We are treated to a short sequence that does a pretty good job of showing us this take on Reed Richards and his brilliance, as well as his friendship with Ben Grimm, and though he never says it in the movie, we do get to hear the iconic catch phrase of Ben Grimm, "it's clobberin' time!" from his abusive older brother. After we learn of these two the film quickly falls apart, as we are rushed through introductions of a bright but very demure Susan and her adoptive father, Franklin, and then briefly over to an obsessive and destructive but brilliant Victor von Doom and back to a reckless and charismatic Johnny Storm.
After some poorly explained reasons, we find ourselves post "accident" and the young characters struggling to accept their situation as tools for the government/military. In an effort to reverse the process that gave them their powers, they inadvertently bring back Victor, who seemingly has god like abilities, but gives no explanation and no motivation for the complete and total destruction of earth beyond because he feels like it. Unfortunately, even that doesn't matter because about 10 minutes after he is re-introduced, Victor von Doom, one of Marvel's biggest, most powerful and iconic villains, is unceremoniously killed off, again seemingly without rhyme or reason.
Fantastic Four inherently feels flawed, and it is to no fault of the actors, or even the show runners. To try to give us a reason to care about five central characters, give them development, a meaningful plot and resolution would be better suited for a T.V. show than a 94-minute movie. But more than anything, this feels like a film that has its heart set in the right place, but acts as a placeholder until something better comes around. Hopefully we will see more of the Fantastic Four as tie in characters, because another movie just doesn't have much justification after this one.
To be clear, this is not an actively bad movie, just a bland one. But with all the hype and great storytelling that has gone into superhero movie, you would think that one of the most iconic teams could benefit from a new retelling from a fresh, young perspective, but instead it only serves to show that the Fantastic Four are outdated, and serve better as side characters rather than main central ones.
Final score: 5/10