I could sum up my thoughts on Fox's (hopefully final) attempt at doing Marvel's Fantastic Four in six words: too much buildup, not enough payoff. I had seen the bad reviews on Rotten Tomatoes before going into the theater, but I wanted to see it for myself since I hadn't hated the previous Fantastic Four movies as much as everyone else did. I went in not expecting greatness but thinking it at least wouldn't be the worst film in the world. It wasn't, but it was certainly disappointing. Spoilers ahead.
The plot was dragging its feet, and I kept waiting for the inevitable confrontation between the superhero team and their nemesis. Unfortunately, once it came, I didn't feel any of the edge-of-my-seat tension I've come to expect of this kind of movie. I didn't even get to see much action before the scene ended. The story's climax was not the only part that let me down from too little effort. There's supposed to be a romance between Sue Storm (Invisible Woman) and Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), but aside from a meet-cute and one friendly conversation that makes Dr. Doom, I mean Victor, jealous, they did not have any relationship development. Meanwhile, Johnny Storm is rebelling against his "overbearing" father, Dr. Storm, a theme so clichéd I don't even want to bother going into detail about it.
Reed's friendship with Ben (The Thing) had more meaningful attention, but even that got plunged into the toilet. Reed abandons the group in a military complex after they get their powers and is in hiding for the next year as he tries to find a way to fix the situation. Ben especially feels betrayed, but somehow by the end of the movie he acts as if nothing has happened. Wow, way to deal with tension, movie. Just have them work together to fight some villain for five minutes and then maybe the audience will forget all about it, too.
My final complaint is having to see some of the worst examples of foreshadowing that I've come across… and I say this as someone who's read a lot of good and bad books. The first was when Ben's older brother exclaims "It's clobbering time!" right as he's about to beat him. Aside from the horribly not-subtle harbinger of Ben's future, I can't imagine using a reminder of childhood abuse as a catchphrase when you become a superhero. Later, while the group is having a conversation about their inter-dimensional teleporter, Victor expresses pessimism about the world and Sue scoffingly calls him "Dr. Doom." Really? Really? I could have dealt with the more low-key foreshadowing of Johnny's car engine exploding into flames, but that piece of dialogue felt like someone was squelching all of my book-loving braincells in one swift motion.
Listen, you don't have to be like me and find out how the movie is for yourself. I will tell you straight up: you will have a much, much better time watching Ant-Man.