Directed by Tim Story
Starring Ioan Gruffud, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Chris Owens, and Julian McMahon.
Ahh, it’s just not summer anymore without the latest Marvel comics movie adaptation. Let’s take a moment to award some medals to the Marvel films. The Spider-Man and X-Men films take the gold. Daredevil and Hulk go home with the silver. Elektra and The Punisher limp home with the bronze. Where, then, does Marvel’s first family rank?
There’s a cosmic storm heading towards Earth, and Reed Richards (Gruffud) desperately wants to study it. So, with his best buddy Ben Grimm (Chiklis), Richards goes to his old college buddy Victor Von Doom (McMahon), who’s now a cold-hearted millionaire. Von Doom, you see, has a space station that Richards wants to use. Von Doom says yes, and puts together the rest of Richards’ team: Sue Storm (Alba), the chief geneticist of Von Doom Industries and Richards’ old flame, and hotshot pilot Johnny Storm (Owens), and Von Doom himself. They go into space, get bombarded with cosmic rays, and come home altered. Richards is now all stretchy, Sue can turn invisible, Johnny can light himself on fire, and Ben turns into a great stone behemoth; something which causes him great emotional pain. But, a few accidents later where they get to use their powers, and they become media darlings. Von Doom, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well. He’s also being changed; his body turning to metal. As the fortunes of the “Fantastic Four” rise, the Von Doom empire starts to fall, and Doom blames one man: that accursed Richards. Before long, we’re poised for a showdown: The Fantastic Four vs. Dr. Doom.
Fantastic Four rates a solid silver: a lot of the favourite elements are there, but it’s not quite firing on all cylinders. Owens and Chiklis are spot-on perfect as the Human Torch and the Thing, but Gruffud and Alba have no romantic chemistry whatsoever. One thing that it does have going for it is a sharp sense of humour. There are a lot of (intentionally) funny moments in this film that sets it apart from the other Marvel adaptations. It’s just plain fun, even if it falls short of the gold.