Five people are irradiated on a space station, causing them to mutate and have superpowers.
What I Thought
I read this comic book as a kid. Yes, that means a longer review. Strap in your seatbelts...
As a serious, thought-provoking movie with hidden meanings and deep, er, things, fuggetaboutit. This is not the movie for you. Go see some drama with boxing or cancer or something else. This is not the movie for you. Of course, if you still went to see it, you should have been warned by the TV trailers showing a rubbery man, a guy in a metal mask, and, let's face it, Jessica Alba. So you should have known better.
One of my movie companions, at the end of the movie, turned to me and said "finally, this thing is over". I will refer my friend to the previous paragraph. Once he realizes where he went wrong, we'll start speaking again.
When I went to see the FF, I turned that "thought-provoking/hidden meanings/deep stuff" part of my brain off (though not enough to stop myself from snorting my drink when Alba was introduced as the "genetics expert"),
and you should too. Once you do that, then you'll find that this movie ROCKS. Especially if you're a fan of the FF series as I was as a kid, it is great seeing them on the screen and done in the same bubblegum candy-coated way the comic books were written.
Much lighter than the X-Men series (after all, the FF are not mutants being persecuted, and also recall that in the Marvel timeline, the FF appear before mutants) and not as much teen-angst as Spiderman, the FF have almost no "dark" moments. Sure you can practically feel the Thing's misery (Michael Chicklis does a great job of channeling Ben Grimm's hatred of his new form), and his fiancée dumps him on TV. But that's pretty much as bad as it gets.
I'm not exactly sure where the PG-13 rating comes from, but it's probably the big hole that Von Doom blasts through someone. Oh, and Chris Evans (Human Torch) is running around in a towel at one point, which made most of the women and a few men in the audience gasp with appreciation. Otherwise, only comic-book-type mild violence.
Granted that there are some slow parts, it takes a while to seriously get going. But I chalk this up to being the first "intro" movie where all the characters and motivations have to be set up, etc.
The bad parts:
-Although I really like the show Nip/Tuck, Julian McMahon doesn't seem a good fit as Dr. Doom. He doesn't come across as the super-genius that Von Doom should be. I also didn't like his modified origin in this movie. In the books, he's a tortured genius (because his mother sold her soul to Mephisto for magical powers) whose "powers" are all in the super-armor that he builds. McMahon treats him like a billionaire pretty boy who relies on stealing Reed Richards' ideas. Eh.
-Jessica Alba. Does she get her lip gloss advice from JLo? 'Nuff said. Wait. One more word: ugh.
The good parts:
-Special effects keep getting better and better these days. This movie couldn't have been made just a few years ago without looking bad. Today the effects feel much more natural and "real".
-Michael Chicklis. I have to check out the Shield now.
-I'm not sure what to make of the guy who played Mr. Fantastic, Ioan Gruffudd. On the one hand, his Reed Richards is kinda forgettable. But on the other, he perfectly captures the nerdiness, shyness, and just plain privateness of a behind-the-scenes guy who is thrust into the spotlight because he's got the brains. So it seems as if he's either done his reading or he couldn't stand out in this ensemble cast. I want to say the former.
-Chris Evans as the Human Torch. He rocked! You may remember him from Not Another Teen Movie. Here, he plays Johnny Storm as an extreme sport fanatic, snarky-comment making, goofball. Which, if you've read any of the comic books, is perfect for Johnny Storm. Without him, this movie would have been a Daredevil or some other train wreck. But Evans brought an easy breasy and fun atmosphere to every scene he was in.
To summarize. Turn your brain off, and enjoy! Four thumbs up!
All photos and text copyright Ryszard Kilarski, unless otherwise noted. Clip art, drawings, paintings are either free domain or copyrighted by the artists.