Sunday, July 10, 2005

ZMG's Review of Fantastic Four

A lot of critics are comparing this movie with the excellent portrayal of Batman in Batman Begins. However, Fantastic Four has never been that dark a comic*, so the intense level of drama has never been there. So its not really that fair of a comparison. This movie could easily be regarded as a family movie.

This, unfortunately, means that the plotline would be too simple for anyone over the age of 8.

The characters are very simplistic - which is ok since, outside Chiklis, the actors can't act - and no one is that deep, including the film's biggest disappointment, Doctor Victor Von Doom. Arguably Marvel comic's greatest villain is flattened, in this film, into a very cookie cutter role with absolutely no menace in his voice at all. Listening to Doctor Doom plot was like listening to Mr Rogers talk about a bad day at the office. Also the character has been given some very similar background story elements as compared to the Green Goblin in the movie Spider-Man. In Spider-Man, the Green Goblin lives in a green-roofed mansion on top of a large skyscraper. In Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom also lives in a green-roofed mansion on top of a large skyscraper. In Spider-Man, the Green Goblin's alter-ego's company falters and his investors kick him out so the Green Goblin kills them. In Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom's company falters and his investors pull out so Doctor Doom kills the leader of them. Both villains try to make a partnership with their respective adversaries before trying to kill them. Both villains approach their adversaries with a 'sadistic choice' that will ultimately define their true path and destiny as heroes.

The other problem, as I've mentioned before, is the plotline is very, very simple. Doctor Doom's ulitmate plan doesn't get much deeper than 'get them' and feels like it comes from a half hour saturday morning cartoon show. The science involved in Doctor Doom's attack on the Fantastic Four and vice versa is elementary at best and apparently neither Doctor Doom nor Mr Fantastic are intelligent enough to come up with anything better in a crisis. The final resolution is so simple that it doesn't even qualify as deus ex machina.

There are also a couple of medium-sized plotholes in the movie. The first one deals with Ben Grimm's second transformation into the Thing. In the storyline, Mr Fantastic creates a machine that can reverse and apparently un-reverse the process of the gaining fantastic powers by bathing people in energies similar to the cosmic storm. But in order for it to work, he needs more power than he is able to generate himself. Doctor Doom comes in and is able to give the machine power through his own energy and the Thing is transformed back into Ben Grimm. The plothole occurs when Ben Grimm decides to go back and is somehow able to transform back without the aid of Doctor Doom's added power boost. The second plothole is at the end, Doctor Doom is apparently able to be picked up and transported back to Latveria without any kind of red tape involved. A minor plot hole, but enough of one to make me scratch my head.

Highlights of the film:
  • Jessica Alba in a skin tight outfit
  • Jessica Alba in her bra and panties
  • An army of robo-bimbos with about as much acting talent as any other actor in the film surrounding Johnny Storm at all times to help the male members of the audience forget how much Chris Evans can't act.
Final Grade: C- Dropped from a C for using the Wilhelm scream twice.

*The only time Fantastic Four was a decent dark comic was when Marvel Mangaverse came out and Reed Richards was portrayed as a chauvinistic, sexaholic scientist who only used his ability in the sack and to increase the number of neural connections in his brain when boosts of raw intelligence were needed while the other three members' abilities were augmented so they could each control a 100' humanoid version of themselves. Jonatha Storm piloted a giant being of fire, Sioux Storm piloted a giant being of invisible force, and Benjamin piloted a giant being of rock, metal and assorted pieces of rubble.

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