Friday, July 08, 2005

Movie Review: Fantastic Four

I went into the Fantastic Four expecting the worst but hoping for the best. As a result I came out mildly entertained. There is really not much in this movie to make it great but despite it's flaws it's also not really terrible.

The biggest problem I had was that too much of the 2 hour and 3 minute run time is spent developing the relationship between Reed Richards and Sue Storm (something even the kids behind me knew was going to end up like it did) while almost every other relationship in the movie is given only a passing glance. Ben Grimm, for example, manages to break up with his fiancée and fall in love with another women in a total of three scenes, all of which were poorly written, which use up about 4 minutes of screen time. Not that I'm necessarily calling for more romance in an super hero movie but come on, when 50% of the story is about Sue and Reed's painfully obvious attraction, you'd think they could have at least given poor Ben a couple extra minutes when his personal life is in actual turmoil.

They also do a generally mediocre job of developing the overall group relationship. While most of the focus is on Johnny's rebellious showboating (which is not actually too badly done), there is a part involving Ben and Reed getting into a fight, which is a perfect example of especially lazy writing (unless you really buy the idea that Ben would instantly believe the man he most despises in the world over his best friend).

As for action, the scenes are few and far between. While the sequences where they actually use their powers are done well enough, most of the film is spent discussing their new found powers, not using them. A definite negative in a super hero movie where people are expecting action.

Overall, while I generally recommend waiting to rent Fantastic Four, the franchise shows some promise. A sequel, that would be free of the need to develop the characters from scratch, may actually be quite good. Here's hoping.

2 out of 5 (but with some signs of promise)


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