The Fantastic Four

The Fantastic Four
Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis
Studio: Fox
Rating: 6/10

CORPORATE LINE: Inventor, astronaut and scientist Dr. Reed Richards’ (Ioan Gruffudd) lifelong dream is close to being realized. He is spearheading a trip to outer space, to the center of a cosmic storm. There he hopes to unlock the secrets of the human genetic codes for the benefit of all humanity.

Extensive government grant cutbacks nearly dashed the visionary’s hopes of the historic flight, until Reed accepted a financing deal with his old college rival, Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon), now a billionaire industrialist.

Reed’s crew for the mission includes his best friend, astronaut Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis); Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), Von Doom’s director of genetic research and Reed’s ex-girlfriend; and Sue’s hot-headed younger brother, pilot Johnny Storm (Chris Evans). With benefactor Von Doom in tow, the four set off for the exploration of a lifetime.

The mission is uneventful – until Reed discovers a miscalculation of the speed of the approaching storm. Within minutes, the event threshold is upon them. The space station is engulfed by turbulent clouds of cosmic radiation which genetically transforms the crew. Their DNA is irrevocably altered…and so is their future.

Back on earth, the effects of the exposure are quickly revealed. Reed gains the ability to stretch and contort his body into any shape he can imagine and, as leader of the group, is given the name Mr. Fantastic; Sue is able to render herself invisible and to create and project powerful force fields as Invisible Woman; Johnny becomes known as The Human Torch, as he can now engulf his body in flames and take flight at will; and Ben, whose freakish transmutation is the most shocking, becomes an orange-colored, rock-like, superhumanly strong creature, The Thing.

Together, they turn tragedy into triumph and catastrophe into coalition, using their unique and formidable powers to thwart the evil plans of their now steely-eyed, iron-fisted nemesis Dr. Doom and to protect the citizens of New York City against any threat that may arise.

Astronauts. Superheroes. Celebrities. To the world, they are the Fantastic Four. To each other, they are a family.

THE GOOD: As the Thing, Michael Chiklis is great. Unfortunately he is the only member of the cast that is convincing as there character.

THE BAD: Jessica Alba might be sexy but that doesn’t mean she is going to convince anyone that she’s a scientist. The moment she is introduced as the director of genetic research the only anticipation is that it can only get worse from here. And it does.

The cast is laughable. The cast can act—they just can’t act like the Fantastic Four. Actor Ioan Gruffudd, who plays Mr. Fantastic, is given some of the worst superhero come-on lines ever.

What could possibly be more annoying than a villain with the last name of Von Doom. Perhaps they could have called him Von Sunshine and then when he turned into a villain we’d be surprised. But no, it had to be blatantly obvious.

Director Tim Story, who is known best-or-worst for Barbershop and Taxi, is out of his league with this genre of film. Story has created on hell of a mess.

FRANKLY: The Fantastic Four is going to fall somewhere between The Hulk and Batman and Robin with George Clooney. The problem is I’d rather see those movies again before getting stuck in a theater with this not-so-fabulous four. The only thing to ponder now is if it’s worse than Catwoman.

+ Charlie Craine

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