While inventing another one of of his intrinsically insensitive but immensely entertaining games, The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon Cooper came up with this gem.
"Let's come up with a list of movies sequels that killed their franchises."
His top contendors - Jaws 4, Indiana Jones 4 and Daredevil 1.
If that episode had been made this year, the new Fantastic Four film would have been a shoo-in to top that list. I remember thinking to myself that it would take an extraordinarily special effort for a studio to make a superhero film that was blander, slower and more deadpan than Ryan Reynolds' Green Lantern, but surprise surprise - Fantastic Four 2015 is way up to the task. Or should it be down?
Not that the 2005 film or its Silver Surfer sequel were benchmarks in the realm of Marvel's superhero films, but this reboot - shot by the immensely quirky, young Josh Trank - has actually managed to make that version look good. That's how bad it is.
Why is it so bad? For starters, they twisted the origin story way out of shape. With the first few films explaining the quartet's powers by way of exposure to a rare cosmic storm that passed by earth when they were spacewalking into it, this one is just off the reservation. Reed Richards (Miles Teller), your quintessential genius, nerd kid is obsessed with transporting things from one place to another. Along with scrap pilfered from the junkyard owned by Ben Grimm's (Jamie Bell} family, they keep building devices through high school until Franklin Storm (Reg E Cathy) gets him a place at the Baxter Foundation, to help them finish the same body of work. The only difference? They know that the matter that is being teleported is going to another dimension and not somewhere else on earth. So just like 2+2 equals 4, you know how the four - Storm's kids Sue (Kate Mara) and Johnny (Michael Jordan), end up getting their powers. After an explosion while moonlighting in the other dimension. Planet Zero, they call it.
Second, the narration is choppy and disjointed. There are plenty of plot points that build up well but fall flat when it actually happens. One of the greatest joys in a superhero origin story is watching how they deal with it when they realise they have powers. No such luck with this film. Trask or the studio, who edited it without asking him, really missed the bus on that one.
The next terrible thing about this flick is that it lacks crass, simple, easy to laugh at one-liners. Serious to a fault, there's very little entertainment value for people who aren't hardcore comic book buffs. Incidentally, Victor von Doom as a villain who wants to end the world, isn't very menacing. Downright annoying at times, I was actually quite pleased that the 'big showdown' was edited down to less than ten minutes. The less drawn out the better. Any longer and people may have been bored to death.
Film: Fantastic Four
Director: Josh Trank
Cast: Miles Teller, Michael Jordan, Jamie Bell, Kate Mara
Verdict: If there was ever a good reason not to make a sequel, this film is it.