Straight up: This re-boot of the Marvel comics actioner, featuring four young superheroes of disparate abilities, is a dud. Its flaws run from substantial (emotionally unengaging, clunkily plotted, boring) to bizarrely mesmerizing (in about a third of her scenes, star Kate Mara is wearing the worst wig).
It’s primarily an origin story about how four young people work at a tech lab and, in the course of a drunken evening, get zapped by some other-dimensional energy and acquire weird new powers. Reed (Miles Teller) gets super stretchy; Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) can turn into a flame; Ben (Jamie Bell) becomes a strongman made of rocks; and Sue (Mara) can, in essence, go invisible.
Sounds fun, but it takes the film the better part of an hour to get to the transformation, while we suffer through: inane dialogue; hokey characterizations (Johnny is a bad-boy street racer and can build inter-dimensional particle doo-dads); and a surprisingly dull trip to another dimension, which just looks like a dirty planet. And even after the super-powers manifest, viewers get only one hastily assembled scene of these ultra-fighters in action — and it’s a return to that grubby other dimension, where conveniently a villain has been percolating.
Director Josh Trank took to Twitter last week to denounce what’s currently playing in theaters, claiming he had made a better version last year. So unless you have the fantastic ability to go back in time, heed the warning.