there is four of them, and they have fantastic powers

The longest running Marvel comic title has made the inevitable transition to film.

The Marvel comics film machine could see it was onto a good thing with the success of Sam Raimi’s Spiderman and Brian Singer’s X-Men adaptations, and even with the forgettable Hulk and Daredevil films there seems to be no stopping it.

This outing goes through the motions, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. Richard Donners’s Superman in 1978 set the template to follow, and this one does not stray too far from it.

The real strength of this film is it’s humanity and humour. The characters are well acted and likable, and the humour makes the most fantastic of situations acceptable.

Hard to believe than an old Australian PM's son would be evil

We have Reed Richards, an idealistic scientist always stretching himself to the future, and his friend Ben Grimm sturdy as a rock in the hardest of times, who are joined by his ex-girlfriend Sue Storm whom he did not fight for, making her feel transparent at times, and her firebrand brother Johnny Storm. Of course there’s Dr Victor Von Doom – he’s the bad guy. Something happens and these folks come away with superpowers. For an interesting view of these powers, check out F4 co-creator Stan Lee’s appearance in Kevin Smith’s Mallrats.

Stan the man Lee

Speaking of Stan the Man, keep an eye out for his mandatory cameo in this as a postman (Excelsior!!). There are a couple of other references here too, Johnnys’ “Got it, supernova – bad” could have come out of Ghostbusters and Ben’s “Maybe it’s missing a utility belt” sounds like a dig at the other big comic adaptation on the screens at the moment.

I can’t understand why Dr V.D.’s scar keeps changing from one side of his face to the other, but he does provide the only really gruesome scene in the film. More offensive is the product placement that really kicks into high gear in the last half hour of the film.

There are the themes that appear in most superhero stories, Good vs Evil, Science vs Nature, Greed vs Generosity and like many of Marvel’s titles, there are aspects of tragedy in this tale, but in the end it comes down to a battle of brute strength.