Retro Review: Fantastic Four (2005)

Written: July 2005

Marvel Comics’s cosmic family blasts onto the big screen. But can the fabulous foursome overcome all the negative hype and do the characters justice?

As told in the comic from 1961, The Fantastic Four came to be when scientist Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), best-friend Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis), Susan Storm (Jessica Alba) and Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) were struck by a cosmic storm while on an exploratory space mission.

Upon returning to Earth, the foursome found themselves with unexplained extraordinary powers which were a blessing and a curse. Each member struggles to adapt to their new way of life.

In the feature film, Reed’s nemesis from the comic series Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon) is also on the space mission.

This new version of “Fantastic Four” has a lot of great moments and is a lot better than the rumors make it out to be. The performances of Evans, Chiklis and Gruffudd are excellent and compliment the legacy of the characters.

I found the weakness of the film to come from performances of Alba and McMahon as well as the film’s story arc. I really think that if the film had forgotten the whole Von Doom angle and actually told the characters true origins then it would have been a better film. Doom just doesn’t work here.

My favorite part of the film is Chris Evans. The film version of the character is probably one of the richest and closest comic superhero adaptations out there. This movie is owned by Evans. The shame is that it’s called “Fantastic Four” and I think director Tim Story forgot that.

“Fantastic Four” isn’t a glowing success but as a lot of superhero films come out we are starting to see the genre develop. You have awful superhero films like Catwoman, Elektra and to some, Daredevil. Then you have the mediocre films like Hulk, Fantastic Four and to some, Blade. Finally you have the bona-fide hits like Batman Begins, Spider-Man and X-Men. I had a lot of fun with Fantastic Four even if it isn’t perfect.

(3 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer

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