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Fantastic Four

A movie directed by Tim Story

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For Mindless Summer fun, this is the thing.

  • Jul 7, 2005
  • by
Pros: Some good humor, action, and fx.

Cons: Thin plot and characters, needed more action.

The Bottom Line: While it has some flaws, it is not as bad as it looked.

In 1994, a low budget film was created in order to preserve the film rights to one of Marvel Comics popular series “The Fantastic 4”. Created by comic legend Stan Lee, The comic tells the ongoing tales of four people who were endowed with amazing powers after accidental exposure to an element in space.

The film was never released and has gone on to become a popular bootleg amongst comic fans. The ensuing rights for the film were also sold, and for almost a decade Fox has worked in brining the comic to the big screen.
After years of languishing, the film finally got on the fast track and under the helm of Director Tim Story and features a dynamic cast headed by some of the biggest emerging superstars in Hollywood.

Ioan Gruffudd stars as Reed Richards, a brilliant yet recently bankrupt scientist who along with his friend Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis), is visiting famed scientist Victor Von Doom (Julian Mc Mahon), in an effort to get his latest venture funded.

Reed is convinced that an approaching storm in space is the key to unlocking vast amounts of genetic secrets and that the shielding on Doom’s space station allows for safe study of the very rare phenomenon.

Dom agrees to the venture in exchange for 75% of all revenue generated from the findings and that he assigns certain people to the mission. Amongst them are Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), and her pilot brother Johnny (Chris Evans). The fact that Sue is Reed’s ex is a source of tension amongst the group as she is obviously still hurt and bitter of Reed’s inability to look at her and life in ways that are not based upon analytical science.

Despite the issues, the crew arrives at the station and the test is going according to plan, that is until an unexpected situation arises which causes the team to get caught in the storm with the shields lowered thus exposing them all to the storms radiation.

Back on earth, the crew awakens to find themselves in quarantine and suffering no ill effects from the accident. The failure of the mission is of great concern for Doom as his investors are using this as a reason to pull their support which in turn is causing his stock to drop rapidly.

In time, Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben start to show amazing abilities resulting from their exposure to the storm. Johnny can become a human fireball, Reed can stretch his body to amazing lengths, Sue can become invisible and project force fields and Ben has become a living wall of rock, capable of great feats of strength.
Since Ben is no longer able to pass as a human, he feels like a freak and is shunned by his wife, causing him much anger and depression. It is due to this that the team becomes noticed by the media who dub them the Fantastic 4 after watching them in action.

The resulting fame causes the team to withdraw, save for Johnny who basks in the glory and attention heaped upon him. It is against this changing dynamic that the team must find a way to restore themselves to their normal state and to discover what is causing their new found abilities.

The Fantastic 4 are not the only ones who changed, as Victor is becoming more and more angry and violent as he blames Reed for the failure of his company. Victor also has the ability to hurl deadly bolts of energy from his body which is quickly becoming metallic.

As fans of the comic know, it will not take long for Doom and the Fantastic 4 to face off, paving the way for a final confrontation. While I went in not expecting much from the film, I must say I was surprised. Yes, the film has a thin plot, and fairly basic characters and action, but it is also above all fun.

The dynamic between the characters is good as is the humor which accurately captures the tone and feel of the comic. Some purists will take exception with some of the liberties in the film such as Doom being on the trip to space and other variations on his character which are not part of the original comic.

Alba and Evans tend to come off at times as airheads but they stay true to their characters throughout. Gruffudd please reed with a shyness and charm that works well in the film and shows that he is a star on the rise. Praise should be heaped upon Chiklis and Mc Mahon who could easily have become lost amongst their costumes but give very human and compelling performances. Chiklis captures the duality of Grimm as he battles his despair over his physical appearance with his desire to do what is right. McMahon does riveting work as the man pushed over the edge that becomes fueled by a desire for revenge and power. The fury and evil upon his face and in his walk shows that this is a man of menace and danger.

I for one would have liked to have seen a bit more action in the film but as it stands, it is not as bad as some of the trailers hinted that it might be. If you do not mind thin plots and characters, you may be able to sit back and enjoy this film for what it is, a simple summer escape. Here is hoping that we will see the “Fantastic 4” up on the big screen soon as the next franchise series from Marvel.

3.5 stars out of 5
Gareth Von Kallenbach
International Association of Film Critics.


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More Fantastic Four (movie) reviews
review by . December 19, 2010
Out of all the superhero franchises, this one gets the biggest shaft. It's a shame, because Fantastic Four is a popular comic series and seems to have a strong fanbase. I was never really into them, but I still knew who they were, and I actually wanted to see this film when it came out. Fifteen minutes into the film, I was incredibly disappointed. I could see that it was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek approach to one of the most famous superhero teams in existence, but it tried, and failed.   …
review by . August 11, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      FANTASTIC 4      When this film first came out there was a lot of high hopes for the film, and why not it is one of the most beloved comics of all time. There has been a lot said about this movie some being positive some negative, I think for the most part that both sides are right. This movie is flawed especially if you are a fan of the comic series but if you a casual viewer I see no reason why you would not like this film. I have been a fan of Marvel …
Quick Tip by . September 14, 2010
Showed us all how a family can work together (even if one of them is stretchy, another invisible, another composed of rocks and one is highly combustible)!
Quick Tip by . May 10, 2010
Silly and almost actionless superhero movie showcasing one of Marvel's earliest hero teams. They deserved better.
review by . May 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I really hoped this movie would resemble the X-Men Trilogy (X-Men/ X2 - X-Men United/ X-Men - The Last Stand), which I thought was a model of how to transform a comic book into a movie.     Unfortunately, Fantastic Four falls a bit flat. That casting is part of the problem. I thought Chris Evans was funny as Johnny "Torch." However, Jessica Alba as a scientist? I'm sorry, that's just casting so against type that it doesn't work. There's also no plot or emotional depth. The film …
review by . July 15, 2009
Jessica Alba's super power is turning her orange skin clear.
Fantastic Four I always looked at as the sunny side of X Men.  This is the world where mutated humans are loved by the rest of mankind instead of being obstracized from society and feared.      Reed Richards is a brilliant but bankrupt scientist and his associate Ben Grimm need funding for a scientific discovery in space and resort to turning to an old aquaintence, Victor VonDoom. (wonder if he's a bad guy?)  Doom approves of the project provided he get a juicy …
review by . March 28, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Cool to see the Fantastic 4 in action     Cons: Basically a movie for character development (sort of); Jessica Alba     The Bottom Line: I can understand why it didn’t sit so well with the public, hence it could have been dealt with a little better.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. When I saw the previews for The Fantastic 4 I was excited. I didn’t know much about them aside from the …
review by . September 22, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Based upon the comic book series of the same name, FANTASTIC FOUR is a sci-fi action movie about a group of scientists who gain superpowers from a powerful cosmic ray while aboard a laboratory and observation space station above Earth. Their powers aren't apparent immediately and are dormant upon re-entry. However, towards the end of their quarantine upon re-entry the five individuals become aware of changes in their bodies: Dr. Richard Reed (Ioan Gruffudd) has the ability to stretch his body into …
review by . January 04, 2006
Pros: Great special effects, Jessica Alba looks good in a Victoria’s Secret garb.      Cons: Too much time spent on back-story and emotional stuff.     The Bottom Line: While Fantastic Four is not something I would run to the theater to see, it is perfect for those rainy, cloud shrouded, lazy Saturday’s in between work days.      I grew up in the age of Marvel and D.C. comics; at a time when the thin colored wonders were a mainstay of the …
review by . December 02, 2005
It's a good movie but also has room for improvement. One of the pluses of this movie is the cast. Not only is it a good cast but one filled with fresh faces. Each person also brings an impressive resume to the movie. Jessica Alba is really coming into her own with this movie as well as having a starring role in this year's earlier hit, "Sin City". Chris Evans is also an up and comer having appeared in last year's flick, "Cellular" Ioan Gruffudd from "Titanic" and the "Horatio Hornblower" series …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #111
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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About this movie


Fantastic Four (titled Fantastic 4 on the DVD/Blu-ray release) is a 2005 superhero film based on the Marvel Comics comic Fantastic Four. It was directed by Tim Story, and released by 20th Century Fox. This is the second live-action Fantastic Four movie to be filmed. The previous attempt, a B-movie produced by Roger Corman only for the purpose of retaining the film rights, was never intended for a theatrical release.

The film was released in the United States on July 8, 2005. It was the third superhero film of the year, after Elektra and Batman Begins.

Marvel Comics' first family of superherodom, the Fantastic Four, hits the big screen in a light-hearted and funny adventure. It begins when down-on-his-luck genius Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd,Horatio Hornblower) has to enlist the financial and intellectual help from former schoolmate and rival Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon,Nip/Tuck) in order to pursue outer-space research into human DNA. Also on the trip are Reed's best friend, Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis,The Shield); his former lover, Sue Storm (Jessica Alba,Dark Angel,Sin City), who's now Doom's employee and love interest; and her hotshot-pilot brother, Johnny Storm (Chris Evans,Cellular). Things don't go as planned, of course, and the quartet becomes blessed--or is it cursed?--with superhuman powers: flexibility, brute strength, invisibility and projecting force fields, and bursting into flame. Meanwhile, Doom himself is undergoing a transformation.


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Cast: Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Kerry Washington, Gina Holden, Kevin McNulty, Ioan Gruffudd, David Richmond-Peck, Nicole Muñoz, Tony Alcantar, David Parker, Dave Holmes, Peter Bryant, Brian Deegan, Leonard Thomas, Stan Lee, Daniel Bacon, Andrew Airlie, Doug Abrahams, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon, Hamish Linklater, Laurie Holden, Maria Menounos, Penelope Corrin, Aonika Laurent, Paul Belsito, Morgan Reynolds, Danielle Dunn-Morris, Bobbi Bysouth, Marlaina Mah, Tre Verhoeven, Juanita Mirehouse, Stefanie Singer, Jamie Little, Barbara Christabella, Sanja Banic, Jason Kaufman, Preston Peet, Steven Fulani Hart, Maurice Tyson, Jaimie Mcvittie, Jenni Squair, Lia Salmond, Ellen Ewusie, Ylenia Aurucci, Michelle Kulas, Kate Mullan, Georgia Dewson, Sienna Rose, Hector A. Leguillow, Benedict Mulroney, Jon Brady, Taryn Winter Brill, Sara Edwards, Heidi Eng, CB Hackworth, Sam Hallenbeck, Mike Waco, Marian Etoile Watson, Richard Ho, Andrew Hunsaker, Taylor Johnson, Bonnie Laufer-Krebs, Lisa Fuller Magee, Bret Martin, Liam Mayclem, Scott Patrick, Shaheem Reid, Maria Salas, Devon Soltendieck, Anthony Toscano, Terry David Mulligan, Kenny Bartram, Sam Rubin, Patrick Stoner, Lorena Gale, Jason Schombing, Michael Kopsa, Colin Lawrence, Mark S. Allen, Douglas Weston, Brenda Crichlow, Jim Ferguson, Peggy Gormley, Ed Hodson, Deejay Jackson, Ron Chartier, G. Michael Gray, Ronnie Renner, Donavon Stinson, Bethann Schebece, Jason Diablo, Jennifer Lothrop, Pascale Hutton, Louise Lemoine Torres, Lauren Sanchez, John Speredakos
Director: Tim Story
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: July 8, 2005
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: December 6, 2005
Runtime: 1hr 46min
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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