Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Fantastic Four

Rating: B

It's funny to me to see the comic books that we used to read as kids that lead us to be scorned as "geeks" or "dorks" becoming such a money maker for Hollywood. I wonder which comics are going to be made into movies next.

This time around it is the Fantastic Four, the story of four scientists that are exposed to solar radiation with super results. Reed Richards, the "leader" of the group is turned into Mr. Fantastic, who can stretch his body to all kinds of lengths. Susan Storm, Reed's object of affection, becomes the Invisible Woman. Her brother, Johnny Storm, is flaming as the Human Torch, and Ben Grimm gets his rock on as the Thing.

The movie wastes no time getting into space as our four heros along with their benefactor, Victor Von Doom, who has a thing for Susan and much ire for Reed. The purpose of the mission is to study solar radiations in the hopes of curing disease, ending hunger, etc, etc etc. Of course things go horribly wrong and everyone is exposed to the radiation, and the side effects gradually come out. It seems the current trend of superhero movies is to have whatever the powers come out and then the hero(s) have a hard time dealing with it, giving the movie a darker, more realistic tone. Spiderman leads the way with that one followed by Batman Begins. The Fantastic Four tries hard to accomplish this, but doesn't always get it done. While each person has a hard time dealing with their new-found powers, the tone is kept light. It's very fun to see the fighting among the four heros as Johnny Storm has embraced his power and wants fame and fortune, Susan and Reed want a cure, and Ben just wants to be left alone. His story is the most compelling. The only one of the four that is visually different leads to many more challenges in his life, so he ends us having the most to lose. Also, the relationship between the Thing and the Torch is the highlight of the film.

Victor did not escape the effects of the storm and transforms into Dr. Doom, the Four's arch enemy. And of course he wants to take over the world, allthough he really doesn't have a plan other than getting rid of the Fantastic Four, whom he blames for everything (of course). The main battle needed about 10-15 more minutes to really make it worthwhile, and of course, there's room for many sequels.

Everyone does a pretty good job in thie movie. Fans of FX will recognize Michael Chiklis(The Shield) and Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck), and any American male will notice Jessica Alba, who is really really tan this time around. The heart and soul of the movie really is Chiklis' Thing, and it is great to see him make the transition to the big screen.

Overall, not a bad flick. It's worth checking out. Not one to see again like Batman, brush off your $6.50 and head to the theater. It's not Fantastic, but it is good enough for me.


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