surfer) are arguably more important as a part of the greater Marvel Universe than they are in their own corner. So their presence in the MCU wouldn't only result in a good movie or series of movies, but a boon for all the other movies as well.

So yeah, here's hoping Marvel can get the Four back.

(Fox can keep X-Men, though. They seem to be doing well.)

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this new one was apparently made just so they could keep the rights to the franchise

Nope. A studio doesn't sink $120M into a movie just to keep the rights. This was their big summer tentpole release and they were making not only sequel plans, but blended universe plans as well. A "just keeping the rights" situation involves paying next to nothing and then quietly having it go away while they gear up for the real thing (see: Corman, Roger). This is a major fiasco, and the poor showing has seriously driven down the franchise's value; at least the Spider-Man movies were still profitable for Sony, so they had some leverage when dealing with Marvel.

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Okay, that's not quite what I meant. I didn't mean to suggest that it was only made to keep the rights (though I suppose I did technically say that), but more that it was the primary impetus for making the movie. Instead of "we have a great idea and we can/should make a great movie out of this," it's "we need to make an FF movie by X date; let's get something together by then." Not that I think they went out to make a bad movie or entirely didn't care, it's just that I don't believe that's a good place to start, creatively speaking.

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Also, Doom is fucking frightening, and the look they've designed for him makes perfect sense once you've seen the movie.

I'd agree but the mask undermines the menace a bit for me. If they were willing to go a certain distance with the horror of Doom, why not go full-on, sunken cheeks, angular face, etc? Minor quibble though.

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