Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fantastic Four (2005) - Review

   With the release of Fox’s third attempt to get the Fantastic Four right directly around the corner, August 7th to be exact, I felt it was only necessary to go back and revisit the first two. The first part of which is 2005’s Fantastic Four. 
  The super-genius that is Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) is able to form together an idea about, what he calls, a cosmic event. With the help and investment from his old pal, Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon), Richards is able to take a small group, his ex-girlfriend Susan Storm (Jessica Alba), pilot and Sue’s brother Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), and his old friend and partner Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis), into space to test his hypothesis regarding the event. Of course something goes wrong, not uncommon for superhero origins, and the team find themselves exposed to the cosmic rays, changing their molecular makeup into something more fantastical.
   In a lot of ways Fantastic Four is very true to it’s source material, the longstanding Marvel comic of the same name, but lacks the spirit of what makes the superhero team great. There are moments where the film executes scenes and story beats well, but they are just that, moments in a long story.
   Now a bad script or story does not always spell doom for a film if the director can help it along and make it a visceral experience to watch. However, director Tim Story doesn’t do this.  Lacking any visual style, the film matches the story and comes off as a bland representation of the Fantastic Four.
   The cast is provided with opportunities to shine through weak material. While Evans and Chiklis felt right for their roles respectively, bantering back and forth as Ben and Johnny made it seem real and their chemistry is definitely a highlight.  Alba is the weakest link of the super team, never really settling into the role of powerful female hero trading it off for being the beautiful nag to Gruffud’s Reed Richards. Gruffud is serviceable enough, but I'm not truly able to buy into him being the super-genius he is playing. 
   Doctor Doom, the villain of the film, is not nearly imposing enough, as he needs to be. Julian McMahon plays Doom’s egotistical charm well, but it’s his only mode for the length of the film.  This leaves perhaps one of the best comic book villains of all-time feeling very one note and dull.

   Overall, Fantastic Four is not the worst superhero film in the world and definitely has some strong points. Evans and Chiklis certainly standout and play their roles well, despite not having much to work with. If anything the film is enjoyable to watch, but by no means is it good and very far from being fantastic. (4.5/10)

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