Sunday 1 October 2017

Movie Review: Fantastic Four (2005)

A lame superhero movie, Fantastic Four suffers from a cheap look and feel, stiff dialogue, uninspired casting and a profound lack of style.

Scientist Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) and his lifelong friend Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) secure funding from narcissistic tycoon Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon) to conduct an experiment near explosive cosmic clouds in space. Victor is dating his employee Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), a genetics researcher and Reed's former sweetheart. Along with Sue's daredevil brother Johnny, they all travel to Victor's space station. Something goes terribly wrong and they are all subjected to intense radiation. Victor's business empire is ruined by the debacle.

Back on Earth, the side effects of the radiation exposure becomes apparent. Reed's body gains incredible elasticity, Sue can bend light and appear invisible, while Johnny can set himself on fire and fly at supersonic speeds. Ben is permanently damaged, gaining superhuman strength but a monstrous appearance with a hard outer shell. Meanwhile Victor's body starts a slower transition to an alloy-like structure with enormous powers. Reed tentatively reignites his romance with Sue and attempts to invent a machine to reverse the DNA transformation, while Victor unleashes an evil plan.

It took about twenty years to bring Marvel's Fantastic Four to the big screen, and the film feels about twenty years out of date. Directed by Tim Story with a distinct absence of panache, this is a flat exercise in painting superheroes by numbers. The production sometimes slips into television-level territory, with cheesy special effects, sets that would have looked modern in the 1980s, and dull, static execution with bursts of over-the-top CGI.

The story is insipid, the science barely explained, and after the super powers are introduced, the film needs to kill about 60 minutes of not much happening before lumbering to a yawn-inducing let's- stand-in-a-circle climax.

Saving the exercise from a total loss are Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis giving their all to serve an undeserving cause. Alba and Evans as the sister and brother pair of Sue and Johnny Storm are the only source of energy and provide some wit and edge. Chiklis manages to convey a modicum of emotion from behind the The Thing's rhinoceros facade, and is the one character given a bit of a moral challenge by a script that otherwise seems more machine manufactured than human written.

Fantastic Four is a fumble, and far from fantastic.

All Ace Black Blog Movie Reviews are here.

1 comment:

  1. the recent fantastic four movie isn't great either. it seems as though it is one comic book franchise the writers cannot seem to get right.


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