Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis,
I'll save you the long spiel about the transition of comics
to mainstream blockbuster material. With the likes of X-Men
and Spider-Man doing well in
the theaters, one of Marvel's oldest properties finally gets
a good shot at the big screen (Roger Corman's version doesn't
count). While the plot takes some liberties with the original
story, it does manage to bring the core of the original tale
The story begins as scientist Reed Richards and his longtime
friend, pilot Ben Grimm, go to Victor Von Doom to propose
using Von Doom's orbital station to perform a scientific study.
At this time, Von Doom agrees but brings along brother and
sister, Sue and Johnny Storm. Where the conflict lies in that
Sue and Reed used to have a relationship, but his inability
to deal with their relationship caused their split and now
Sue works for Von Doom. Once on the space station, a space
cloud makes an unexpectedly early arrival, destroying the
station and irradiating the five-man crew.
Because of this, the five people begin to go through changes
and react to these changes in different ways. Of the five,
Johnny and Ben seem to take their changes in vastly different
ways. Ever the extreme sportsman, Johnny finds his new power
to cover himself in fire as a new way to show off. On the
other hand, Ben's transformation turns him into a rocky monster
that scares off his wife and makes even the smallest events
more difficult for him.
After some time, the four main characters perform some heroic
duties and become instantly famous. While this is going on,
Victor Von Doom uses his own new powers to make a bid for
more power. This bid for more power is what forces the final
conflict between Doom and the Fantastic Four.
Anyone who has read the original comics (and I mean the early
issues) knows that the characters were pretty dry and one-dimensional
until some years of development fleshed out their relationships.
Because of this, many of the characters may feel less than
deep, but their main driving character traits do show up enough
to establish the characters: Reed is guilt-ridden and bookish;
Ben is short-tempered and down about his monstrous looks;
Johnny is a volatile smart mouth who loves excitement. I have
to give credit to the cast for making the most of their characters.
Special effects are pretty good without being overdone. The
Thing's rubber suit looks a lot better in motion than in did
in the prerelease set shoots. Some of the effects for the
other heroes look pretty good, through they never really made
a lot out of Mr. Fantastic's stretching ability except for
a few scenes.
For the most part, the adventure is a good popcorn munching
view. If anything can be said against the film, I would say
that the direction is pretty pedestrian and by-the-numbers.
There are some decent performances from the actors, but without
a better script and direction, they never really excel. If
you're looking for an entertaining film that has some good
action and a few laughs, Fantastic 4 is worth your