Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action, and some suggestive content.
Directed By: Tim Story
Written By: Mark Frost and Michael France
A few days in space. What’s the worst that could happen? -Ben Grimm
Scientists and researchers head to outer space to record a solar storm that has the possibility of altering genetic make-ups. With shields created to protect the scientists, they will be safe from the effects of the storm. Or so they thought. The storm hits sooner than anyone anticipated and each of the individuals aboard were exposed to it. Once they had returned to earth, each begin noticing the strange affects the storm had on each of them. Reed’s body stretches in all directions, Sue becomes invisible, Johnny becomes full of flames, and Ben turns into a rock monster. Meanwhile, Julian McMahon begins to notice his own changes. With his company being bought out and all his power and riches soon to be gone, he decides to use his “gift” in a much more sinister way. It’s up to the Fantastic Four to discover his plans and stop him.
In an ocean of super hero films Fantastic Four comes across as simply mediocre. With so many excellent interpretations of Marvel Comics being realized on film and even long awaited additions to previous creations (Superman Returns) the bar to be a successful and memorable film is high, and Fantastic Four was nowhere near the necessary requirements to meet that success. Directer Tim Story never put any of the fundamentals of characterization and plot development together, which left the story a series of events awkwardly banded together.
There never seemed to be an element to really put the character’s in deep peril, nor the world itself. With no greater conflict other than the gradual metamorphosis of Julian McMahon’s inner evil, the greatest aspect of character or plot development was spent on The Thing’s loneliness and the awkward chemistry of Reed and Sue. With nothing to focus on other than less than entertaining events that should have been side plots evolving, my interest more than weened. It was nearly diminished entirely. In fact, I fell asleep.
The most interesting character and best performance of the entire film was from Chris Evans as Johnny Storm. The direction of a film has serious issues when the comic relief, one dimensional character is the most interesting and intriguing character of the story. Because the film was left on such a superficial level and delved no deeper into the story, the world, and what was at stake itself, the Fantastic Four came off as trite at best.
- Ioan Gruffud as Reed Richards
- Jessica Alba as Sue Storm
- Chris Evans as Johnny Storm
- Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm
- Julian McMahon as Victor von Doom
- Kerry Washington as Alicia Masters
The casting was possibly the greatest downfall of the film. Chris Evans and Julian McMahon were excellent choices. Each were charismatic and often the saving grace of a scene. Michael Chiklis played The Thing well, but the director’s focus on his depression and loneliness was expressed in a way far too melodramatic to really get into his character. The biggest problems laid in Ioan Gruffud and Jessica Alba. The two suffered chemistry as inviting as swarm of hovering gnats. Each of their bland performances made the events transpiring seem even more inconsequential and left each of their character’s less than one dimensional. I have never been a fan of Jessica Alba and this is why. Her performances are weak, and her presence onscreen in uncomfortable. Please, let her be a swimsuit model where she doesn’t speak or show expression, and keep her out of movies. Every scene she was in became worse because of her bungling performance.
Ratings and Suggestions
Even with all the creative dysfunction Fantastic Four was still an entertaining viewing, it just wasn’t nearly up to the par of of films in it’s genre. Perhaps it’s sequel will give it’s character’s more texture and it’s conflict of interest something on a bigger scale. It was worth a rental, but never something I would add to my movie collection. In the end, it was simply average. Fantastic Four receives Two out of Four stars.