Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Human Torch and the Thing
FANTASTIC FOUR (aka Fantastic 4/2005). Director: Tim Story.

Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd of Sanctum), his ex-girlfriend Susan Storm (Jessica Alba), her brother Johnny (Chris Evans of Captain America: The First Avenger), and buddy Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) all participate in a space experiment with college acquaintance and scientist Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon). Unfortunately things go a little awry and they all wind up with strange, super-human powers. Sue can become invisible and create force fields. Johnny becomes a flying, blazing Human Torch. Reed can stretch any part of his body like a latter day Plastic Man; and Ben turns into a lump of orange rocks with incredible super-strength. Together they become known as the Fantastic Four and save the city when Von Doom [aka "Dr. Doom"] mutates into a metallic maniac and goes on the rampage. Despite some changes to their origin, this often captures the feel of the old Stan Lee-Jack Kirby Fantastic Four comic books of the silver age. There's a generous amount of humor, but it generally comes from the situations and isn't forced, as well as some pathos concerning the situation of "the Thing," as Ben becomes known, who loses his sweetheart when she can't deal with his ugliness. The movie presents the inter-relationships of the foursome along the lines of the comic, with a callow, often insensitive Torch goading the Thing into destructive rages, and so on. All five of the actors, including McMahon, while they may not at first seem like perfect casting, do a fine job bringing these super-heroes to life. Alba received a lot of knocks, but she has authority and gives a perfectly good performance. The only problem with the movie is that the climax is rather short. For more information on the Fantastic Four comic see The Silver Age of Comics.

Verdict: Fun Marvel Comic Book Movie. ***.

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