Preview by: Jack Foley
MARVEL'S desire to turn each of its super-heroes into movie franchises
shows no sign of letting up given the forthcoming production schedule.
Spider-Man 3 is in
the works, Matthew Vaughn has been signed up to X-Men
3 and there are plenty more ideas in the planning.
The latest new acts on the block, however, make their big screen
debut in July, when The Fantastic Four will be hoping to give
Batman Begins a run for
Marvel's first family of comic superheroes features the adventures
of Reed Richards/Mr Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd), who can elongate
his body; Susan Storm/Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba), who not
only can become invisible at will but can render other objects
invisible; Johnny Storm/Human Torch (Chris Evans), who can shoot
fire from his finger tips and bend flame, and Ben Grimm/The Thing
(Michael Chiklis), a hideously mis-shapen monster with super-human
Their foe is the evil Doctor Doom (Julian McMahon), a former
colleague who has beocme hell-bent on world destruction.
The Fantastic Four in question start out as privately-funded
astronauts who inherit their super-powers following a disastrous
space mission that bombards them with cosmic rays.
No sooner have they come to terms with their new-found ability,
however, then they are thrust into a battle to save the earth
- as all good super-heroes must do.
The film is directed by Tim Story, who previously directed Barber
Shop and who maintains that the film doesn't intend to take itself
too seriously (like some super-hero movies do!).
An early trailer suggests the usual blend of state-of-the-art
special effects and action but is only half of what viewers can
expect to see.
The show-stoppers are reported to
be an early rescue on New York's Brooklyn Bridge and the final
face-off between Doom and the Foursome.
Story, however, warns that he has held back somewhat because
the main fight comes during the last part of the movie - although
it will still deliver plenty of what summer audiences expect.
Whether or not it performs as well as 20th Century Fox is hoping
remains to be seen, given that reaction to a teaser trailer was
The cast, too, is light on A-list talent but does possess a few
potential names for the future - several of whom have already
carved a strong niche for themselves on the small screen.
Chiklis, of course, is a Golden Globe winner for his consistently
excellent performance in The Shield, while McMahon will need no
introduction to Nip/Tuck fans given his outrageous antics in that
Alba, needless to say, provides attractive eye candy, while Gruffudd
is hotly-tipped as the next British success, given his charismatic
turn in King Arthur and the
rumours surrounding the James
Evans, of course, helped to make Cellular
such a shamelessly entertaining success.
The film opens in the UK on July 22 and could well prove to be
another dark horse for Marvel.
See clips from the film and
featurettes on the superheroes