"4 times the action. 4 times the adventure. 4 times the fantastic."
I call bullshit on that tagline because this Fantastic Four is definitely not that action packed, that adventurous or remotely close to being that fantastic. But it was passable entertainment nonetheless. It was a step above the 94 film because of it's higher production values alone and it has some genuinely thrilling and fun moments in it. Just not 4 times as much.
One of the main problems the film has is the choice of director. Why in god's name Fox thought Tim Story the guy who directed the Barbershop movies was the right choice for this franchise is beyond me. The guy has never directed an action scene in his life and it shows. There are some decent sequences here and there but nothing that is really fantastic or that memorable. I admit I did like the bridge sequence where they all get their moniker of the Fantastic Four, as well as some bits between The Thing and Doom at the end, but for the most part? The action is a muddled and forgettable blur. The strongest parts of the film for me are in the performances by Michael Chiklis, Chris Evans, and Ioan Gruffudd. Especially Michael Chiklis. He was a fantastic Thing. The scenes where his wife leaves him after his transformation were truly heartbreaking and he really embodied both Ben and The Thing fantastically well. Chris Evans was also a lot of fun as the hot headed Johnny Storm. It's strange seeing him in this role. I have gotten so used to him as Captain America now, that it's kinda of a shock to see him be so cocky and brash. But he's fun. Could do without some of the EXTREME moments, but other than that? Evans did was very effective in the role as Johnny Storm. And Gruffudd was really solid here too. Nothing especially fantastic but enough to get the job done.
Now Sue on the other hand was awful. I admit that Jessica Alba was hottter than hell in this movie, but that doesn't excuse her flat performance. Her performance in this was full of as much life as a Bratz doll. She looks pretty and that's about it. And Sue is supposed to be much more than just eye candy. I also didn't really care for Julian McMahon as Dr. Doom. He just seemed too wrong for the part and I just felt he was playing Norman Osborn again from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man. His voice did not blend well at with the mask on. And "Marco Polo"? You gotta be fucking kidding me. Holy hell that was lame. McMahon at his best was a poor man's Kevin Spacey. Right down to the same line delivery and mannerisms. I like Kevin Spacey a lot as an actor but even he would have been wrong for this part. Doom is supposed to have a deep intimidating baritone to his voice, not sound like a Soap Opera star. Nip Tuck should have been nipped off the casting couch for this movie. But I have to admit I did like the intensity this Doom showed in his actions. Especially when he blew a hole through some guy's chest.
The special effects at points aren't so special, but for the most part they hold up well for a film made in 2005. Especially the make up effects on The Thing. Yes, they look like orange scales but with makeup effects it enabled Chiklis to actually act under the suit, and give it life. The score is forgettable and points sounds like it belongs in an episode of the 60's Batman TV show, which gives off the wrong vibe entirely. And I kept getting this feeling that the production was trying too hard to make the Fantastic Four hip and cool, and for the most part? It just was not working at all. But I did have fun with the witty banter between Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis, as well as some of the action near the end when the FF went up against Doom. The film is definitely not boring and it has that in it's favor. But it just doesn't leave a lasting impression. This was not fantastic but a nice start to a new franchise that sadly was thrown into the shredder with the next installment, Rise Of The Silver Surfer.
*** Out of five(Average entertainment, not nearly as bad as the rotten tomatoes score suggests, but it's no masterpiece either.)