Fantastic Four Movie Poster Image

Fantastic Four

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

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Working together; appreciating differences while finding common ground.

Positive role models

Supervillain is typically evil; friends argue among themselves.


Comic bookish explosions, car crashes, and body slammings.


Sexual references.

Not applicable

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).

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?


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?

  • How do the four friends learn to appreciate their differences as well as their similar situations, as "freaks," celebrities, and heroes?

  • What is the appeal of superhero movies? How does this one compare?

Movie details

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

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 13 year old Written byohya August 15, 2010
not enough action
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Adult Written byCrazy Chel April 9, 2008

Good start for the Fantastic Four

I know little of the Fantastic Four's background but I enjoyed this movie. My husband and I have agreed to let our kids (ages 2-10) see it since there was very little questionable content. No blood, no language (that I noticed), a few double meaning jokes and some action make up a decent family film. There wasn't as much action as I'd hoped for, but was is there is good.
Adult Written byrhapsody722 April 9, 2008

great 1st movie for older kids

this was a fantastic movie for the first of hopefully many. There was just enough of a lead to keep teens involved, but not so much that a 8-11 yr old couldn't watch. There were 3 times when I was hoping it wouldn't go further-and it didn't. This was an accurate well told basis for the series to start. I give it 4 stars.