Ever hear about the family of superheroes where each member possesses a unique superpower? One of them can stretch like rubber into a variety of shapes and functions. Another is virtually indestructible with superhuman strength and endurance. Then there's this girl that can turn herself invisible and also generate protective force fields. And don't forget the hotshot youngster obsessed with speed and able to engulf himself in flames.
Sounds an awful lot like The Incredibles, right? Pixar's 2004 computer-animated smash may have been in development for several years, but that movie was clearly inspired in part by the Fantastic Four, the longest-running series in Marvel Comics' history. Though it debuted in 1961—before Spiderman, the X-Men, and the Hulk— "the superhero world's most famous dysfunctional family" has so avoided the move from page to screen. Part of this is due to visual effects technology (it's easier to fake flight or strength than it is to show elasticity). But more importantly, recent comic book films have become legitimized, thanks to smarter scriptwriting that focuses on character development and substantial storylines over stylistic art design.
Still, is the public ready for yet another superhero movie, or have audiences become oversaturated? For every hugely successful adaptation in the last five years (Spiderman, X-Men, Batman Begins), there have been at least as many flops (Hulk, Daredevil, Elektra). Fantastic Four is neither of these, though it at least delivers enough to do the genre more credit than harm.
Like any superhero debut, this is another origin movie, focusing on the relationships and developments of the four central characters. Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd of 2004's King Arthur) ...1
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