Fantastic Floor

So remember that episode of The Simpsons where Bart buys a comic from Comic Book Guy, only to later find out that it was Fantastic Floor? Yeah. At least that had interesting wood grain patterns.

But I kid. Fantastic Four is by no means a horrible movie, like, say, Daredevil or Catwoman, but it lacks the grandeur and scope of great comic book flicks like the Spider-Man or X-Men series. Fantastic Four the comic is one of Marvel’s top-tier titles, along with those two, but it’s been given the B-List treatment by Fox. And much as I was able to credit the success of War of the Worlds to Spielberg, I can attribute most of the faults of Fantastic Four to its director, Tim Story.

For the uninitiated, Four follows a group of astronauts, who are exposed to radiation in space, and thus gain super powers. Like you do. They return to Earth, and use their powers to fight evil and defend truth, justice and the American way, I guess. I never really read the comic too much. I liked the X-Men better. Anyway, the group is kinda the celebrities of the superhero world, as they don’t really have secret identities, or wear masks. They are who they are.

More than other superhero teams, the Fantastic Four are a family, both literally and figuratively. Thus they bicker and play pranks, and fight and make up, everything your family does, just with cool superpowers.

So this movie is origin first, silly subplot second. It seems that the financier of their space mission, one Victor Von Doom, was exposed to the same wacky radiation, and everything seems to be going wrong for him. So he wants revenge, natch, and decides to take over the world. Seems reasonable to me. Will our heroes be able to stop him? Does anyone care at this point?

To me, the movie just really doesn’t bring a whole lot to the table. The idea behind bringing a comic book to the big screen should be to render the characters in three dimensions, and make it either believable, or so fantastic that you don’t care if its believable (i.e. Sin City). When I left the theater, I was just unimpressed. It was a movie, I’ll say that for it. It just seemed uninspired, like the actors, the director, everybody was just going through the motions.

Speaking of the actors, I can’t complain too much. Ioan Gruffudd and Julian McMahon were serviceable enough as rivals Mr. Fantastic and Dr. Doom. Chris Evans played the annoying frat boy part a little too over the top as the Human Torch, and even Michael Chiklis as The Thing was a little too angsty for his own good. Jessica Alba? She’s hot. That’s about all she does. (see also: Sin City).

As I mentioned before, comic book adaptations should be making three-dimensional characters out of a two-dimensional medium. Fantastic Four just feels as flat as it ever was on paper. I give it a C- .


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