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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 Rob Gonsalves

"At least it's better than the 1994 version."
4 stars

Superheroes were pretty bland and flawless until 1961. That's when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced 'Fantastic Four,' the comic book that changed everything.

Here were four heroes with truly weird attributes even by comics standards: a scientist who could stretch (inspired by Jack Cole's 1940s character Plastic Man), a woman who could turn invisible, a man made of orange rock, and a young (literal) hothead who could command flame. Only the last one -- the Human Torch -- had been around before, in early Marvel comics of the '40s. Moreover, these heroes had problems; they bickered. The comic was as much about their personalities, their prickly family dynamic, as about their adventures protecting Earth against cosmic villains. For superhero fans in 1961, this was radical. A case could be made that Fantastic Four was the Elvis of comics -- the one that changed and influenced everything thereafter.

After several false starts, including a notoriously bad and unreleased 1994 film, the Fantastic Four -- stretchy Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd), transparent Sue Storm/Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba), fiery Johnny Storm/Human Torch (Chris Evans), and encrusted Ben Grimm/The Thing (Michael Chiklis) -- finally emerge as the stars of their own big-budget blockbuster. By now, though, it's impossible for a Fantastic Four movie to be as revolutionary as the comic was. The movie is fun enough -- I enjoyed it -- and it can't help but be better than the 1994 version, which was rushed into production with a $2 million budget and looks like it cost half that. After a slew of comic-book films, including the cinematically daring Sin City, this one just breaks no new ground. Not helping matters is The Incredibles, which stole Fantastic Four's thunder.

Still, the movie more or less successfully grafts the comic's 1960s spirit to the attitudes of the 2000s. Johnny Storm, for instance, is now an adrenaline junkie, jumping into any number of "extreme sports," and it's perfectly in character for him (and Chris Evans, very aware that eyes are on him in a summer blockbuster, rises to the occasion and gives a fine comic-book performance with emphasis on the comic). The quartet's nemesis Doctor Doom (Julian McMahon) is now a suave billionaire who bankrolls the foursome's fateful space flight, accompanying them for good measure. The space-shot exposes all five crew members to radioactivity that forever alters their DNA; in Doom's case, it slowly turns his body into metal. Stan Lee tapped into a generation's fear of and fascination with radioactivity; half his hero roster (including Spider-Man, the Hulk, and Daredevil) were similarly afflicted.

The film is affable enough, though nothing much seems to be at stake. Fully half the movie is given over to who the Fantastic Four are and how they got that way, and in a 105-minute film that doesn't leave much time for actually showing those amazing superpowers in action. There's one nice extended sequence in which all four heroes work together to save a firetruck teetering off a bridge; this act wins them unwanted celebrity and the adoration of blasé New Yorkers (the Fantastic Four have always been the most beloved heroes within the Marvel universe, unlike the prejudice-hounded mutants of the X-Men, the media-derided Spider-Man, or the military-hunted Hulk). But mostly this feels like the first half of an origin story, as most other comic-book movies do, trying to reach non-fans as well as fans. Perhaps one reason why Spider-Man 2 and X2 were so satisfying was that they had the luxury of assuming everyone knew the backstory, and they were free to launch into action.

I may be in the minority in preferring a lightweight flick like this to the überserious Batman Begins, but Fantastic Four harks back to the more innocent days of comics -- the adventures I read when I was five and I thought it would be cool to hang out with the Thing or Spider-Man. Who'd want to hang out with the grim, preoccupied Batman of Batman Begins? Frank Miller's anguished, age-haunted Batman: The Dark Knight Returns struck many of us in 1986 as a revelation, but it was meant for teens and older readers, and every comic book thereafter tried to duplicate its success by turning gloomy and gritty. Do kids even find any pure escapist fun in comics these days? The movies based on comics have gotten awfully heavy with angst, too -- hell, the first X-Men movie kicked off with a flashback to Auschwitz, for Christ's sake. All of this may explain why Fantastic Four -- though I much prefer The Incredibles on this level -- made me happy even though it's nothing great or inspired.

For two hours, I was five again, sipping a coffee frappe under a tree on a summer afternoon, and reading about the Thing punching Dr. Doom through a plate-glass window.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12567&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/13/07 10:19:30
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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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