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Film reviews

Fantastic Four

Title: Fantastic Four

Director: Tim Story

Stars: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans

Reviewer: Matt Eccles

Rating (out of 10): 4


The bar has been set very high for comic book adaptations by the likes of Spider-Man, X-Men, Sin City and the reborn Batman franchise. These have all the spectacle and thrills required of summer blockbusters while remembering to include a gratifying dose of humanistic heart and soul. A shame, then, that Fantastic Four is wholly lacking these qualities. Instead, filled as it is with hokey dialogue, stiff performances and shameless product placement, it comes across as an interminable advert, particularly, of course, for its tie-in video game.

Younger viewers in particular will find it hard to stifle yawns as the quartet simply bicker amongst themselves for a great proportion of the running time. Hence, when the action scenes eventually arrive it is impossible to care much about the heroes’ plight. It doesn’t help that these sporadic set-pieces sorely lack zing and zest in any case. Add in a lightweight pantomime villain who is about as threatening as a stick of half-eaten candy floss and we have one of the most disappointing super-hero flicks in recent memory.

The only mitigating feature of this lame botch-job is Michael Chiklis in his self-confessed dream role as Ben Grimm/The Thing, as he elicits enough sympathy and allegiance to convince us to stick with him until the end. Meanwhile, although Chris Evans is authentically annoying as Johnny Storm/Human Torch, he still looks as though he’s playing himself rather than a cartoon character, whereas Ioan Gruffudd, as Reed Richards/Mr Fantastic, Jessica Alba, as Sue Storm/Invisible Woman and Julian McMahon, as (Doctor) Victor Von Doom, manage only to be instantly forgettable.

The film does have its moments, but a flimsy script, indifferent direction and shoddy special effects ensure it earns a not-so-fantastic four out of ten.

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