Fantastic Four (DVD, 2009, Widescreen; Movie Cash) Reviews

Fantastic Four (DVD, 2009, Widescreen; Movie Cash)

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More FANTASTIC than I would have expected!

Jan 19, 2006
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Surprisingly entertaining, likable main characters, good action scenes and special effects

Cons:Some "Huh?" moments, slow build-up

The Bottom Line: I'm surprised I'm recommending this, but I liked it a lot!


Laugh all you want, but I really liked Fantastic Four. Hubby and I were looking for a video last night that wasn’t too mentally taxing. He said, “It’s probably going to be disappointing, but what about Fantastic Four?” In the end, we were both pleasantly surprised and entertained by this film.

Plot Information
Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffud), Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), and Ben Grim (Michael Chicklis) are trapped in a meteor shower during a space experiment gone wrong. The result is that all four are given super powers. We now have the flammable Human Torch, the stretchable Mr. Fantastic, the disappearing Invisible Girl, and the strong (and heavy) Thing. A dramatic bridge rescue by the group results in the name “Fantastic Four.” As it turns out, however, the four aren’t the only ones who were given super powers in the meteor blast. The event also helped create their powerful enemy, Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon).

What I Liked
I don’t really like comic book type superhero movies in general. However, this one stood above the rest for me. This was partly because having four heroes allowed for some interesting character development and interactions. I especially enjoyed watching the relationship between Ben and Reed. After serving as Reed’s protector for years, Ben becomes more and more upset and frustrated as he thinks Reed is not trying his best to restore their bodies to normal based on ulterior motives. While a little cheesy, I also enjoyed the romantic interest between Reed and Sue, despite my disbelief that such a smart and attractive woman would pine over such a passive guy for two years post-breakup.

Acting in general is at least passable, and in some cases very good. I thought Michael Chicklis was probably the best of the four stars in this film, and I liked the look of him as “The Thing.” He has a complex character and managed to make me, the viewer, feel sympathy for him. Chris Evans does a good job as Johnny, adding a little levity to the film. One of the things I liked about this movie was its willingness not to take itself completely seriously all the time. Jessica Alba does a fine job as well, although I suspect she was cast largely to be the token hottie superhero.

The look of this film was very appealing to me. Particularly in the action scenes, the four characters were able to combine their powers with some very neat special effects. One such scene takes place in a wrestling match between the stretchable Reed and very strong Ben. Reed wraps himself all around Ben and uses his elasticity to essentially tie him in knots. The tense dialogue between the two combines with the neat use of super power to make a very intense scene. The film’s climax is great visually too, when the Fantastic Four combine to creatively use their powers and fight Doom.

What I Didn’t Like
There are a few moments when the film tries to get too deep and becomes silly or corny. For example, Sue constantly nags Johnny that he can’t go outside and show off his powers while Reed is trying to reverse the effects of the meteor. I commented to my husband that I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t just let him go have fun, and he thought it might be that the film is trying to create some big deep little brother/big sister conflict. Perhaps, but it wasn’t necessary to me and I didn’t really get it. Ben’s wife’s response to his turn into a superhero is also over the top and unrealistically cruel. His later romance in a bar is equally silly and contrived. Finally, I found Victor’s slide from power-hungry and irritating to completely and totally evil and murderous a little too fast to be believable.

My only other complaint is that the film drags a little at the beginning. Character development is good, but the characters don’t even understand their powers until about half way through the film.

Overall…
This film was dramatically better than I expected. Some of the recent superhero type films I’ve seen (Elektra comes to mind) have had great action scenes but have just tried to be too deep for me. This one provides some welcome lightheartedness along with plenty of action. I enjoyed its visual look and special effects, as well as the interactions between the four main characters. If there is a sequel I’ll probably watch it.


Recommend this product? Yes

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