Fantastic Four

 

The Fantastic Four was… well… fantastic! It was everything the comic is, but brought to life. Casting was exceptional. They couldn’t have found anyone who looked and acted more like Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic than Ioan Gruffudd. Reed is the distracted, quiet genius who finds himself the reluctant leader of the Fantastic Four. Michael Chiklis played the more difficult role of Ben Grimm/The Thing, who turned into a rock-man, the only one of the four who can’t turn his power on and off. I had reservations about Jessica Alba playing Susan Storm/Invisible Woman; but I have to say she did a great job as well. Susan not only plays the mothering, nurturing-role as the only female of the group, and older sister of Johnny, but she also holds her own as a brilliant scientist and powerful hero. Of the four though, I think that Chris Evans actually became Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, and did the best job of bringing his character to life. Johnny is the playboy, thrill-seeker who loves the media attention, and loves torturing Grimm in endless pranks and jokes. Victor Von Doom/Doctor Doom is played by Julian McMahon, who also does a great job as the Four’s benefactor-turned-villain.

The beginning of the movie seems a bit rushed. There are no slow parts in this movie. But I see where they needed to hurry with the events leading to the accident that changes them, just to get on with the rest of the story. Plus, with 4 people in leading roles, instead of 1 or 2, it’s harder to get into each character’s story. But with sequels already planned, they have plenty of time for more character development. This movie is mainly about how the Four get their powers, how they deal with them, and the beginning of the first super hero family.

Don’t expect the Fantastic Four movie to be like Batman Begins. The mood is completely different. Marvel takes a different approach with their comic book characters. Where DC characters, like Batman, tend to have darker stories and are more dramatic and mythological; Marvel is usually more comedic and light-hearted. The Fantastic Four is probably the funniest comic book movie ever made, without getting too cheesy. Plus it’s family aspect makes it unique as well.

The special effects for this movie were a huge challenge. Chiklis had to don a bulky rubber suit, that looked remarkably realistic as orange rock. Mr. Fantastic’s stretching was a concern of mine. I hoped it wouldn’t look too campy or cheesy. That, too, was well met. I was really impressed with all of the effects in this movie, especially The Human Torch’s fire property.

All in all, the Fantastic Four was an excellent movie and a lot of fun.

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