A good live-action adaptation, but not "Fantastic"
The M.O.W. - wrote on 08/01/08
"Fantastic Four" is a live-action adaptaion of one of the most popular titles published by Marvel Comic Group. However, this version of "Marvel's First Family" is not as "Fantastic" as their comic book counterparts.
The first thing that you can't help but notice is the special effects, The CGI is very good in this film. But sometimes, the powers of the "Fantastic Four" special effects are pretty cartoonish. One effect I was very disappointed in is the make-up for "The Thing" (Michael Chiklis, who I think was too small for this role). The comic book version of the character has a more pronounced rocky complexion. Another disappointment was the cosmic storm which gave "The Fantastic Four" and "Victor von Doom" (Julian McMahon). In fact, I think the size of the storm changed as it loomed closer to the space station
Another problem with this movie is the way the characters were depicted. I couldn't picture "Dr. Reed Richard/Mister Fantastic" (Ioan Gruffudd) becoming a blubbering idiot every time "Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman" (Jessica Alba) came into the room. Another very disappointing depiction was of "von Doom". To me, he just wasn't as villainous as he should've been. And when it comes to "Johnny Storm/The Human Torch" (Chris Evans), although he was fun to watch, he was just too over-the-top too take in big doses.
One thing that was fun to watch was very minor, and did nothing to advance the plot. What I'm talking about was the appearance of "Fantastic Four" co-creator, Stan "The Man" Lee. In previous Marvel Comic live-action movies, Lee appeared in non-speaking cameos. This time he has a small conversation with one of the main characters.
The cast does have some good chemistry, which makes this movie enjoyable to watch. In fact, their chemistry and many of the special effects helps make this movie watchable.
The producers took some creative license in this film, most notably with the origins. The most blatant was that "von Doom" was with "Dr. Richard," the "Storm" siblings and "Grimm" when they were bombarded by the storm that changed them forever. In the comic book, "von Doom" was scarred in an explosion. In the movie, his body is changed into metal. However, in the comic book he forced a group of monks to help him make a suit of armor. Also, in the comic book, the "Fantastic Four" were in a rocket, not a space station when they were hit by the cosmic storm.
The story itself is quite slow. And there isn't that much action until the final battle between "The Fantastic Four" and "von Doom". This movie was mostly to establish the characters and their origins.
Despite the problems with the film, for some reason it is pretty fun to watch. I would say that this would be a solid pick for a second choice rental if your first choice is not available.