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Fantastic Four
Reviewed by Joe Crowe, © 2005

Format: Movie
By:   Tim Story (director)
Genre:   Superhero
Released:   Released July 8, 2005
Review Date:   July 11, 2005
Audience Rating:   PG
RevSF Rating:   6/10 (What Is This?)

The Fantastic Four are the overlooked first child of the Marvel Universe. Everybody just loves Spider-Man, and aren't those X-Men just the cutest? Fantastic Four was the first superhero comic book that Marvel Comics did, and I ask you, where is the love?

Finally, the Fantastic Four movie is out, and finally, the kids nowadays will know who Mr. Fantastic is, gray temples and all. And it's pretty good. It didn't knock me on my butt like the Spider-Mans did, but it didn't make me choke on my 37-dollar popcorn like Elektra, either.

The Pretty Much Fantastic Stuff

The Suits. Reed gets in a comic-book geek reference about the costumes' unstable molecules and they look nice. They're not powder-blue spandex, for one thing. Best of all, the FF don't squeak when they walk like the leather-encased movie X-Men did.

ALBA. Eh, she didn't do anything for me. I mean WHOO WHOO WHOO! I like human females! Be merciful! I'm only flesh and blood!

Pre-total-freakout Doom. Oily and menacing, and the hairline scar on his head that he totally can't handle is perfect.

"Where are your ears?" Johnny and Ben were excellent together, from the tease about Ben's transformation to the semi-battle they had like in the comics.

The Thing's fingers. The Thing suit may not have been totally up to comic-book style, but his hands were perfect.

Stan Lee as the FF's postman from the comics. Best Stan Cameo Ever.

"It's Clobberin' Time!" I sat in amazement at this movie's ability to work a catch phrase organically into the script, groan-free.

Acting like the FF. Every character is lifted from the comics with personality intact. Except for Invisible Woman, who didn't have one.

"GIRL?!" Funny outburst by Invisible Woman. She was "Invisible Girl" for over 20 years in the comics, until the comics people seemed to notice that was a bit condescending.

Ben and Reed. The best scene in the movie is when Ben's giant rocky paw can't pick up the engagement ring his mean ol' fiancee drops. Understated, emotional work in a superhero flick?

The Not-So-Fantastic Stuff

FF: The Sitcom. Most big-time action movies use wacky comments and little comedy scenes as tension-relievers before something explodes. This time the comments and the comedy were the movie, and the action scenes were the break. There was some good comedy therein, but at a point I just wanted somebody to fight something.

Doom in the Green Hoodie. After descending into villainy slowly and methodically, Doom shows up in his comic-book green hoodie. Is that an olive green waist-coat?

The Thing action figure. I know the Wal-Mart-choking FF movie toys hadn't yet been spewed forth while they were filming the movie. But did the toy in the movie have to look more like the comic Thing than the movie Thing?

Pop-culture references are X-TREME! Unless you want people 10 years in the future to send their slave-bots back to find out who Dr. Phil was, ease off on references that might be amusing to people at this very moment. Same with the motocross show. Lucky the movie didn't come out five years ago. Johnny would've had to cater to the Jackass audience and light poo-poo on fire.

Mr. Fantastic and the toilet paper. Superheroes don't go to the bathroom! On the good side, though, there was nothing about Mr. Fantastic stretching every part of his body, and by that I mean his you-know-what. Or the Thing's naughty-time with Alicia. They have to save something for the sequel.

Final Things

The movie was fun and enjoyable. We shouldn't be ashamed that it's mostly silly. How deadly earnest was it supposed to be? The FF comics never addressed social issues or the human condition in any serious way that did not involve a giant dude made out of rocks.

We only wish we couldn't see humor editor Joe Crowe when he takes his clothes off.

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