Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four

**

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

If Spidey is super and Batty is brill, then four superheroes must be fantastic, right? Wrong, I'm afraid.

I can't tell you how the film compares to its source - my only brush with comic books comes in the form of osmosis from my housemate, who is trying to get me hooked by leaving comics by the loo - but I can tell you that this is a pale imitation of an action movie.

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Part of the film's problem is its set-up. Almost the entire film centres on the 'discovery' of the characters' special powers. Those cosmic rays can wreak havoc with your DNA, dontcha know?

This is fine to a point, but there are only so many intercut scenes of Mr Fantastic (Ioan Gruffud) going that extra few feet with his arm for bog roll and Johnny Storm (Chris Evans, no, not the DJ) trying to get Ben Grimm's Thing (Michael Chiklis) to hit himself in the face that a person can take.

The biggest problem with this film is the direction. It's perfunctory at best. Tim Story really has no flair for action - in fact, on the strength of his previous offerings of Taxi and Barbershop, I'm unsure if he has flair in any direction. He plods the action along from one set piece to the next in crashingly dull fashion more reminiscent of a 90s TV movie than a summer blockbuster. His lack of artistry is matched only by the scoring, which surely came from Now That's What I Call A Super Hero Movie 4.

At the risk of overstating this film's failings, the special effects don't help - particularly The Thing's get-up. Hellboy - the look of whom my comic fan sources tell me was partially inspired by The Thing - looked so much more realistic in his movie outing. Despite Michael Chiklis's best efforts - and he is, without doubt, the best thing in this film and worth the second star alone - he still looks like a Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtle who's had a fight with a can of red spray paint.

Chris Evans has some spark as a human fireball but Jessica Alba might as well be invisible in real life for all the weight she brings to the role of Sue Storm, while Ioan Gruffud's Reed Richards (aka Mr Fantastic) is hampered by the script, which rivals The Thing for clompiness.

Julian McMahon steps up to the big-screen villain plate as Victor Von Doom - but, thanks to the script, he's more petulant than evil, although his make-up is the best of a bad bunch.

Comic book films have been getting sexier of late, but this is four-play without any climax.

Reviewed on: 20 Jul 2005
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Fantastic Four packshot
Cosmic rays unleash four new super heroes on the box office.
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Read more Fantastic Four reviews:

Martin Gray ****
Scott Macdonald *1/2
The Exile *

Director: Tim Story

Writer: Michael France, Mark Frost, based on the comic books by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee

Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Michael Chiklis, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Julian McMahon, Hamish Linklater, Kerry Washington, Laurie Holden, David Parker, Kevin McNulty

Year: 2005

Runtime: 106 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US

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