REVIEW: Fantastic Four (12A) **

Miles Teller and Kate Mara star in Fantastic Four. PA Photo/Twentieth Century Fox/Alan Markfield.
Miles Teller and Kate Mara star in Fantastic Four. PA Photo/Twentieth Century Fox/Alan Markfield.
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If at first you don’t succeed, please gracefully admit defeat. That would be my heartfelt advice to filmmakers, who have been striving for decades to bring Marvel Comics’ longest-running superhero team to life on the big screen.

A low budget Fantastic Four shot in 1993 and produced by Roger Corman was never released and a vapid 2005 blockbuster starring Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis spawned an equally dull sequel two years later.

Now Josh Trank, who helmed the slick sci-fi fantasy Chronicle, attempts to reboot the franchise with a hip, young cast but yields similarly depressing results.

The opening chapters of most superhero film series only have to illuminate one origin story but Fantastic Four has the unenviable task of putting flesh on the bones of a quartet of distinctly different protagonists and their mentally unhinged arch-nemesis.

Regrettably, the three scriptwriters don’t possess the powers of brevity or wit, daubing characters in broad strokes in between high-volume, low-thrills action set pieces.

The only thing remotely ‘fantastic’ about Trank’s film is that he has limited our suffering to 100 minutes. Be grateful for small mercies.

Fantastic Four delivers a soulless blitzkrieg of wanton destruction

Miles Teller, who was mesmerising in Whiplash, squanders his talent as Reed Richards, an inquisitive student from Oyster Bay, New York, who creates a ‘cymatic matter shuttle’ with best friend Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) that transports objects between two realms.

Fantastic Four delivers a soulless blitzkrieg of wanton destruction, hung limply on an undernourished screenplay.

The good-looking ensemble cast struggles to be seen and heard above the digitally-generated din and Trank’s film is devoid of jeopardy, even when Dr Doom conjures a black hole to bring about mankind’s downfall.

Part of us secretly hopes he succeeds.

Total annihilation is a small price to rule out the possibility of a Fantastic Four sequel.