Fantastic Four

  • Review Date: December 4, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Campy but often violent comic book movie.
  • Review Date: December 4, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
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15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Supervillain is typically evil; friends argue among themselves.

Violence

Comic bookish explosions, car crashes, and body slammings.

Sex

Sexual references.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Superheroes market their own action figures; a visit to a motocross arena features known brands (Dos Equis, ESPN, Coke), Burger King shows up.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some wine drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the film includes loud and explosive violence. The astronauts' encounter with the radioactive cloud is rendered in frightening, fiery images, and the Thing's transformation from human to rock is potentially alarming. Fights between the superheroes and archenemy Dr. Doom show bodies slammed into or through walls and thrown out windows; the Human Torch engages in extreme sports (snowboarding and motocross) and implied sexual activity (following one encounter, he appears wearing only a girl's pink parka to cover his genitals), Susan wears cleavage-revealing outfits, and someone remarks on one superhero's elongated body parts. The film also includes a couple of multi-car crashes occur, several injuries that draw blood, and a scene where the police shoot at the Thing (bullets bounce off him).

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In this film version of the Marvel comic, egotistical Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon) finances a mission into outer space in which four of his employees are zapped by a radioactive cloud that alters their DNA according to their sense of self. Romantically wishy-washy Reed (Ioan Gruffudd) turns elastic, his feeling-ignored girlfriend Susan (Jessica Alba) turns invisible, her hotheaded brother Johnny (Chris Evans) becomes the "human torch," and Reed's best friend and enforcer, Ben (Michael Chiklis), gets stony. Von Doom is also zapped, and his body slowly changes to a human-metallic alloy. When he loses control of his billion-dollar corporation, he decides to take his revenge on The Fantastic Four. He sets out to eliminate them one by one, beginning, so he thinks, with the emotionally insecure and physically unstoppable Ben.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

An unevenly paced, disjointed comic book movie, Fantastic Four lacks emotional focus. But then again, maybe that's the point -- it's a campy comic book movie. The film offers a series of "origin story" scenes, in which the four heroes' individual interests and anxieties are established, with much attention to movie and product franchising.

While it should be accelerating with spiffy action and smart repartee, Tim Story's movie becomes increasingly incoherent. The Four fight amongst themselves and take off for separate adventures, occasionally coming together for unbelievably convenient collisions. Ben's story is the most compelling, while the others' issues become repetitive. The film also includes its share of logical inconsistencies, as well as overly familiar and underdeveloped themes.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how superpowers change the characters' lives, as they must decide how to use them, for public good, for personal gain, or to settle personal grudges. How are anxieties, competitions, and quarrels exacerbated by these changes? How is Susan's situation different from the men's, as she feels the need to mediate their arguments? What is the emotional effect when the Thing's wife abandons him? How do the four friends learn to appreciate their differences as well as their similar situations, as "freaks," celebrities, and heroes?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 8, 2005
DVD release date:December 6, 2005
Cast:Chris Evans, Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis
Director:Tim Story
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Superheroes
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sequences of intense action, and some suggestive content

This review of Fantastic Four was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 13 year old Written byohya August 15, 2010
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
not enough action
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written bymeanychris2004@... April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

cool

this movie is cool i have only mr.doom i saw him on charmed. but the movie was cool.
Teen, 13 years old Written bystinky April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

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