Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA/Germany, 2005. Twentieth Century Fox, Constantin Film, Marvel Enterprises, 1492 Pictures, Kumar Mobiliengesellschaft mbH & Co. Projekt Nr. 2 KG. Screenplay by Mark Frost, Michael France, based on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby. Cinematography by Oliver Wood. Produced by Avi Arad, Bernd Eichinger, Ralph Winter. Music by John Ottman. Production Design by Bill Boes. Costume Design by Jose Fernandez. Film Editing by William Hoy.
Another popular comic book reaches the big screen, with less than fantastic but still enjoyable results. While five researchers are conducting investigative work on a space station above earth, a dangerous solar flare envelops their craft before they have a chance to get under cover. Instead of killing them, as would have happened to people who aren’t in a movie, the event leaves four of them with mutated bodies that possess some incredible powers, while the fifth (Julian McMahon), the boss who financed the entire operation, appears relatively untouched. Ioan Gruffudd can suddenly stretch and contort his body without limit, Jessica Alba can turn invisible, Chris Evans can set himself on fire without physical harm, and Michael Chiklis has permanently turned into a huge, melancholy behemoth made of rock. While struggling to accept their new identities as local superheroes, their former employer shows up with plans to do some pretty destructive things to the city and forces them into action as world protectors. The plotting is far too pedestrian and predictable to make for an exhilarating film along the lines of Spider-Man 2, but the visual effects are good and the characters played by the mostly television star cast are appealing.