If you're looking for a fast-paced, entertaining, effects-filled spectacle, but you don't want the angst and artistic aspirations of Batman Begins, or the dispiriting devastation of War of the Worlds, then Fantastic Four may be the summer movie for you.

But those who prefer comic book movies with substantial storytelling, fully-realized characters, thematic depth, and respect for the source material—something along the lines of Spider-Man 2, the X-Men films, or Christopher Nolan's bat-blockbuster—seem disappointed by this rather frivolous feature. One critic in particular, a die-hard fan of the phenomenal foursome's colorful comic book history, is outraged by what he considers to be an insult to the legacy of the Fantastic Four's creators.

Regardless of the reviews, Tim Story's adaptation of one of the most beloved Marvel Comics series has opened to big box office numbers, almost guaranteeing that a sequel will be made. Newcomers Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans, and Julian McMahon, and TV stars Jessica Alba ("Dark Angel") and Michael Chiklis ("The Shield") may not have seemed like big enough names to topple Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds from the top spot, but fans of the comic turned out in large numbers across the nation this week, surprising the studio and reportedly ending the box office slump.

Russ Breimeier (Christianity Today Movies) applauds the movie. "Fantastic Four succeeds in spite of its faults. It's often silly, but it's still somehow all palatable and acceptable. Spider-Man, Batman, and X-Men are all great films, but they tend to rely on heavier drama and angst. Fantastic Four plays more like a television program that's both sitcom and soap, mixing comedy with action and drama." He adds, however, ...

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