Fantastic Four (2005) Review

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Not so Fantastic

Fantastic Four (2005): 3 out of 10 Some comic book heroes don’t translate well to film. Daredevil was a case in point. While a blind guy wearing a cherry red leather outfit might work on the panels of a comic book, it looks silly on screen. (Not that this excuses the horrible Daredevil movie mind you) Mr. Fantastic (The stretching guy) of the Fantastic Four suffers this same fate. When he stretches it looks either disgusting (hand squeezing under the crack beneath a door) or silly (every other time he stretches.) Not that the character is helped by Ioan Gruffudd’s somnolent performance. He makes up one third of the most sleep-inducing love triangle ever filmed.

The lady in our love triangle is Jessica Alba, who looks fantastic in and out of her costume (She turns invisible when naked sorry guys. But some dutiful frame by frame DVD action will surprise the patient) but she expresses no emotion about either man (or for that matter having superpowers. But I guess looking like Jessica Alba is kind of a superpower.) The third part of our love triangle is our pseudo villain, Dr. Doom. (I say pseudo because he turns villain sometime around the closing credits in the most truncated villain performance in the history of superhero films) Dr. Doom as written for the comics is the perfect screen super villain. Which begs the question why he is barely in this movie and why he is a metrosexual evil businessman (forced to be evil because his IPO went down in price and the bank is pulling out? Which shows a remarkable lack of knowledge of how IPOs work. Should we expect the former CEO of WeWork to travel down the canyons of Manhattan shooting lighting from his fingertips any day now?) When Alba tells Gruffudd she never slept with Doom, we have to believe her. I have a hard time believing these saccharine characters go the bathroom, let alone have sex.

The other two members of the four (Evans and Chiklis) give competent if one note performances. But by the time all the introductions and back-story is completed, the movie is over. With no villain, unimaginative action set pieces and some shaky special effects, Fantastic Four is more mediocre than fantastic. Though there is that one frame of a not quite invisible Alba that is Fantastic indeed.

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