Hello rock, this is me in between you and the hard place. Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) & Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon). All set off on a space mission that sees them engulfed by a mysterious storm that imbues them all with different special powers. Fantastic Four is arguably the most loved on the page of the super-group comic book creations. Certainly it's Marvel's flagship offering in that corner of the super hero market. Odd then, that when it finally makes it to the big screen they throw money at it but employ the director of "The Firing Squad" & "Taxi"? The whole film reeks of nervousness, with director Tim Story either fearful of making a hash of said flagship movie, or worse still, being directed himself by studio executives fearful of making a hash of said flagship movie. While the casting of Gruffud (dull), Alba (cleavage for hire) and McMahon (out of his depth as a villain) beggars belief. Sloppy CGI fails to ignite what little action there is, while the final smack down as our intrepid 4 battle with Von Doom, is of a TV movie standard. Yet it still has a smidgen of fun about it to warrant investing a damp dark afternoon with. Chiklis and Evans are the plus points, the former injecting a bit of heart into proceedings and the latter some sexiness and some much needed humour. There's also some worth in the script's attempt at messaging about the perils and pitfalls of celebrity status. While who can deny that the first appearance of "flame-on" & "clobbertime" doesn't induce an ickle tingle down the spine of the discerning comic book fan (ok that may just be me hankering for my youth). If only the film wasn't so safe and had been in better hands. But hey! the film turned over a $230 million Worldwide profit, so what do I know eh? The sequel was inevitable, so one can only hope that with the same people involved they not only learn from their guardedness, but that they manage to stay faithful to the source and give it some much needed pizazz. Footnote: The extended cut at twenty minutes longer, suffice to say, is a better experience as it has more pizazz. So 5/10 for the theatrical cut and 6/10 for the extended version.
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