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Fantastic Four

Cast: Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon

Rating: PG-13 due to intense action and some suggestive content

Runtime: 106 minutes

The popular comic book heroes came to the big screen in 2005ís ďFantastic FourĒ. The film starts off by introducing us to Reed Richards (Gruffudd) and Ben Grimm (Chiklis) who are trying to convince Victor Von Doom (McMahon) to finance a trip to outer space in order to perform a variety of experiments. Victor agrees and the three, along with Reedís former girlfriend (and Victorís supposed current love interest), Susan Reed (Alba) and her brother Johnny (Evans), travel to Von Doomís space station. Although there is already plenty of tension between the crew, thatís not even the beginning of their troubles.

An unexpected solar storm wreaks havoc on the ship and the crew itself. Each person soon finds himself/herself with a number of uncanny abilities. Reed can stretch and contort his body into any shape, Susan can become invisible and project force fields, Johnny can fly and burst into flames at will and Ben is transformed into a being made of solid rock. Collectively known as the Fantastic Four, they are also known by their aliases: Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch and the Thing.

But what about Victor Von Doom? It soon becomes apparent that the Fantastic Fourís arch nemesis is their former crewmate (and in Susanís case, former boyfriend) who also didnít leave the space station unscathed. Doomís skeleton is slowly transforming into the very shielding that was used to protect him on the ship. Add to that the fact that he can conduct massive amounts of energy and the Fantastic Four obviously have a force to reckon with.

There were quite a few things to like about ďFantastic FourĒ. The cast was good and the movie didnít focus on one superhero more than the others, which makes it feel more like a ďteamĒ effort. The movie also had good pacing and didnít seem to drag on. There were also a few funny moments especially a shaving crŤme incident between Johnny and Ben.

There were definitely a few things that I felt the movie missed on. Other than the Thingís reaction to his transformation, the others didnít seem to be overly concerned about what was happening to them. I donít know about you, but if I suddenly burst into flames Iíd be a little freaked out, or at least on the phone, trying to sell that story to Hollywood! As far as action, I felt that there could have been a little more substance in the final confrontation between the Fantastic Four and Dr. Doom. I just didnít think Dr. Doom came across as the menace that he is in the comic books.

This wasnít a bad film. It was a good starting point if the movie studios are looking to build this into a franchise. Itís definitely something that will be fun for the whole family to watch.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars!

Did You Know? Michael Chiklis was the only one of the cast who had ever read the ďFantastic FourĒ comic books.

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