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Overall Rating
2.12

Awesome: 4.52%
Worth A Look: 10.05%
Average: 20.6%
Pretty Bad: 22.11%
Total Crap42.71%

16 reviews, 103 user ratings


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Fantastic Four (2005)
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by W. Scott Gordon

"Lack of coherence, character motivation make this flick less than, you know"
1 stars

I was a huge comic-buff back in the day, yet I have very few “Fantastic Four” books in my collection. I realize I could get lynched for this comment, but let me just say that if this lackluster fluff is any indication, I had great taste even as a kid.

Four intrepid scientists and their business partner board a space station to investigate a mysterious cloud that may hold the secrets of the human genome. The scientists are Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), an overachiever who has a plan to use the research for the greater good; Susan Storm (Jessica Alba), Richards’ erstwhile girlfriend; Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), Sue’s ‘fiery’ younger brother; and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis), a long-time bodyguard and friend. Victor Van Doom (Julian McMahon) has the keys to the space station, a crush on Sue, and too much iron in his diet. Things don’t go as planned. They get zapped by the energy cloud, and boredom, not mayhem, ensues.

Neither sub-par special effects nor bad acting keep this latest superhero outing from being less than Fantastic (OK, one time only, I promise). These are both actually passable. Noteworthy SFX scenes include the destruction of a the space-station that alters our heroes’ DNA, turning them into all manner of stretchy, hulky, fiery, see-through freaks; some cool stuff with Johnny Storm, our resident human Zippo; and the obligatory “The Thing lifting a fire truck” type of scene. As for performances, everyone looks and acts pretty much like I remember from the old Fantastic Four comic books I didn't own, except that Reed Richards wasn't Welsh. But I digress.

What makes this movie so much less than it could have been comes down to two things: A) Lack of rules, and B) lack of stakes. It’s a comic-book movie, you say! We know the story is silly, we can suspend disbelief, you say. After all, nobody questions Spiderman’s ability to spin his web, or Superman’s ability to fly. But good fantasies have their own set of rules, their own “universe” within which certain parameters are drawn. With consistent writing, a totally bogus notion such as “Superman will faint every time he so much as sees a green rock from his home planet” can become an accepted staple of the genre. And moreover, we always know what motivates the man in tights.

Fantastic never attempts to create its own comic-book universe, let alone set rules inside it. Most of the action takes place inside laboratories, hospitals, and boardrooms, all totally lacking in character. Never good with space to begin with, I had a horrible time trying to position myself in this formless labyrinth: where on earth are our heroes supposed to be? It was only in the last scene that a certain landmark revealed the city to by New York, but even then I wasn’t sure. The action veers between the city, the aforementioned boardrooms/labs, and (I kid you not) dangerous ski-slopes in the Alps and a motor cross competition somewhere. There are no Bond-esque cues to guide us into the next locale, no linearity to speak of. Questions of how the FF are regarded by the populace of their nebulous city are barely addressed, probably because they spend most of the movie fighting amongst themselves and trying to get rid of their powers rather than using them for the greater good. Richards and Sue Storm mope around incessantly (“We have cool powers, we’re hot and in love—what a bummer”), and Ben Grimm lives the “Frankenstein Monster/Beauty & the Beast” cliché we’ve all come to despise (“It’s not easy being a big pile-o-rocks, won’t somebody please love me?”). Yawn. Johnny Storm is the only one with a handle on how awesome everything is. When Richards, all pouty-seriousness, proclaims, “I think that energy cloud may have altered our DNA,” Johnny responds in the only way possible: “Cool!” Buoyed by a media-frenzy, Johnny dubs the group “The Fantastic Four.” This anointing is the point after which, in any decent superhero flick, the heroes put aside their differences and prepare to combat the looming threat that has supposedly been building up.

But what exactly is at stake here? Even when the fickle four do get down to business, it is difficult if not impossible to tell what motivates them. Victor Von Doom’s increasingly bad disposition proves to be the only significant threat, and the reasons behind it are sketchy. Is he angry because he can’t get his hands on the company assets (I don’t get it), or is he more concerned about losing Sue Storm’s assets to Richards (I get it. Who wouldn't, but still)? Either way, Von Doom only decides to go Darth Vadar in the last twenty minutes of the movie, and since I had no idea what got him there in the first place I was less than enthused.

With neither the possibility of world domination nor a decent love story (OK, no story at all) to back it up, this one’s nothing more than a fantastic snore. OK, that makes TWO “Fantastic” jokes in one review. So sue me.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12567&reviewer=406
originally posted: 07/29/05 08:26:53
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User Comments

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
5/16/08 PAUL SHORTT NEVER GOES DEEPER THAN THE INK OF A COMIC BOOK 1 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 tv+comercials.got 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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  08-Jul-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 05-Jun-2007

UK
  N/A

Australia
  07-Jul-2005




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