Fantastic Four (2005)

Fantastic Four (2005)

2005 | PG-13 | 106 Minutes

Action | Adventure | Science Fiction | Fantasy

During a space voyage, four scientists are altered by cosmic rays: Reed Richards gains the ability to stretch his body; Sue Storm can become invisible; Johnny Storm controls fire; and Ben Grimm is...

Overall Rating

4 / 10
Verdict: So-So

User Review

  • Fantastic Four is one cheesy foursome that rarely felt fantastic. The mid naughties was a gateway for superhero extravaganzas. ‘Spider-Man 2’ was a critical and commercial success. ‘Batman Begins‘ revolutionised dark, gritty tones found in the sub-genre. Even ‘The Incredibles’ packed enough hearty familial fun to rise above Pixar’s stratospheric bar for quality. Unfortunately though, several comic book intellectual properties, mostly those released by 20th Century Fox and based on Marvel superheroes, failed to meet this superlative standard. ‘Daredevil’ and its spin-off ‘Elektra’ are obvious candidates. However, the most disappointing production would have to be Story’s mildly entertaining adaptation of ‘Fantastic Four’.

    A team of scientist astronauts whom become enveloped in a cosmic energy cloud, granting them temperamental yet special abilities. Reed “Mister Fantastic” Richards can stretch every limb. Ben “The Thing” Grimm whom has transformed into a rock golem. Susan “Invisible Girl” Storm can turn, well, invisible and generate forcefields. Then there’s her hot-headed brother, Johnny “Human Torch” Storm, whom can generate fire and turn into a fireball. All garnering unique superpowers, yet hosting the most inexplicably dull personalities available. Bolstered by a screenplay that pretends to care for its source material by shoving as many references down the viewer’s throat as possible, Fantastic Four can only be surmised as soulless. A featureless franchise set-up.

    Story’s direction, or in this case mis-direction, is brimming with the correct ingredients. Origin stories adapted with surprising accuracy, aside from Grimm whose partner leaves him due to his new boulder-like aesthetic. Superficially inadequate, let’s be honest. Victor von “Doctor” Doom has decent development, until the inevitable third act where he is likened to an expendable piece of metal with his underdeveloped plan for vengeance foiled in just over three minutes of battling. Chiklis’ enduring makeup to realistically present The Thing is well-executed. Yet, much like any team ever in existence, the characters need to mesh their personalities together to produce works of art. That’s where the film falters, majorly.

    Story and his cast of superheroes never became one family. The distinct lack of chemistry between each protagonist was abundantly clear, with forced lines of comic book humour attempting to disguise the absent management. Reeds and Susan Storm in particular presented zero dynamic chemistry, and therefore made the entire aura of unity crumble quicker than The Thing’s hopes of resembling a normal human being again. Gruffudd lacked any sense of command, solely focusing on his intellectual capacity. McMahon as the antagonistic Doctor Doom rarely exuded menace, and really did not suit the iconic costume that was randomly worn by him. However, and this was inevitable, the biggest contributor to the feature’s weakness is Jessica Alba. She just cannot act. At all! Every single line of dialogue was delivered with a undertone of confusion, it was as if she had just woken up from a ten year coma. Where’s the sparkling romance with Gruffudd? Where’s the commitment to the cumbersome script? She might “look” the part, but damn she cannot act.

    The visual effects were hit and miss, mostly miss with Stretch Armstrong doing his plasticised rubber thing. The plot is powered by inconsistent pacing. And the only captivating individual was Washington as Alicia Masters, yet t’was all too brief and made little to no impact.

    The potential was there. Shells of characters, plot points and comic relief resides within the tedious dialogue. Unfortunately though, Story just did not know where to take this story. Personalities were buried, acting was sub-par and Story settled for dated visual effects over a compelling narrative. As mentioned previously, Fantastic Four was a soulless experience that failed to meet the rising standards within the sub-genre. “Flame on”? Flame off more like...