Another Marvel franchise (2005’s Fantastic Four and 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer), another scientist/industrial tycoon transformed into a supervillainous monster by his own experiment. In the case of Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon), that means he mutates into a man of metal who can hurl bolts of energy, the result of the same cosmic radiation mishap that befell his four colleagues. They used their mutations for good as the Fantastic Four, but in Victor’s case… well, his name should have been a tipoff toward his predilection for evil and world domination. (Maybe it means something more flattering in Latveria, his fictional native land in Eastern Europe, whose dictator he becomes in the comic books.)
The relationship between him and the heroic quartet is pretty high-school-cafeteria; he’s the dashing rich kid bully who threatens to steal Sue Storm away from nerdy Reed Richards. But as a supervillain, he’s hard to kill. Even the team effort that leaves him a fused lump of metal at the end of the first film isn’t enough to do the job. He shows up again in the sequel, resurrected without explanation, to wreak more havoc, even when he should be teaming up with his four frenemies to thwart a cosmic catastrophe that threatens the planet. McMahon brings to the role much of the same vain arrogance that informed his portrayal of hotshot plastic surgeon Christian Troy on TV’s Nip/Tuck, only without the redeeming glints of humanity and conscience.
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