Fantastic Four Review

Featured — By on July 13, 2005 at 10:45 am

After seeing the initial trailers and not being a fan of the comic book, my expectations were extremely low for this film. However, the creative team did an admirable job with their attention to detail and focus on character development. It pains me to be critical because so many films are shoved down our throats with no regard to character development and a single-minded focus on seeing how many computer-generated images they can fit onto the screen at a time (see the last three “Star Wars” films or anything by Jerry Bruckheimer.)

Unfortunately, the best things about this film are the very things that hurt it the most. So much time is spent developing the four main characters that little time is left to develop any actual conflict or a credible antagonist. Dr. Doom, the group’s arch enemy, is treated like a second-class citizen and his descent from business mogul to madman is rushed and poorly executed. The climax of the film sees him trying to destroy the Fantastic Four for no other reason than he’s a bad guy and it’s just the thing to do when a movie hits the 2 hour mark. With the lack of build up and the fact that he’s outnumbered 4 to 1, we don’t believe that he really has a chance to defeat our heroes, so when he fails miserably we aren’t surprised and are left feeling more than a bit unsatisfied.

The major mistake of the filmmakers was to showcase all four members of The Fantastic Four instead of focusing on one character and using his individual struggles to drive the action. The logical choice would have been to follow the struggles of Ben Grimm. Grimm’s struggle with his appearance forms a large part of this film, but the writers tried to cover too much ground and end up with quantity and no quality. We’re repeatedly bashed over the head with the fact that he has a great relationship with his wife, but after seeing him for the first time after his accident she runs away in fear – without asking what happened to him or whether it can be reversed. Minutes later, after he saves a dozen or more lives on a fiery bridge, his wife suddenly appears in the crowd and places her wedding ring on the ground, walking out of his life forever. What was she doing on the bridge? Why did she decide to divorce him after his act of heroism? Later on he’s given a new girlfriend and his ex-wife is never mentioned again, so we’re led to believe that he wasn’t that broken up over her leaving. His character went completely full circle leaving nowhere for his character to go should there be a sequel, which seems likely with the film’s box office success.

On the whole the movie is mildly entertaining and probably deserves a rental, but don’t go out of your way to see it. For film-buffs or comic book fans who have more than a passing interest, check out Roger Corman’s unreleased 1993 Fantastic Four film which is available via bootleg on Ebay.

Rating: 3/5. Better than Catwoman or Daredevil, but not in the same league as films such as Hellboy, X-Men, Spiderman 2, etc.

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