Fantastic Four (2005) – Should I Watch It?

Intro to… Fantastic Four (2005)
The new Fantastic Four (2015) movie has created quite a buzz. The press has been enjoying the backstage drama for months, director Josh Trank tried to distance himself from it via Twitter, and the critics are ruthless. It is safe to say that things are not going the way Fox would want them to go.

Due to this commotion I have been reading a lot about this movie and one of the things I noticed is that a lot of people are comparing this to the Fantastic Four movie that came out in 2005. And many people seem to remember this as another awful movie that failed to accommodate the hype it had created. But was it really that bad?

The Plot
Renowned scientist Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffud) is in need of funding. His latest research on the creation and evolution of life cannot be completed without a significant boost to his working capital.

After being rejected by several institutions he and his partner Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) visit billionaire and former MIT rival Victor von Doom (Julian McMahon) in a desperate attempt to facilitate funds for his research. Victor acknowledges Reed’s genius but is also aware of his situation. He agrees to fund the project but at some serious unfavourable conditions. Reed agrees.

It is essential for the research that part of it gets conducted in space. Victor allows Ben and Reed to use his company’s space station but they will have to work with Reed’s ex-girlfriend Sue Storm (Jessica Alba) and her overly flamboyant brother Johnny Storm (Chris Evans). This is kind of awkward since not only does Reed still have feelings for Sue, but she is also Victor’s girlfriend.

While in space a strange phenomenon occurs and everyone gets exposed to some kind of unknown kind of energy. Upon Earth they realise this has changed their DNA and they exhibit unusual abilities. Ben has an especially hard time adjusting since it changed his appearance greatly. Reed swears to his friend that he will find a way to reverse this.

Should I Watch It?
The Fantastic Four origin story we all grew up with: Four people go to space and undergo an extraterrestrial transformation that gives them unexplainable but amazing abilities. They work together and become more than a team, they become a family. The movie makes a couple of adjustments but overall follows this narrative.

I actually quite like Fantastic Four (2005). It is no cinematic masterpiece but it does a couple of things really well. The best part about this movie is how it has set up the relationships between the characters. Johnny and Sue are siblings so they argue and annoy each other, but at the same time they also really care for each other. Ben and Reed have been working together for a long time and have become best friends. They give each other advice and hang out. Sue and Reed show classic signs of a relationship that went bad due to unresolved issues. Ben is obviously aware of what happened between them, and still thinks these two should be together. And Johnny and Ben have totally opposites characters, which brings out both the worst and the best of them. The characters are well rounded and their interaction feels natural.

Another thing I like is how they all experience their transformation differently. On one hand we have Johnny who enjoys it immensely, but then there is Ben who has a really hard time with his physical change and his wife leaving him. The entire movie is a bit campy and this dampens the impact of some of the more dramatic scenes, but it does establish the struggle of such a transformation and the desire to reverse it.

So after having listed all these things I like, why is nobody talking about this movie in a positive light? What went wrong? The answer is quite simple: it misses the wow-factor. The film is actually rather mundane. We have a group of great and interesting characters that work well together, but nothing really interesting happens. Not even the threat of Dr. Doom feels really threatening.

Furthermore there are several scenes that just make no sense and will make anyone’s eyes roll. Especially the scene where Reed is telling Sue to take off her clothes so she can use her invisibility to move through a crowd of people, only for them all to walk through regardless. Do not get my wrong, I am not one who would generally stop Jessica Alba from taking of her clothes, but this scene was kind of stupid and insulting.

But if you can look passed all this you will realise that Fantastic Four (2005) is a movie that knows what it is and it chooses to entertain rather than to impress. It is a collage of funny, dramatic, and action packed scenes that all share one common goal: to make you have a good time. And in this, it succeeds.

Yes, watch it.

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