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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 Erik Childress

"Flame-On Indeed. It’s That Gay!"
1 stars

There are so many angles with which I could begin my review of the latest incarnation of Marvel’s Fantastic Four. I could comment on the failed Roger Corman production which remains a buried debacle except for blurry convention bootlegs. The increased fear of hiring a director whose last films involved barber conversations and Jimmy Fallon as a cop. Or even the conversation I was having with my colleagues about a straight-to-video company, which after seeing Fantastic Four, I am convinced will not only make their own spoof, but a film more worthy of our expectations. All comic book properties on deck – you must take five steps back.

Any film based on this group is somehow destined to fail on the big screen from the start. Considering that even the Cannon boys managed to make scandalous versions of Captain America and The Punisher (not to mention competing Lambada movies), why is it that the Fantastic Four was thrown to the wolves? Lawsuits and bad blood aside, on an audience level its easier to believe suited avengers with limited powers than the silliness inherited by these B-level superheroes.

When considering the other characters we’ve accepted with extraordinary powers, there’s at least a modicum of reality in the leap of faith we’re expected to take. Peter Parker gets bitten by a radioactive spider, he is fronted with spider-like abilities. Bruce Banner takes a gamma ray bath and his pent-up rage turns him into a huge green monster with enormous strength. In Fantastic Four, we must go along with a solar storm in space mutating five people with completely different results. The brilliant Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd, in the blandest lead performance ever in a superhero flick) becomes a human piece of elastic. His ex-girlfriend, Susan Storm (Jessica Alba, who looks hot in polyalloy, or whatever the blue suits are made of, and not much else) is able to bend light and become invisible. Her thrill-seeking brother, Johnny (Chris Evans, the only performance with any life to it) transforms into a human torch and Reed’s best friend, Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) turns into a walking block of orange rock known as The Thing. If you’ll allow me to quote George Carlin here for a moment – “WHY?????

Such a question must be sacrilege amongst the countless F4, Marvel and DC aficionados out there so I won’t dwell on it, but c’mon, at least acknowledge the elemental connection of Earth-Air-Fire-Water. The screenplay’s best attempts at wit include such pre-mutated quips as “Reed Richards, always reaching for the stars” and Ben’s response to how he feels after the incident, “Solid.” Writers Michael France and Mark Frost have not done the foursome any favors by drenching them in a confused, cartoonish script, let alone one a few weeks removed from Batman Begins, arguably the best comic book screenplay to date.

Granting the Fantastic Four their powers, the approach France and Frost have gone with is to treat them as some kind of plague that Reed must work on to vanquish (manifested briefly as a fear of aging with hair either graying or falling out.) But with the exception of Grimm’s state, there is not a plausible bit of anguish explored on the part of the other three on why they would be dissatisfied with their newfound abilities. Worse even is that their barely seems to be any wonder or joy (except for Johnny) with what they are able to do. Consider Tobey Maguire leaping like a little kid over buildings or the freedom of the Hulk, unleashing his innermost frustration in a thunderous trek across the desert. What does Mr. Fantastic do? Well, he’s able to reach for toilet paper in the other room while he’s on the crapper.

The only tortured souls here are anyone forced to sit through this overextended origin tale hoping that some depth, or God forbid, some action is going to come along to rescue the film back to a stage of average mediocrity. All of the conflicts feel like forced necessity rather than embraced to enhance the action. Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon) is an afterthought, trimmed of a far more interesting backstory to become a slowly (and I mean SLOWWWWWLLLLLYYYYY) evolving villain with a Norman Osborn motivation into true evil who is only around to provide a fight for the third act. The ONLY fight. And a LAME fight at that. The rest of what constitutes for action is a sloppily put together bridge sequence where the four get to use their powers together (and tell me precisely what Susan does with hers), and a pair of tacked-on Johnny bits involving snowboarding and extreme motorcycling. I shudder to use the word extreme to describe any portion of this film.

There’s not a viable emotion in any of the film’s love-hate relationships. The Reed-Susan-Victory triangle is flimsy enough to make cynics feel they were too hard on Katie Holmes’ character in Batman Begins. But it’s Ben Grimm who contributes to the film’s two giant headsmacking bits of contemptible stupidity. After becoming the poor man’s Hulk (a feat that the movie shamefully doesn’t even have the balls to show), Ben confronts his loving wife with his affliction and she, not surprisingly, runs off in terror. The next morning, after the bridge conflict is over, there she is showing up on the bridge (presumably on foot) to leave her wedding ring there. This is beyond silly, but pales when The Thing meets the (next) woman of his dreams in a bar. To F4 fans, this woman is Alisha, daughter of the Puppet Master (a villain we will never see once the box office grosses come back on this one). She is blind, which means she can’t see the horror of The Thing and launches into one of those “I know what it’s like to be shunned” speeches that screenwriters love to write to legitimize the growth from pain and isolation. Oh yeah, and since she’s played by Kerry Washington, she’s also black. So she’s a blind, black woman, a trifecta of minority discrimination and clobberin' time on the metaphor front. Hey Ben, you’ve got unlimited strength so you’re not quite Rocky Dennis and as played by Chiklis, let the argument begin as to which version is a bigger walking rock.

Director Tim Story clearly has little to work from with such a dim and depthless script, but he adds precisely zero pizzazz to even the briefest of action moments and proves what fans always feared in that he was absolutely the wrong person to hire for the job. After this, Daredevil and Elektra, hopefully someone at Fox is now sweating their decision in hiring Brett Ratner to helm X-Men 3 and will get into the now of hiring A-listers like Sam Raimi, Ang Lee, Christopher Nolan and regret not waiting for Bryan Singer to finish his Superman gig. Fantastic Four joins the ranks of Catwoman and Elektra, falls below even the likes of Batman and Robin and The Punisher (the Thomas Jane OR Dolph Lundgren versions) and all involved should be ashamed of actually inviting comparisons to the shelved Roger Corman adaptation.

Here’s hoping that the folks at Seduction Cinema, the company behind such titles as The Erotic Witch Project, Lord of the G-Strings, Spiderbabe and Kinky Kong) will look at Fantastic Four and with their limited budget answer many of the questions we have about the full stretchy and rock-hard abilities of Reed & Ben, the true orientation of a motorcycle-ridin’ playboy who likes to yell “Flame On!” and precisely what Invisible Girl looks like once she must dump all of her clothes. (Jessica Alba again only makes it down to her skivvies, in her second comic book appearance of the year after Sin City, where nudity would have made more sense.) Darian Caine, Misty Mundae and Julian Wells – we give you the five finger salute. Tim Story – you only get one finger.

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originally posted: 07/08/05 15:04:44
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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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