m a r k a n d e y a

Movie Review: Fantastic Four

Posted by Brian on August 14, 2005

After a great lunch with my girlfriend, her older sister, and her sister’s two kids, my girlfriend and I, with her 9 year-old nephew tagging along, went to the Lotte Cinema in Myungdong to see the new Fantastic Four movie.

I was never a big fan of the Fantastic Four comic when I was a kid. If I remember correctly, the only time I ever saw them in action was when they bumped into one of the groups I did follow (mainly the X-Men and Alpha Flight).  I guess I found them to be a bit too old and stuffy, like Captain America. They were old school good guys, and their schtick just didn’t grab my attention compared to Wolverine’s claws and Nightcrawler’s mysterious background. Whoever said the heroes had to be good?

But nevertheless, if it’s a new movie based on a comic book, consider me there (except in the case of Elektra). I wasn’t nearly as excited as I usually am when I see comic movies, nor were my expectations all that great. But I was happy to sit down for 90+ minutes and dive in to the world of the FF.

The verdict? Well, my girlfriend liked it (she liked The Thing the most), and her nephew liked it (Mr. Fantastic). But as for me… no. First of all, there was an astonishing lack of comic book-style fights… there was the climax at the end against Doctor Doom and one set piece on a bridge where the team toe-to-toe against an out of control fire truck and a mob of rubberneckers. That was it.  Sure, there were glimpses along the way of the four using their powers, but really, where’s the excitement in watching Reed Richards use his super-power to write on the far side of a very long blackboard? For some reason, the director and writers decided to drag out Victor Von Doom’s transformation over the course of the entire movie, so the team didn’t have much to do until he really was the evil Doctor.

The other problem was the casting of Jessica Alba as the Invisible Girl. I’m not the first to point out that that the mixed-race Alba is a poor fit for the all-American (read: blue hair, blonde eyes) super mother-figure Sue Storm. But beyond that, Alba just can’t act. Yea, she’s hot… but I’m at that age where I like to see actors in movies, not models.

(And as an aside, I’ve  never quite understood the way The Invisible Girl’s powers allow her to turn invisible and create force fields. What’s the connection? I got the impression that the latter was devised as a buff to make the IG more powerful in relation to her teammates. After all, while turning invisible might be cool for sneaking into the women’s dormitory at night, when your butting heads with the likes of Galactus, what good is it? “Uh… I turn invisible and run away.”)

Other than those two problems, the movie was just OK. I liked The Thing, and the scene where he stood his ground against the oncoming semi-truck was one of those “hell yea” scenes that give me a real kick. I thoght Ioan Gruffudd was pretty good as Mr. Fantastic (and he did look the part). Johnny Storm was more annoying than I ever remember him being in the comics (if I had Mr. Fantastic’s powers I would have reached through the screen and slapped him).

But despite the stuff I did like (Alba’s tits, The Thing), the lack of comic book-style action just killed the film for me. I’d recommend it for the die-hard comic fans out there, but if you don’t have any sort of interest in the group in its original incarnation as a comic book, save your money.

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