I have to admit when I walked into the movie theatre I wasn’t expecting the world from this movie. The reviews were mixed, of course with all the negatives coming from reviewers who always shoot down “popcorn” films. Naturally, these reviewers have basked themselves in countless movies they lose the love of simple popcorn films.
Like all comic book movies, the first movie is always about teaching the audience about the superheroes and villains, how the characters gained superpowers, and how the characters adapt to life with those powers. This virtual fact guarantees first comic book films expend hefty portions of time on the character and less time on clobbering.
The ratio of humor to action that is in action and comic book films is probably a scientifically researched topic on the Hollywood lots. Ever since the dawn of the laugh track and perhaps even before then, Hollywood scientists have been feverishly using beakers, flasks, and questionable experiments on animals to solve the mystery of humor in television and film. The lab techies must have been on strike for the Fantastic Four, as I wasn’t sure if I was watching a comedy or an action/comic film.
But it worked! Unless your humor gland is completely fried from overdosing on reruns of The Beverly Hillbillies, you should walk away with at least a smirk from this film. The cure for the humor impaired: a good old dose of Monty Python followed by Weird Al’s UHF and cemented with the best of The Simpsons.
Now the one thing that can spoil popcorn comic book films is a reality. If you know a bit too much on genetics, cosmic radiation, space, chemistry or just about any science at all, your brain may ruin the film. Thus, note to self: “disengage brain when watching the film”. It’s a popcorn film people! Don’t expect a level of reality anything greater than a typical Michael Moore film!
So we’ve got The Thing, Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, and the malevolent Doctor Doom. The Thing, cleverly played by Michael Chiklis, was by far the best character of the lot. The rest were almost forgettable, and even perhaps annoying in the case of Johnny Storm/Human Torch played by Chris Evans. I don’t blame the actors, the script failed them. Perhaps they’ll get another try for the Fantastic Four Sequel (yeah, like Duh, we didn’t know that was coming). Although the evil transformation of Victor Von Doom into Doctor Doom (played by Julian McMahon) was one of my favorites if you exclude the Skywalker to Darth Vadar progression.
Mr. Fantastic played by Ioan Gruffudo was about as fantastic as the early days of Microsoft Windows. Look at me, I can stretch! Wee hah. The Invisible Woman for all intents and purposes was invisible throughout the film, and the Human Torch was entertaining but annoying. Ok, so I’m being a bit harsh, they weren’t that bad. They each had a few key moments of comedy, which forgives them of their wrongdoings.
The script played out naturally, again suspending all scientific belief, in the sense that the characters were put into their situation and how they would respond folds into exactly how the script was written. Alright, I admit, the love stuff was a bit weak but for some reason, Hollywood insists on throwing in love interests into every film. Yes, the characters were feeble except The Thing and Doctor Doom, but in context, it works overall.
On the whole, if you are in the movie for a popcorn film then go see the Fantastic Four. Besides, how do you expect to be able to see the sequel which will be far more action-packed without watching the first film!