looking for the fantastic
Many, many critics have opened their reviews of Fantastic Four by making comments about how this movie is not-so-fantastic. I'm going to avoid the easy joke, but it's certainly true that I didn't come away from this film with a lot of disappointment, since I didn't have high expectations.
I personally preferred the more low-tech, less-glossy feel of this movie, in particular the costume for the Thing. Sure, they could have used computer animation and made him look real, but that's not what we go to movies for. And the fact that I knew it was Michael Chiklis inside that costume, and the latex allowed for actual emotion instead of computer-generated expressions . . . well, I think it added to my enjoyment of Ben's character. And it's certainly Ben Grimm who comes across the best in this movie.
The Human Torch has always been my favorite member of the team, since he's just so much fun. Compared to Spider-man, who he's often teamed up with in special mini-series, Johnny Storm is positively giddy. He's immature, a loudmouth, quick to fly off the handle . . . yet you can still count on him to do the right thing. Even more than other Marvel characters, Johnny rings true. I enjoyed Chris Evans' work in this, but he'd have to really get it wrong for me not to enjoy seeing this character on the screen.
I've never really been able to get a handle on Reed Richards or Sue Storm in the comics, and the movie doesn't do anything to help me with that. Unfortunately, I feel that both actors are miscast, and particularly in Jessica Alba's case, I didn't buy her at all. But hey, that's just my opinion. I will say that the presentation of Reed's stretching was very well done--there were shots of him that looked like they were right out of the comic books.
The villian of our piece was well done, at least. Julian MacMahon makes a charismatically creepy Dr. Doom, and really brought the character to life for me. I read that it was MacMahon's idea to have staples closing a wound on Doom's face, rather than a bandage. Very good idea on MacMahon's part.
For people who want more Fantastic Four, you can steer them towards Ultimate Fantastic Four, which has been written by Brian Michael Bendis and Warren Ellis: Volume One, Volume Two, Volume Three.
There's also Mark Waid's highly-praised ongoing work on Fantastic Four: Volume One (Hardcover), Volume Two (Hardcover).
And of course, there's the movie adaptation.