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Fantastic Four

Genre: Science Fiction/Comic Books
Rated: PG-13
Directed by
Released by: 20th Century Fox

In Short: The most-loved Marvel Comics series finally comes to the big screen, with enough action and comedy to please Fantastic Four fans of every age.

Not Quite Fantastic, but Definitely Fun
The More Superheroes, the Merrier
By Jenny Peters

As comic-book movies go, "Fantastic Four" is pretty good. Sure, there are silly moments that make you squirm—like when the human wife of "The Thing" (played believably by Michael Chiklis) goes onto a New York City street dressed only in slinky lingerie—but overall this long-awaited adaptation of Marvel Comics' most popular superhero series is satisfying enough to make the young, old, and even the hardcore comic fans happy they went to the movies.

A story about five astronaut/scientists whose outer-space exposure to cosmic radiation transforms them into superbeings, Fantastic Four pits four of the mutants against the fifth, who goes very, very bad as the movie unfolds. There are plenty of funny scenes early on, as the four discover and learn to harness their special powers. Each has a specific talent: Mr. Fantastic, who can stretch his body in any direction; the Invisible Woman, who can not only disappear, but also create impenetrable force fields; the Human Torch, who can set himself on fire while flying; and the Thing, an ultra-strong rock creature who can bust down walls with barely a touch. Combine these heroes with tons of exciting special effects and action sequences, and the flick moves right along. Of course, the story is somewhat predictable; after all, this is a comic-book movie and the good guys have to win.

It's a little hard to swallow Jessica Alba as a crack geneticist (she's the female eye candy in the movie), but otherwise the casting of characters works, with Ioan Gruffudd believable as a brilliant scientist, Chris Evans stealing every scene he's in as the cocky Human Torch, and Julian McMahon bringing a suitably evil edge to his scientist-billionaire businessman gone bad. It doesn't hurt that those three are incredibly handsome as well, proving that eye candy in comic-book movies isn't only for the fan boys.

Despite the PG-13 rating, there's really nothing in the "Fantastic Four" that younger kids (say 9 or older) shouldn't see. There is no blood, no sex, and little violence, so families can go to this one together. And we'll bet that most tweeners and teenagers will love this movie and add an extra star to our rating.

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