Fantastic Four

First slide

Glum origin story, drawn from the Marvel Comics series, recounts how a quartet of youthful science enthusiasts - Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Toby Kebbell - working under the sponsorship of a wealthy research institute (represented by Reg E. Cathey), develops a machine capable of transporting people to a previously unknown dimension. But a hurried, unauthorized visit there by the three lads, undertaken to forestall others from stealing the limelight, has unexpected and ambiguous consequences - for them, for Mara's character and for a tag-along (Jamie Bell). Director and co-writer Josh Trank's reboot of a chronicle that stretches back, in print, to 1961 shows subtlety in its treatment of the group's unsought superpowers. Yet the misfortunes that accompany these gifts become mildly miserable for the audience, while a ham-handed critique of the military-industrial complex does little to lighten the mood. Parents of the teens at whom the film is squarely aimed will want to be aware of late scenes featuring some harsh bloodletting, forays into mayhem that make this doubtful fare even for older adolescents.

Watch out for: Brief gory violence, glimpses of partial nudity, at least one use of profanity, a handful of crude terms, an obscene gesture.

Rated: A-III, adults; MPAA: PG-13, parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015