This movie was incredible. I had never read the original comics and I think the only reason I was even acquainted with the characters was because of the cartoon from the early to mid 90’s, but that doesn’t make me any less of a fan (in my opinion). The Fantastic Four characters, while created by Marvel (Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to be exact) to combat with DC’s The Justice League* are slightly different from your normal super heroes: no secret identities and no complete harmony on the home front, but that’s exactly what makes them so endearing…especially on the screen. The characters’ personality flaws and traits created natural tension which in turn creates great drama which was executed well in the script/story and delivered even better by the cast.
The major plot change (from the true comic origins) is that Victor Von Doom ends up in space to get zapped by the cosmic rays just like the rest of the crew. This major change is used in most origin stories because it neatly ties up the movie into one package where some cataclysmic event throws two groups of people into chaos, one goes good the other bad and they duke it out in a grand finale. At least I think I’ve seen that used before…hm…
The CGI was used quite well here (I loved Reed Richard’s stretches and Johnny Storm’s flight) but wasn’t used for Ben Grimm’s The Thing. Perhaps the CGI Hulk was just a bit much for everybody who had to watch it (maybe the director forced the creative crew to watch it over and over to make sure they avoided doing a Marvel comic book like a Greek tragedy…DAMN YOUSE ANG LEE! DAMN YOUSE ALL TA HELL!!!!!). They instead went with a foam rubber suit (or something like that…I wasn’t paying too close attention to the TV Guide article I read) so that it was still Michael Chiklis, and not just his motion captured movements and an animated face. I applaud that decision because as much as I love computer animation and the strides it is taking regarding photo-realistic human acting….you can’t beat the real thing. Eventually they will, but I suspect by that time, the world will have already ended and that will be the least of our worries…or maybe not**.
Aside from the phenomenal stuff, there was just one story issue for me…the whole concept of being able to reverse and re-reverse (don’t ask) someone’s genetic mutation seemed a bit of a stretch for me…I don’t buy it because it’s more of a clever plot twist than anything else.
Fantastic Four is a fun comic book origin story…so what if it’s slightly different from the original origin (besides, who’s going to go see a movie about superheroes fighting communists…that is SO 1950’s…)…it’s still a damn good ride.
* Will excellent box office receipts for this movie convince DC to put together a Justice League movie? They have already created or in progress two of the three big heroes they need to create the Justice League (Batman and Superman) and with Wonder Woman on the way, could a JL movie be far behind? And what really gets my motor cranking is that if a JL movie were to succeed, they would have someone to do a Green Lantern movie OR A FLASH MOVIE!!!! Yi! Torvo is excited!
** Did anybody see Simone? That Al Pacino flick where he created a digital celebrity? Hm…”There’s no tack on my stool before he moves and after he moves there’s a tack. Coincidence? I think NOT!” Just kidding.