With the sequel coming out tomorrow (and I more than likely will get out to see it fairly early), I figure I should talk a little about the first Fantastic Four movie.
Well, the first released Fantastic Four movie. I've never seen the legendary Roger Corman version.
Fantastic Four was one of the early wave of comic book movies that came out after the smash success of Spider-Man. It was also more along the lines of "fair" in my ratings. Maybe that's something about team movies. Although X-Men is still highly acclaimed, the main development occurred among Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Wolverine, leaving even poor Rogue relatively neglected, and Storm as almost a total cypher. The attention is spread a bit more evenly in Fantastic Four, but it still never quite grabs you like the other movies did.
Of course, the development of the group's new powers takes rather longer than simply being bitten by a radioactive spider. Having Doctor Doom share their origin is a great way to condense the story into something a two hour movie can handle, while keeping the broad brush strokes of the Von Doom-Richards relationship in the mix. The length of time involved makes it feel a lot slower, though.
The main problem, I think, is that the stakes never seemed very high. The characters were only reasonably developed, and Doom's motives were more petty than megalomaniacal. It's still a fair movie, but only fair.
And let's face it, Stan Lee as Willie Lumpkin, the FF's postman. Who else out there remembers that old comedy issue of What If? that posed the question "What if Willie Lumpkin became Herald of Galactus?"
The sequel, although Rise of the Silver Surfer is a rather silly name, deals with one of the definitive storylines of the original comic run. I'm hoping this is more what Spider-Man 3 wasn't.