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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.5%
Worth A Look: 10%
Average: 20.5%
Pretty Bad: 22%
Total Crap43%

16 reviews, 104 user ratings

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Fantastic Four (2005)
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by Scott Weinberg

"Fantastic Snore / Chore / Bore / Spoor -- Take your pick."
2 stars

There's just no excuse for failing a test when you've been given all the answers ahead of time. All it takes is one half-glance towards "Spider-Man," "X-Men," and "Batman Begins" to figure out the superhero formula: Give the audience an actual foundation of heart, drama, and character -- and you're halfway to making an excellent superhero flick. The precedents have been set and the results are crystal-clear. Apparently none of these memos have made their way into the "Fantastic Four" production office.

There's a bona-fide laundry list of things that are wrong with Fantastic Four: the acting is almost completely atrocious across the board, the screenplay is a mawkish and uncomfortable collection of corny gags and painful exchanges, the direction could be charitably described as "the pinnacle of all things pedestrian," the pacing is all off, the characters are boring and dry ... and about a half-dozen other missteps.

But the biggest problem is that Fantastic Four is as boring as it is hopelessly silly. That's not to say that every superhero movie must be overstuffed to the gills with wall-to-wall action mayhem; the key is to balance the talky bits with the flashy spectacle, while both sections of the film manage to actively engage an audience. Not only does Fantastic Four boast a meager two action sequences (both of which are pretty darn laughable), but the "in-between" stuff is sitcom fodder all the way ... when it's not trying to be a fluffy little soap opera story.

Here's the gist: A scientist, a girl scientist, a sidekick, a pilot, and a billionaire shoot themselves into space so they can collect samples from a glowing red cloud of some sort. It's their hope that said cloud particles can do wonderful things for humankind, so off they go. The cloud reacts differently than previously anticipated, and our five goofy pals find themselves packing some newly rejiggered DNA strands.

Our "leader" becomes a man who can stretch his body like Silly Putty. The girl scientist gets to do the Claude Rains schtick -- and yes, she must be naked to be entirely invisible. The hotshot pilot becomes a human ball of flame, and the lunky sidekick guy gets turned into a giant rock-man thing. Ah, and the billionaire turns into (all together now!) an evil arch-villain with a grudge and metallic skin.

The next 80 minutes consist of these five idiots running around, whining about their bizarre new powers, staring into microscopes, courting the media, and participating in oh-so-adorable musical montages in which Rubber Man fetches toilet paper from another room (without leaving his toilet!) while the grouchy rock-man gets smeared with shaving cream.

Let's just be kind and say that what works in the classic Marvel comic book series does not translate well to the big screen. And that's an understatement on par with "Hey that Grand Canyon's kinda big, ain't it?" While it's clear that the stunningly out of his league director Tim Story was shooting for a light and amiable little chestnut of a superhero story, the result is a movie so dull, so goofy, and so damn poorly written that it all but erases thoughts of charitable criticism from one's arsenal.

This is a pretty damn bad movie. F4 starts out on the wrong foot entirely by giving Jessica Alba a role that requires actual speaking. Yeah, I can plainly see what assets she can bring to a movie -- but this girl is one woefully under-talented actress. (Buy a box of M&M's on your way into Fantastic Four, and eat one (1) candy every time Ms. Alba offers a new facial expression. You'll be going home with a mega-full box of M&M's, trust me.) As the wishy-washy whine-box that is the "leader" of a new superheroic crime-fighting team, Ioan Gruffuud is simply overwhelmed by the ineptitude surrounding him. Want proof that a gifted actor can look like a talentless dolt just by signing on for the wrong project? Look no further, because his performance here basically redefines the word "wood." As the fiery rebel boy, Chris Evans spits out his stock snark with some color and personality, while poor Mike Chiklis is buried beneath one of the silliest costumes since that blue freaky thing in The Fifth Element.

It's been widely reported that Fantastic Four, during its exceedingly lengthy gestation period, saw the entrance and exit of several directors (Chris Columbus, Peter Segal, Raja Gosnell, Peyton Reed, and Brian Helgeland among them) and the frenzied assistance of dozens of screenwriters. OK, that's not that big a deal, really. Lots of big-budget movies, both very good and very bad, go through long and painful conceptions. But in the case of Fantastic Four, one just has to wonder: With so many talented and creative people pitching in over the course of about ten years ... how is it that the final product looks, feels, and tastes so stomach-turningly undercooked? Credited screenwriters Michael France and Mark Frost have done some darn fine work in the past, so perhaps they're not the ones to blame for dialogue like:

"When will you stop treating me like a child?"

"When you stop acting like one!"

I suspect that the blame for the borderline disaster that is Fantastic Four will fall directly upon the shoulders of director Tim Story -- and that's just not fair, really. Astute movie fans from around the globe knew it from the outset: "Um, no offense to Mr. Story, but how can you give a movie like Fantastic Four to a guy who directed 1. A dialogue-driven ensemble comedy (Barbershop), 2. One of the worst car-chase comedies of all time (Taxi), and 3. Nothing else at all? Mr. Story is not a visionary young comics geek like Bryan Singer, nor is he a genre-loving mad genius like Sam Raimi. He's a rather bland director-for-hire who got stuck swimming in the deep end of the pool.

I say the blame for the hilarious turkey that is Fantastic Four should rest firmly on the scalps of the Fox executives who just had to get the movie ready by July of 2005. Didn't matter if the special effects were done (because they sure don't look it), if the actors were even delivering the appropriate line readings, or if the screenplay was one of the most unintentionally amusing things ever set down on paper. Fox just wanted that summertime tentpole flick -- and here it is. Basically, a very difficult project somehow ended up as a flimsy little rush job, and trust me, it shows.

Charitable food-for-thought: I'll go on record with the opinion that Marvel's "Fantastic Four" comic book makes for a fairly unfilmable project. No matter how "faithfully" you try to adapt these characters for the big screen, I'd contend that the end result would look pretty darn ridiculous -- and I believe the flick's checkered history effectively illustrates this opinion. But that doesn't mean one should automatically forgive a final product this outrageously clueless. Instead of simply dismissing the project as unfit for cinematic adaptation, the studio folks trudged greedily forward, hoping that the current superhero craze would afford this gawky, misshapen mass at least one weekend of popularity. Frankly, they should have shelved the concept long ago and never looked back.

Every movie geek in the world knows that there was a previous movie version of "Fantastic Four." It was made on the (very) cheap in a (very) big hurry by Lord of Schlock Roger Corman. Despite the fact that Corman's version has never been released in any (legitimate) form, I've actually seen it, and I can tell you that it's a very bad film indeed. But here's what's scary: Corman slapped his "Fantastic Four" together for under 2 million bucks. This swanky new version cost over $110 million -- and it's just. as. stupid.

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originally posted: 07/08/05 14:07:02
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User Comments

12/29/17 morris campbell cheesy crap 1 stars
8/05/10 Dr.Lao Could have done with less angst and more action. Oh yeah, and Doom was a huge misfire. 3 stars
8/21/08 The Dork Knight I actually liked Dr Doom despite what everyone says 2 stars
8/07/08 Shaun Wallner This movie was funny!! 5 stars
6/22/08 David V Not good...not good at all. 2 stars
9/26/07 dude yawn 1 stars
7/17/07 MaDmAN Nice looking movie, i liked the villain just too much whining and moaning 4 stars
6/20/07 mr.mike not bad at all (on video).... 4 stars
6/06/07 Blizz POOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
5/24/07 Tracey Chambers boring, ugly, and stupid 1 stars
5/24/07 action movie fan disappointing adaption of very good marvel comic superheros 3 stars
5/15/07 967 What a horrible movie, they try to get get rid of their powers the whole film. WTF? 1 stars
3/20/07 dude crud 2 stars
2/22/07 johnnyfog I liked Dr Doom, but that's about it. Still better than Superman Returns 2 stars
2/20/07 Angie OMG!! How did this ever happened. Not saying it's the end of the world, but seriously. 1 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega It's like reading a comic book. 3 stars
11/27/06 Austin Wertman A BIT OF A BORE. TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 stars
11/03/06 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 3 stars
10/17/06 Anthony Feor This movie and X-Men 3 should never have been made 1 stars
10/08/06 ed terrible on just about every level 1 stars
9/19/06 bullit16 So bad, on so many levels 1 stars
9/02/06 Tricia Not perfect, but not entirely horrible either, IMO.I 4 stars
6/23/06 George It was okay, but The story is undeveloped. 3 stars
5/03/06 Cuenzie Wunzie It's a Joke, right? 1 stars
4/06/06 Fred WOW ! very informative ...and i like those pics of ur nephew , so cute !! can see that u pu 5 stars
4/02/06 JM Synth Not as annoying as it looked from the trailers 3 stars
2/23/06 Indrid Cold Not very good, but neither was SpiderMan, and everyone liked that for some reason. 3 stars
1/29/06 Quigley This movie is so, so bad. it makes the hulk look like a movie worth watching. 1 stars
1/08/06 Jim Not as bad as I expected. Is that praise? 3 stars
1/03/06 AM It sucked! I'm so glad I'm not American. I was a little ambivalent about the comics, but 1 stars
12/30/05 tony BORING!! Why was this movie made? Marvel comics is going down the drain 1 stars
12/24/05 The Grinch Chiklis and McMahon are good, Ian's wasted, Alba can't act, enternaing enough I guess 3 stars
12/08/05 tatum Christ, Stan Lee, sell the rights to your grocery list, too 3 stars
12/05/05 WSH One of the worst movies ever made! 1 stars
11/30/05 Jeff Anderson The worst superhero film to date & I've SEEN Albert Pyun's boring as hell CAPTAIN AMERICA!! 1 stars
11/29/05 Ming Jessica Alba and the spectacular visual effects save this from being a disaster. 3 stars
11/24/05 Angela Renee Garrett I totaly agree with you Mel 1 stars
11/10/05 Erik Van Sant Took a Fantastic concept and shit all over it. Avoid like the plague. 1 stars
11/09/05 Stan L good efx, but not much of story, rent Xmen1or2, Batman, or Spiderman 1or2 instead 2 stars
11/06/05 Angela Garrett I totally agree with Mel Valetine ON Fantastic Four 2 stars
11/01/05 PAG OK, decent film. 3 stars
10/27/05 deadwiz Should and could have been so much better! 3 stars
10/27/05 chris a very poor film indeed a waste of my time and money at the cinema 1 stars
10/12/05 Quigley if it had made like batman begins it would havce rocked, but story didn't watch Incredibles 1 stars
9/20/05 alexander somarriba okay 4 stars
9/19/05 Jonathon Holmes Tim Story should watch "Batman Begins" and hang his head in shame 1 stars
8/18/05 green gremlin Rent the "Xmen" DVD instead !!! 1 stars
8/15/05 .:*paris*:. i was expecting something fantastic but quite dissapointed,but certainly entertaining and f 4 stars
8/11/05 Rob S. Why didn't they follow the original story? Victor Von Doom was not a rich businessman. 2 stars
8/11/05 ES Story should have watched the incredibles and then went back to the drawing board on this 3 stars
8/09/05 jada so bad my 10yr old asked to leave, which i gladly agreed 1 stars
8/07/05 Aaron McGraw Poor camera work, they spent more time fighting one another than the mediocre badguy. 3 stars
8/03/05 Brandy Harrington The only comic book movie that is worse than this crap, is Batman & Robin. 1 stars
8/03/05 Quigley Not engaging like spider-man, and mostly not funny. watch something else, please 3 stars
8/03/05 Clatz Absolute pants 1 stars
8/01/05 Helen Greatest Comic book brought onto the big screen. 5 stars
7/30/05 Anders Torp Maybe even a worse disaster than "The Hulk" (if that's possible). 1 stars
7/30/05 PK Chris Evans is on fire! If he'd keep his shirt off the whole movie, I'd give more stars. 3 stars
7/29/05 Moctezuma More of a monstrosity than an actual film 1 stars
7/25/05 M i just wasted 2 hrs of my life!!!! 1 stars
7/24/05 Snakeboy Lots of gaps in the story but still fun 4 stars
7/23/05 Duffyboy666 SHIT! 1 stars
7/22/05 Quigley good special effects cannot save this movie. it had potential and it failed 3 stars
7/21/05 William Vollmer not bad; not great between xmen & Hulk 3 stars
7/21/05 leta Marshall I loved it ! 5 stars
7/19/05 FFlovr u critic hacks! this movie is ure gold, this instantly became my favorite movie 5 stars
7/19/05 Brandy Harrington Damn, this was worse than HULK. 1 stars
7/19/05 fernando thisw movie is bull shit and fuking movie 1 stars
7/18/05 Dave It could've been better, but it had enough fun moments. 4 stars
7/18/05 Matt Thiel Much better than Catwoman. If you want to see F4, do NOT pay to see it!!! 2 stars
7/17/05 John Bell Sometimes we have to set our high sensiblities aside as ask ourselves: did I enjoy the film 4 stars
7/15/05 tony What a rip off. I should have rented Speed 2. At least i would have enjoyed that. 1 stars
7/15/05 B.E. Total garbage. 1 stars
7/14/05 Anus FANTASTIC BORE! Too much whiny drama, not enough action 2 stars
7/13/05 DK i don't pay to hear slogans from bad refund of ticket. 1 stars
7/13/05 Tim O! I actually liked the film. I like the friend/family story line. 4 stars
7/13/05 C.E. Can comic book movies get any worse? 1 stars
7/13/05 Peter Griffin There's no reason for a superhero movie to be this lousy. 1 stars
7/12/05 Ole Man Bourbon Pretty bad, but I've seen worse 3 stars
7/12/05 Jorge Lizarazo Good movie, brings the F4 to life. 4 stars
7/12/05 Robin Lent Fantastic Four is far better than the reviews by maintream media 4 stars
7/11/05 Uncle Salty How about... Duuuuuuuuuuuuuh! 1 stars
7/11/05 KELLEN MATHERS Not enough action, unless you count setting up a sequel 2 stars
7/11/05 8=====D shitty just like the comic 1 stars
7/11/05 Peteca It's great dude!~5 origins in one! You can't ask for more! Go see it!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
7/11/05 Naka Sucked ass. 1 stars
7/11/05 Burt Ward It's okay, you should see Batman Begins instead though 3 stars
7/11/05 FFFan Holy Crap, not horrible, but not quite mediocre either 2 stars
7/10/05 Lord Jiggy It doesn't cure cancer...not bad for light fun.. Lame story, decent work on characters 4 stars
7/10/05 Dustin Low expectations though made for more enjoyment. Seriously, it wasn't that bad. 4 stars
7/10/05 Charlene Javier It's not as bad as it sounds. 3 stars
7/10/05 Brian chiklis shouldn't be wasting his time on this crap... 1 stars
7/09/05 Dan I don't know what movie you all watched. This was better than Spiderman. 5 stars
7/09/05 RoyAgain The End of the Marvel Era 2 stars
7/09/05 Derek I love my 1985 buick better than this movie!!!! 1 stars
7/09/05 Genericus I really liked it! All these reviews are anti-hype 5 stars
7/09/05 Moctezuma Fantastic Flop 2 stars
7/09/05 BrianWilly I actually really liked it. People need to stop being such snobs. 5 stars
7/09/05 Johnnybgoode Humorous. I found it a welcome relief from this year's consistently dark, tragic fare. 4 stars
7/09/05 Kristina Williams straight up doodoo 1 stars
7/09/05 malcolm better than i expected. alba's gorgeous but should really work on her acting skills. 3 stars
7/08/05 Ray Anyone could see this coming. 1 stars
7/08/05 Sugarfoot All of a sudden Roger Corman doesn't look to bad now. 1 stars
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  08-Jul-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 05-Jun-2007



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