This year's Fantastic Four is dull and dreary and devoid of any thrills.

As far as Fantastic Four‘s faithfulness to the comic book subject matter, we can’t speak of it. In terms of audience reaction and entertainment, it fails on all fronts.

Gifted young scientists build an amazing machine that teleports matter to an alternate universe. Yearning to be the historically important first humans to travel across time and space, the transport themselves and endure horrifyingly dangerous ramifications.  Transformed by the experience, they fight to harness their abilities and must work together when one is turned malevolently villainous.

The problem with Fantastic Four as a Marvel action film is its structure. It lumbers about in multiple directions without clarity. At first, it invests nearly 40mins in what the screenwriters surely felt was character and plot development but is in fact filler. Filler focusing entirely upon the scientific accomplishment of building the machine which would ultimately transform them.  While this tidbit is vital for the narrative, there is no reason for it to take up 30% of the movie and the execution is so poor it fails in that regard anyway. The next 25 minutes is a montage of the characters and their powers, again, necessary but stretched out. The final 30 minutes is a scramble for a climactic build up and conclusion, which is both random and sloppy. Honestly, to say that even that much ‘happened’ in the film is a gross overstatement.

Jeremy Slater, Josh Trank and Simon Kinberg, are all responsible for this abysmal adaptation. Fantastic Four fails at screenwriting 101, there is no central conflict, no propelling force that yields an intuitive story for the audience to latch on. Sure sure, some people may say “hello, Doctor Doom!” but he is only featured physically and mentioned in passing for about 15 minutes of the first hour. There is the big bad US government, as always, but they are more a passive villain. It’s actually offensive that studio executives green-lit the script in the first place.

Fantastic Four is a wholly missed opportunity to improve upon the underwhelming original of 2005. The casting was superb and the actors did an adequate job given the material, but the Marvel film was doomed from the start given the script. The first Fantastic Four might have been cheesy and overly saturated but the 2015 version is dull and dreary.