Marvel Comics' Dysfunctional Family of Super Heroes
America's favorite family of super heroes are here to battle for truth, justice, and all the fame that comes with it. Based off the popular comic book by Marvel, the movie is about five atronauts that are sent into deep space. As luck would have it, some kind of cosmic storm hits their space station, and thus granting them each their own unique abilities. However, one of the astronauts and multi-billionaire, Victor Von Doom a.k.a. Doctor Doom (Julian McMahon), who decides to use his powers for evil. Meanwhile, Reed Richards (Ioan Grufford) and the gang slowly research their newly acquired abilities and a possible cure. While others are enjoying this new found power like Johnny Storm a.k.a. The Human Torch (Chris Evans), some are misreable as it deforms their appearance like Ben Grimm a.k.a. The Thing (Michael Chiklis). As I watched this movie, it seemed like it was more Seinfeld meets the X-Men. Not to say it wasn't fun to see The Thing and Johnny fight like brothers throughout most of the movie, or to see how the romance between Susan Storm a.k.a. Invisible Girl (Jessica Alba) and Reed developed. However, the movie does tend to be bit campy at times, but it's fairly decent for what it is. Unlike Marvel's other super hero films where they try to ground the characters in some form of realism, this one's actually more upbeat and fun to watch. Indeed, not the best super hero film out there, but it's definitely entertaining.
The special effects and choreography are pretty well done, but nothing that we haven't seen before. I especially liked how they animated the Torch, when he bursted in flames, and the costume, Michael Chiklis wore, seemed rather realistic. Although, the spandex suits look rather ridiculous, but hey it's a comic book film, so what do you expect?
The humor of this movie is very much Seinfeld-ish family oriented fun. As I couldn't help but laugh at some its' light "tongue in cheek" humor, the movie is definitely one of the funniest films of its' genre. In one scene, where Johnny toys with Ben at the hospital, making him think that he's been scared, is just too hillarious to watch. It almost felt like watching two brothers going at it. Heck, even seeing Reed as he tries to swoon Susan has its' own touching moments to it.
Michael and Chris were great together as they're able to create a strong brotherly bond, in the movie. Their quarells from begining to end will make anyone intriqued to watch. From the scene where Ben throws Johnny against the wall, to where Johnny call Ben ugly at the end of the movie, will have viewers busting a gut laughing.
Unfortunately, though, that's not to say this film doesn't have its' flaws. For starters, the romance in the movie, between Reed and Susan, wasn't that potent because neither of the actors had that much chemistry together. Ioan showed hardly any real enthusiasm, for the film, as he seemed like a statue throughout most of the movie. As for Jessica, she seemed to be very charming in this movie (not to mention great looking in that spandex costume). As she was able to come off very sweet and charming, that you felt that she was in love with Reed from the way she spoke to him and soft melancholy eyes. Unfortunately, since it takes both actors, to have chemistry together, for a love story to work this one falls rather flat. Don't get me wrong, it did have its' moments like the final kiss scene or when Reed and Susan are talking out on the balcony. However, it falls short on what it could've been.
As for the villain, Dr. Doom, I thought Julian McMahon over acted, in this movie. Not only did I find his performance unconvincing, I found him to be quite lame and un-intimidating. Apart from getting the costume right, the rest of the character just seems rather weak at best. His main motivation to become a villain comes from when he gets fired, after going into space. Which is a good motivation, but I liked it better when it was used in "Spider-Man", for the Green Goblin. Don't get me wrong, there are some movies that have weak villain motives, yet they're always able to succeed with it because the movie has a great script to work with to make up for it. Take "Superman: The Movie" for instance, Lex's only motive to challenge Superman was because he stood against the moral ideals of what everything that's good. Yeah, I know that sounds fairly cheesy, but it's true. However, this is not the case for the "Fantastic Four" as this film's strength lies mostly with it's humorous content.
The story is pretty much shaky at best as it borderlines between being decent and just plain stupid.
The original family of super heroes are indeed back in business. Featuring great special effects and humor to go along with it. Overall, it may not be the best super hero film out there, but it's still fun to watch.