A fantastic finish after a slow startThe fantastic thing about the movie “Fantastic Four” is how it manages at the last minute to rescue itself from being a complete disaster.
In contrast to the non-stop excitement moviegoers expect at finally being able to watch the feature length adaptation of one of the classic superhero stories from their childhood, the beginning of the movie is pretty similar to watching an afternoon soap opera like the infamous “General Hospital.”
It drags on, filled with insufferably lame dialogue that tries to explain too much. It is like the guy you meet in a bar who cannot help telling you about his boring life in full detail. Especially, the tension between Reed Richards, his ex-girlfriend Sue Storm and Richards’s former roommate, who later becomes the notorious Dr. Doom, is like watching a group of third graders.
The movie begins with Richards, played by Ioan Gruffudd, and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) visiting their old friend Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon). Doom has become a multimillionaire corporate mogul and Richards wants him to fund a scientific space voyage to study a cosmic cloud. During the visit he learns that his old flame Storm (Jessica Alba) works for Doom.
Soon, with Storm’s younger brother Johnny (Chris Evans) piloting the spacecraft, the five head off into space, where, as is usual in such movies, things go awry.
The movie finally picks up after the five undergo a DNA transformation caused by the cosmic cloud. Like Johnny Storm, who accepts what he has become, the audience can now really enjoy the thrill of super powers taking center stage, which is what the audience has really paid to see.
Of course, everyone remembers scenes from the comic strips but computer technology has definitely made a major leap since the cloned dinosaurs made their first appearance in “Jurassic Park.”
We’re already familiar with the stretching ability of Mr. Fantastic, the name Richards adopts, but this looks gross on the screen. Also familiar is the disappearing act of the Invisible Woman (Sue Storm), but the Human Torch (Johnny Storm), who seems to have the role of funny sidekick, is hot ― an entire body consumed by flame is not something you see every day. The computer graphics used to create the human torch are breathtaking.
Even old-fashioned stunts are jaw droppers, particularly when a huge truck smashes into Grimm, a.k.a. the “Thing.”
Although the mask worn by Doom makes him look foolish, actor McMahon is really appealing. His cool, articulate voice is mesmerizing and stands out from the other actors. The only thing really sad about him is that although he is intellectual, when he turns evil the only weapon he has is body slamming. The scriptwriters could have made his character a bit more complex.
Nevertheless, the movie is entertaining ― filled with action-packed computer-generated fight scenes and awesome stunts. The audience has to be patient for the first 30 minutes of lame dialogue and the romantic tug of war between Mr. Fantastic, Dr. Doom and the Invisible Girl. Other than that, the movie is good for the summer.
by Lee Ho-jeong
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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