Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Defending the Fantastic Four films
With Iron Man about to be released in a couple of days and the Incredible Hulk not that far behind,I've been thinking quite abit about the Fantastic Four movies and how they seem to currently hold the redheaded stepchild position in the superhero movie pantheon.
While most of my knowledge of FF lore comes from various cartoon show versions over the years, I do think that the Hollywood take on them has been pretty good and rather more entertaining than many folks want to give them credit for.
So,why don't we look over some of the main objections to the FF on film and see just how much water they hold? As they say,ladies first,therefore I'll start with the future Mrs. Fantastic:
JESSICA ALBA IS MISCAST AS SUE STORM
Now,I'm not about to argue that Jessica Alba is the next Meryl Streep,but having her as Sue Storm is really not as bad as,say,Halle Berry as Catwoman or Nicholas Cage being allowed to be Superman(didn't see Ghost Rider,so I can't comment on that) or not having Angela Bassett as Storm in the X-Men films(my personal pet peeve).
For one thing,Sue Storm is not a solo warrior woman figure like Storm or Elektra or
even the She-Hulk. Yes,I do know that in the comics,she's become a strong maternal figure in her own right who can kick some serious ass,but to be honest,she's always been the girlfriend/wife/sister of the group that men fight over and fight to protect.
Since the current films blend both the early day and the present incarnations of the characters,Alba is more than capable in the role. She certainly has charm enough to slow down the Silver Surfer there as well as inflame the passions of Reed Richards and Victor Von Doom:
THE SILVER SURFER GETS AN EYEFUL OF SISTER STORM
SUE & REED WORKING WELL TOGETHER
JULIAN MCMAHON IS NOT MENACING ENOUGH AS DOCTOR DOOM
Taking on an iconic villain role is just as daunting as donning a superhero one. Doctor Doom is a major player in the Marvel universe,right along side Magneto,The Green Goblin and Galactus.
Granted,I am not the most impartial person in the world when it comes to Julian McMahon but he really bring the egotistical elegance and the ruthless force of the character to life very well onscreen.
Whether he's facing off against the FF,or trying to cut a deal with the Silver Surfer,McMahon's smooth moves enhance any and every scene. It's hard to think of another actor who could make Doctor Doom such a force to be reckoned with,in my humble fangirl opinion:
SHOWDOWN WITH THE SURFER,PART ONE
FOUR AGAINST ONE
THE FF FILMS ARE NOT AS GOOD AS THE X-MEN OR THE SPIDERMAN MARVEL MOVIES
Comparing every movie made from the same comic book company over the years can easily be bogged by personal taste,casting choices and actual like/dislike for the original characters in the first place.
While the first two X-Men and Spiderman films were entertainingly artistic tributes to both the comics and to moviegoers,the third entries were rather lacking. I'll tell you this;I had a much better time watching Fantastic Four:Rise of the Silver Surfer at home on DVD than I did seeing Spiderman 3 on opening day in theaters.
That's not to say that I wouldn't want to catch a third FF movie but you have to admit that the expectations on both X-Men and Spiderman are much higher than with the Fantastic Four or even other Marvel icons like Daredevil(which I liked,yet the Elektra movie spin-off stunk)or The Punisher(an okay movie,at best).
Part of the charm of the FF movies lies in the Saturday matinee style of the storytelling that lets the character have some fun but doesn't skimp on the pathos when needed while not overdoing either element. Look at Johnny Storm(Chris Evans is quite the smartass) and The Thing(Michael Chiklis is picture perfect as Ben Grimm)to further demonstrate my point:
FIRE AND ICE
NOT MUCH OF A HOMECOMING
In conclusion,while the Fantastic Four films may not be the ideal Marvel adaptations for everyone,they're not as bad as they could be. Still don't buy my argument? Then
try and find a copy of the Roger Corman unauthorized FF movie and see just how awful the Fantastic Four saga might have been showcased to the world. I haven't seen that one in it's entirety but a little goes a long way:
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