60 years of there is a wealth of material to mine for a film adaptation
of Marvel Comic’s Fantastic Four, however this adaptation sticks closely
to an origin story plot – family travel into space, gain powers and
international fame as superheros – albeit with some tweaks to make the
story general public friendly.
Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), his girlfriend Sue Storm (Jessica Alba),
his best friend Benjamin Grimm (Michael Chiklis) and Sue’s brother
Johnny (Chris Evans) are involved in a cosmic accident aboard a space
station – the accident grants them varied powers; Reed can stretch, Sue
turns invisible, Ben becomes a rocky “thing” and Johnny is able to set
himself on fire – a human torch if you will. Together they form the
Fantastic Four and take on the threat of Reeds long-time scientific
rival Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon).
Casting is a mixed bag; Evans appears to be having the most fun as
Johnny Storm and he brings the hot head to life, likewise Chiklis is
great as Ben Grimm aka The Thing – he is just let down with some weird
costuming choices. Gruffudd is boring as Mr Fantastic, he just doesn’t
have the genius vibe about him, which is well suited as he and Alba’s
Invisible Woman do not have the romantic chemistry their partnership
requires. Alba is perhaps the most disappointing casting decision,
obviously only cast for her looks and box-office appeal; she does not
have the inner strength or emotional weight needed to bring Sue Storm to
In this version of the Fantastic Four Reed Richards and his long-time
rival Victor Von Doom (who previously dated Sue!) are both present at
the time of the space accident – Doom gaining strange metallic based
powers and a metal skin; which he naturally uses for evil instead of
good. McMahon’s Doom is good but pales in comparison to the stubborn
monarch of the source material, indeed much of the film suffers from
producers tampering too much with the original source material.
Fantastic 4 should be a true comic book movie, over the top and fun,
filled with fantastic visuals but it just isn’t fantastic enough. And
unfortunately the film was beaten to the box office by Pixar’s The
Incredibles, which did a better job at bringing to life the idea of a
family of superheros – indeed The Incredibles contained many references
to The Fantastic Four. In the end this film is far from fantastic, but
perhaps further instalments will get there.
Special features include an audio commentary by the cast, deleted
scenes, behind the scenes featurettes, music videos and trailers.