When a scientific experiment in space goes wrong, Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd – wooden), Sue Storm (Jessica Alba – hot), her brother Johnny Storm (Chris Evans – just right), Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis – good) and Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon – OK) are hit by a blast of cosmic energy and their DNA is transformed. Back on earth they discover new powers – Reed can stretch his body like rubber, Sue can make herself invisible and create force-fields, Johnny becomes really hot – he can ignite himself and he learns to fly, Ben – who was exposed the most to the radiation – is transformed to a creature of solid rock – and Von Doom transforms into a metal-man and can control energy.
While super-scientist (but bad businessman and emotionally handicapped) Reed works on repairing the damage to himself, his former love Sue (who is now with Von Doom), rebellious and immature Johnny (who is the only one who thinks his powers are super-cool and is not really interested in being ‘cured’), and desperate Ben (whose own wife is terrified of his appearance and won’t let him come near her), Von Doom fights for his company which is in deep trouble after the failed space mission.
But while Ben, Sue, Johnny and Reed are soon dubbed the ‘Fantastic Four’ by the media when they use their powers to rescue people, Victor turns evil and uses his powers to exact revenge on his former business-partners – and he is after ‘Mr. Fantastic’, ‘The Invisible Girl’, ‘The Human Torch’ and ‘The Thing’.
The newest addition to the genre of comic-picturization, ‘Fantastic Four’ luckily has more of ‘Spider-Man’ or ‘X-Men 2’ then of ‘Hulk‘ or ‘Daredevil‘. Being the first film of a probable franchise, it spends enough time to characterization but doesn’t forget about the action. The acting is far from superb – Gruffudd delivers a wooden performance (which just might be deliberate considering Reed is an emotionally underdeveloped brainiac), Chris Evans is believable as formulaic juvenile hothead, Ben Grimm makes ‘The Thing’ human, and Jessica Alba is … harrumph, revealing as ‘The Invisible Girl’ (setting up a nice gag – admittedly, an old one, but it perfectly serves the purpose of communicating Reed’s lack of emotion to the audience in a non-obtrusive way). Julian McMahon delivers your standard oily, greedy bad guy.
The CGI-action is a bit shoddy (especially Reed’s stretching) – just like the acting – and the soundtrack added to the action is just painfully tacky, but somehow the combination of mediocre acting, shabby special effects, awful music, well-known superheros and Jessica Alba manages to be better than it’s ingredients. It’s a guilty pleasure – but it’s entertaining enough and never boring. Not a match for BATMAN BEGINS or SPIDER-MAN, but plays in the same league as HELLBOY and comic-fans shouldn’t miss it!