What parents need to know
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?
|Theatrical release date:||July 8, 2005|
|DVD/Streaming release date:||December 6, 2005|
|Cast:||Chris Evans, Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis|
|Studio:||Twentieth Century Fox|
|Run time:||105 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||sequences of intense action, and some suggestive content|