Another Marvel comic book movie for 10-year-old boys— in the vein of "X-Men" — splashes across the screen with special effects that fall short of exemplifying the source material’s action and its eccentric characters. Astrophysicist Dr. Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd – "Black Hawk Down") and his crew of astronauts get caught in a cosmic storm while researching mysteries of the human genetic code under the immediate supervision of billionaire industrialist Victor Von Doom (Juilan McMahon). The crew suffers side effects that leave Reed able to elongate his body; his love interest Sue Storm (Jessica Alba) is able to become invisible at will; Sue’s brother Johnny (Chris Evans) becomes a human torch, and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) turns into The Thing — a strongman made of stone. In spite of the dubious quality of his "rock" costume Michael Chiklis steals the movie with an outstanding performance. Director Tim Story ("Barbershop") sets an uneven tempo for the embarrassingly clunky script by Michael France ("Hulk") and Mark Frost ("Storyville").
Rated PG-13, 100 mins. (C-) (Two Stars)
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