§ July 12th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

I managed to see the Fantastic Four movie Monday night, and after a day of attending to real-life adult responsibilities, it came as a welcome diversion. Your spoiler-free review: light and amusing adventure that doesn’t tax the brain, with some entertaining character interaction (particularly between Thing and the Human Torch), and, though the climatic battle seems to wrap up just a little too quickly, overall it’s not quite as bad as everyone was fearing. It’s no classic, by any means, but it’s a perfectly acceptable popcorn movie. Catch a matinee.

And now…THE SPOILERS – skip ahead if you don’t wanna know:

  • Let’s get the biggie out of the way…as much razzing as I’ve given the new Thing costume, it actually turned out not to be all that bad. The hands in particular were nicely done, as were the scenes in which Ben tries to do normal human activities with his newly deformed physique. And he did elicit a lot of sympathy from the audience, such as when he gave that terrible sad-sack look when he realized he was too heavy for the Baxter Building’s elevator and had to take the stairs. That got quite a few “aaaaaaaw“s.
  • On the other hand, the stretching effects for Mr. Fantastic never quite worked for me. Nor for the audience I was with, it appeared…there was a lot of laughing at, not with, the various uses of the stretching powers. Well, it was kind of funny-looking, to be honest. That shot of Reed falling off the building, his rubbery stretched-out arms flailing about, was right out of the comics. The more subtle uses, as during his proposal to Sue, worked more for me.
  • Chris Evans was a lot of fun as the Human Torch, as you’ve been hearing, and his semi-friendly adversarial relationship with the Thing was probably the one element of the film most like the comics. I probably could have done without the Thing patting Torch on the shoulder at the end of the film and saying “you done good, kid.” Cliche-sense, tingling!
  • Okay, so I realize there’s no love lost between Reed and Doom. However, when Doom visits Reed at his lab, where Reed is studying the affects of the cosmic radiation on everyone’s bodies, wouldn’t it have occurred to Reed to ask, “say, Victor, you were hit by the same radiation we were…are you showing any unusual symptoms”?
  • Speaking of Doom, it doesn’t really bother me that they changed his origin and suddenly gave him super electrical powers. I do like that, after a fashion, they sorta/kinda borrowed Jack Kirby’s concept that Doom wasn’t as horribly burned and scarred as everyone thought, but, due to his vanity, just covering one tiny scar with his metal mask. Yes, I know he’s more than just a little scarred by the time he puts on the mask in the film, but it seems pretty clear that vanity is the basis of that decision as well. Of course, he’s certainly scarred now, due to the firestorm he was caught in at the end of the film.
  • It was kind of convenient that the citizens of Latveria just happened to send him a wearable metal mask as a display piece, wasn’t it? Then again, judging by the giant “Our Tribute to Foreshadowing” statue of Doom from the beginning of the film, maybe that kind of heavy-industrial style of art is all the rage in that country.
  • During the Fantastic Four’s first public appearance…everyone in the crowd did realize that the Thing was responsible for all the mayhem on the bridge, right? So the FF are heroes for cleaning up their own mess, I guess.
  • So Reed built a machine that was able to strip the Thing of his mutation, reverting him back to Ben Grimm, if only after Doom was able to supply sufficient power. All Reed has to do is rebuild the machine, pump up the power source, and, bam, we’ve got Grimm again. When this is brought up at the end of the film, the Thing just sort of shrugs it off. Of course, he has Alicia under his arm, and as you all know from reading your old Fantastic Four, the Thing fears that Alicia only loves him as the Thing, and would abandon him should he ever revert back to to normal. So, of course, he would resist any new attempt at Reed curing him.

    Hey, sure, why not.

  • I wonder if Jessica Alba felt as silly as she looked when she was striking some of her “now I’m using my force field power” poses. However, when she first appeared on the space station in her skin-tight uniform, you could hear audible intakes of breath from men all over the theatre. Not from me, though…I’m not a sexist pig that objectifies women. Plus, my girlfriend would’ve clocked me one.
  • Did I really see an autographed photo of Devo on the bureau in the room Sue was using at Reed’s lab?

END OF THE SPOILERS. You didn’t cheat and peek, did you?

So, again, not absolutely terrible, and perhaps the inevitable sequel will smooth over some of the rough spots. Of course, I expect a potential third movie would only prove the “two okay installments per superhero movie franchise” rule.

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