Richard reviews Fantastic Four

FantasticFourGroupPic.jpgAll the production news, pre-release rumour and reviews were all pointing towards this being a bad movie. I was waiting for and expecting it, but as someone who has grown up reading comics, these years are the ones we are looking forward to. Our comic heroes are coming to the big screen and they are coming in droves, and not in eighties low budget style, but in big screen and with big budgets.

Basically I couldn’t miss this, I couldn’t dare, despite what people said about it. Yet I still feared the worst.

The early news that the latter portions of the movie were entirely re-written and re-cut during the editing process without the actors was worrying, and then seeing the reviews and the hefty defence of the movie by the Studio and actors was worrying.

Something you have to think about with the characters in Fantastic Four is that they aren’t like characters like Batman. Batman is hard edged, real, gritty, violent. Where the line between good and bad is bigger than the black and white put together, and that’s where the Batman character lives.

Fantastic Four is a lighter base of characters and stories, like Spiderman and such. There are clearer sides to be drawn on good and bad, and the characters stay there. The world is more fantasy than real, and with that I went to see the Fantastic Four.

I’m going to pause you again while I give my first, and biggest thanks to Georgie at the Ocean Terminal Vue in Edinburgh. She’s being fantastic about helping me out with movie viewing for the site, actually more helpful than any other cinema in Edinburgh that I’ve talked to. So with that I say support the Vue cinema at Ocean Terminal – it’s a great cinema, and fab hotdogs!

Okay, so to the movie. It starts off really fast, and keeps going like that. You really do notice that the story goes along faster than most other movies. Development of the characters before anything happens to them is out the window and before your seat is warm the team are in space and being hit by a storm.

Now this isn’t really a bad thing because firstly the pace of the movie seems pretty even, there’s no point you’re wishing it would either hurry up or slow down, it seems quite well paced throughout. Secondly, the character development isn’t really forgotten, it’s bundled in with the rest of the story, and this makes for a refreshing change. After all the story is about the Fantastic Four and Dr Doom, so let’s see them.

Character development is pretty loose on Mr Fantastic, Invisible Woman (I can’t use the word girl when referring to Jessica Alba) and Von Doom. What you get is the bare minimum to set them up for the second film. The characters that we see a bit more of are Thing and Torch, and this is also good for they are at loggerheads from the beginning of the movie and are two entirely different characters.

Thing is a family man, gentle and caring, and very thoughtful of others. Torch is a wild young guy who likes extreme sports and thinks only of himself. They’re shown quite well, and the cheese factor seen in some of the trailers is not so apparent when you see the movie itself.

For me the characters of Doom, Torch and Thing stand out the most. Doom is played by Julian McMahon very well, he’s evil and self centred, making him an excellent choice for the new Hitcher role. His slow move to internal destruction and total acceptance of evil is well done, and his little nuances are good fun to watch.

Chris Evans has some superb lines to deliver and delivers them with spot on timing. He’s funny, and the comedy works. Michael Chiklis looks very at home in this role, although I kept thinking of Vic at certain points in the movie he did manage to shake the bad image quite well. He shows his trouble with accepting who he has become even through that huge suit, and you just can’t help but like the character.

The film really is a setup for the following movies, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but you have to remember what this is. It’s not gritty, meaty, thoughtful material. This is fun entertainment. Sit back and enjoy a comic ride, and it does work. I left having been entertained, and although I quickly moved on to think of other things, I still enjoyed it. Just because it is a comic adaptation, do not judge it with the same eye as Batman.

Action is what makes the most of this movie. The set pieces are well conceived and orchestrated, particularly the early bridge piece that introduces the world to the characters.

I’m not going to slate this movie, it’s not fantastic, but it is good entertainment and opens the way for a strong series. The characters are good, with Torch, Doom and Thing stealing the show, and the action is strong as well. It’s worth a watch if you don’t fancy something to make you think too much, but do want to come away feeling you enjoyed yourself. Just remember two things, it’s light, and it’s entertainment. It’s a popcorn movie.

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