By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Predictable superhero tales riddled with violence.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The lone female among the four heroes is strong and altruistic, but her strength and determination often come across as bossiness that's mocked by the guys. One character often makes light of life-and-death situations by cracking jokes. The four rely on teamwork and respect each other's abilities, and repercussions of recklessness and poor decision making are demonstrated.
Violence & Scariness
Frequent cartoon violence includes punches, kicks, laser blasts, hurling fireballs, and falling from great heights. Robotic characters are often incinerated. None of the violence results in lasting injury to humans. Occasionally there's talk of "terminating" an enemy.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Female characters sport breast-enhancing, cleavage-baring outfits.
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Occasional use of words like "stupid" and "dumb."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this series is brimming with fantasy violence -- including hand-to-hand battles, laser shooting, and objects getting ignited -- even if the heroes never suffer lasting injuries as a result. Although one of the four main characters is very smart, his intelligence is dismissed by the others, and the team relies on fighting to solve problems. Scary alien and robotic enemies and concepts like vaporizing and abducting other characters rule this one out for the youngest viewers. The show makes an attempt to teach about impulsiveness and accepting responsibility for poor judgment, but the good messages are lost amid the flashy violence.
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What's the Story?
FANTASTIC FOUR follows the superheroic efforts of four friends and family members to rid the world of evil. When scientist Richard Reed flew his inadequately shielded space ship through cosmic rays, he had no idea of the lasting effects that were in store for him and his wife, brother-in-law, and friend. In no time, the four developed extraordinary abilities, adopted new names, and took it upon themselves to protect Earth from enemies of all kinds. Richard's new abilities allow him to stretch to great lengths, so he dubs himself Mr. Fantastic (voiced by Hiro Kanagawa). His wife, Susan Storm -- The Invisible Woman (Lara Gilchrist) -- can disappear and create protective shields around her friends. Her brother, Johnny, is known as The Human Torch (Christopher Jacot) and uses his body to generate flames that propel him into the air. But it's Richard's buddy, Ben Grimm, who suffers the most noticeable changes from the accident, which leaves him massive, muscular, and covered with the rough, orange skin that inspires his alias -- The Thing (Brian Dobson).
Is It Any Good?
Fantastic Four -- which is based on comic book characters originally introduced in the 1960s by Marvel -- follows the well-cut groove of most superhero cartoons: There's a rotating cast of enemies, the good guys always win, and although the teammates' personality differences often lead to bickering, viewers get (repetitive) lessons in teamwork and responsibility.
The show's relatively high level of violence puts it on the older end of the superhero spectrum. Parents may want to preview a few episodes before deciding whether their kids are ready for the violence, frightening characters, and sometimes-questionable behavior that make Fantastic Four an iffy choice for the littlest viewers.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about being part of a team. What traits are important in teammates? How does a team work to get stronger as a whole? How can every member contribute his or her individual talents? How do the Fantastic Four combine their abilities to be a strong team?
- Premiere date: September 24, 1994
- Cast: Christopher Jacot, Hiro Kanagawa, Lara Gilchrist
- Network: Cartoon Network
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Superheroes, Adventures
- TV rating: TV-Y7-FV
- Last updated: June 2, 2023
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