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Fantastic Four (PG)
Directed by: Tim Story
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

Over the last year or two, various snippets of information about this Marvel comic adaptation have drifted my way and with each one I've had the unfortunate feeling that the finished product would turn out to be nothing short of dreadful. Having finally seen it, I'm pleased to say it's really not as bad as I thought it would be. Sadly, it's still some way short of being any good.

Remember kids, don't play with fireworks
Remember kids, don't play with fireworks

Ioan Gruffudd (King Arthur) leads the gang of four as Reed Richards, a brilliant scientist who takes three colleagues into space to monitor the passing of a cosmic storm. However, the storm rapidly gathers speed and engulfs their spacecraft before they can carry out any experiments and it is only when they return to Earth that the tetrad discover they have developed special powers. It then emerges that their financial backer, Victor Von Doom, who was also along for the ride, has started to develop powers too. And with a name like Dr Doom (played by Julian McMahon from television's Nip/Tuck), it's understandable that he'd want to turn his powers against the Fantastic Four.

It has taken various different scribes ten years to write this film, which is commonly referred to as languishing in "development hell". Generally, any film that eventually makes it out of the mire and on to the silver screen is not much cop. In the case of this movie, I'd lay a fair portion of that blame on the source material. The fact is, watching five people have an accident in space and then independently discover that they have super powers is always going to be a long and arduous process and is every bit as predictable as the rest of the story that inevitably plays out in this film.

As I said though, it could have been worse. There are almost nine hundred special effects shots in the movie and they look very good, although not as good as Jessica Alba who is stunning as Sue Storm a.k.a. The Invisible Girl. The acting is definitely up to scratch too, especially from Ioan Gruffudd, who turns his Welsh accent into an American one flawlessly.

It's also commendable that the film takes a lot from the original episodes of the Fantastic Four comic imagined by Jack Kirby, both stylistically and in terms of story. Ultimately, the biggest downfall is that this is the archetypal comic book film and fails to present anything original or challenging to the audience, making it instantly forgettable. Bizarrely, Dr Doom is one of the few villains in a comic book film that doesn't actually seem to have any evil plans, short of rubbing out the Fantastic Four, which really makes the whole premise nothing more than a grudge match.

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Length: 106 minutes
Certificate: PG
Official Site: http://www.fantasticfourmovie.com/
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120667/
Release Date: 22nd July 2005

Top Five Rating: 50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0% (50.0%)
User Rating: 0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0% (0.0%)

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