The Fantastic Four in movie history

The Fantastic Four:  Marvel’s first super hero team, The milestone that created the Marvel Age of heroes,  a staple in the Marvel Universe until in 2015 the comic was canceled with issue 645 (that’s a large number). Why? Did you not see that god awful Fantastic Four movie that came out the same year? The way the Disney owned house of ideas is going if you can’t produce a successful film franchise then you need to go away for a while until you can.

I wish I could be more enthusiastic in defending the Fantastic Four’s right to have a comic but in reality, I was never that big of a fan, but from the beginning, I actually thought they of all superheroes would be able to create a very adaptable film.

Here’s the basic story: Reed Richards was a dude who was wicked smart and  wanted to go to Mars. He was able to find funding for his trip with the study of a stellar abnormality happening on his way. This is how Susan and Johnny Storm become part of the crew. Neither one knew anything about space travel (with Johnny Storm being only 16 at the time of the flight), but their daddy put up the cash. The most qualified was Ben Grimm, a test pilot who’s made of the right stuff. So they travel in space get hit by cosmic rays, crash land back on Earth and discover they have great powers as a result..

That’s the core of this superhero team. I think it translates well into movies because they are not like other mask superheroes. This is pretty much a science team that explores the world’s wonders and when they get into trouble they got the muscle to back it up. A little Indiana Jones a little Star Trek with some boss villains to handle and this should make for a grand franchise, right?

But with the first movie adaption, I was proven wrong real fast.

I remember as a kid how the first Fantastic Four movie just  became notorious as the movie so bad it could never been seen.

If you don’t know the story, iconic B-movie film producer, Roger Corman had the rights to make a Fantastic Four movie and as it goes back then you had ten years to make your movie before loosing the rights, so in order to keep those rights, Corman has a movie produced as fast as possible.

The results possibly will go down in history as the worse comic book movie ever made, but in fairness, this has far more to do with the fact that nobody has ever seen the movie only herd it was bad.

I do remember seeing the movie at a comic con a few years after it was not released, but in that content it was not fair to judge, as my attention was not on watching (Although, a good movie should have grab that attention, right?)

While reading a blog about movies so bad they were never released (Fantastic Four was on that list of course). I said to myself I needed to see it again, so I found it on Youtube.

I was anxious to see especially after checking out this crap trailer first.

Already the movie is on a high ground because it’s so bad and I’m dying to see how bad is it.

So how bad is it? Pretty bad. turns out they were absolute right not to release this load of garbage.

From the beginning I can see the problem. The story content (which had a decent structure) was such a complete adaption of the comic book that it felt like they forgot to update the 1961 origin story for a 1994 audience

The way Susan Storm gushed over Reed Richards like a dumb blonde was very embarrassing.

They mention how stupid and dangerous it is that Johnny Storm is a teenage boy that they are allowing to help operate a rocket ship, yet they still allow him to to take the trip, because that’s how it was in the comic thirty years ago.

I don’t want to get on the special  effects too badly. I have a lot of respect for low budget movies that do what they can with what they got. Sometimes it works out really well (Like for instance, I did like the effect of the Human Torch, it’s cheap but it really gets the job done). Sometimes it does not (Any time Mr. Fantastic used his powers), but overall, you need money to do superhero effects (More true in 1994, than it is now, though. Someone else on YouTube today could do a better job with the same budget thanks to technical advancements in cinema)

Plus the cheap special effects met The superheroes could not use their superpowers that often (Not at all, really).

The fault of the movie is how over melodraomatic the whole thing is. It’s based on a comic book so they treated it as such thinking every moment has to be exaggerated like a cartoon for children.

The stiff character acting by all evolved, did not help. Once again, everyone is trying too hard to make a comic book not a movie, so you get those moments when Doom pumps his fist in the air and is like no! and they’re being serious about it.

The costumes…Well give them credit, they made dead on adaptions from the comic book during a time when this was how it was suppose to be done, cause no one told them that it was OK to change the costumes into something that would make sense outside the comics.

The Thing’s get up was pretty cool, but felt more like a Roger Corman creation. Almost like a new artist taking on the Thing.


All the other problems (Geographic continuity, stock music, etc). Make for a pretty lame movie. I can’t even do the so bad it’s good thing as it’s so dry, I have nothing to be amused about.

But I don’t feel bad about not liking it, after all it was made and shelved just so Corman could have another shot at making a profit. I actually herd that he did make money off the the second attempted in 2005 to adapted the Fantastic Four to the big screen.

The next Fantastic Four movie directed by a black dude, Tim Story, had a Mr. Fantastic, played by an actor I do not know, an Invisible woman played by Jessica Alba whose job was to get horny boys into the seats (I’m sorry, no disrespect to the powerful mogul she will become but it’s true), A Human Torch who will oddly become Captain America less than ten years later, but the most impressive part of the main cast was the brilliance of  casting the Shield’s, Michael Chiklis as the ever loving blue eyed Thing.

Chiklis was as perfect as casting Patrick Stewart as Professor X. The right size, the right attitude, from his on personal street swagger to the way he treated the other characters (One of the reasons Chris Evans made a decent Human torch was because of the back and forth with Chiklis).

Chiklis mimics perfectly The Things classic look

Chiklis mimics perfectly The Thing’s classic look

And this is the perfect time to mention how I love Kerry Washington as Alicia Masters, a blind artist who sees the beauty with in The Thing to become his love interest.  Casting a black woman (For a character that was white in the comic) was used to pin point the fact that love is blind, I guess (And if Alicia is blind she does not care what color she or her lover is)

Or does it?

Or does she?

Also loved, Julian McMahon as Dr. Doom, the Antagonist of the film. Riding high off his recent success playing Dr. Christian Troy in the hit FX show, Nip Tuck, McMahon took the lovable ass hole he played on that show and transformed it into the cocky mad scientist, that is Dr. Doom at heart.

To be honest, 20th Century Fox’s attempt to create the second adaptation of the Marvel comic was actually really good. It does a great job of starting with the original 1961 written origin, and adapting that to a story that fits with the turn of the century.

A plus was adding the concept that the Fantastic Four became celebrates when they made their first heroic action. This was a big part of who they are in the comic, like the Tom Cruse of Superheroes, Just flawless (To the public as the Fantastic Four is also known for arguing like you would when you work with family members, something this movie also develop well).

The minus, which is more very tedious of me, is how woven Dr. Doom’s origin is with the Fantastic Four. These comic book superhero movies love to create this world that states that superheroes could not exist without their arch enemies, so The movie rewrites the origin to make it that Dr. Doom was hit by the same cosmic rays in order to intertwine the five for life, meaning that no other Fantastic Four movie will happen without Doom, and is one of the core reasons why The villain in all these marvel movies can be so weak.

But the Bonus, this movie has that the first one does not is Stan Lee, who cameos playing a mail man who was a minor character in the World’s greatest comic book magazine (First time he played one of his own creations in a movie). It was a seal of approval that they did a good job with 2005’s Fantastic Four.

Rise of the Silver Surfer on the other hand..

The Sequel was made because of the original’s minor success. Adapted from a milestone issue of Fantastic Four called the Coming of Galactus, The Fantastic Four help the US government when an alien from space marks the invasion of a being that eats planets, and of course naturally Dr. Doom has to be in it trying to get vast power  for himself.

Interesting enough, it almost seems like everything that made the original movie a hit, was everything that made this movie corny (The same thing happen with The Charles’ Angels movie adaption and it’s equally made but terrible sequel, Full Throttle).

Though the movie’s visualization of Galactus was very cool, Nothing else seem to click like it did in the first movie.  Suddenly the use of the Fantastic Car seemed shitier this time around.

Rise of the Silver Surfer, made money but not enough to justify making another one or the planned spin-off of the movies’ Protagonist/Antagonist The Silver Surfer (If I recall, this was the reason why the Fantastic Four 2 use this subtitle instead of the Coming of Galactus).

But in the ten years since the second attempted Fantastic Four film adaption, the Super hero movie has become a billion dollar industry, and when your making that type of money, you got to get in the game.

Now I’m mostly guessing at the origins of the 2015 reboot, but from what I know about the first three, I think I’m in the ballpark: 20th Century Fox, who distributed 2005’s FF and it’s sequel (They also own the rights to make movies featuring Marvel’s X-Men Characters) Most likely still had the Rights to the Fantastic Four movie franchise, despite Disney now owning Marvel Comics. I’m sure the mouse house wants to get their hands on the property (I mos def know this to be true with the X-Men), but if the ten year waiting period is still true as it was with The deal made with Roger Corman, than it would be in 20th Century Fox’s best interest to give these super heroes a second try

(I like to point out that if the ten year thing is true than technically 20th Century Fox had the same chance to redeem themselves by making a boss reboot of their 2003 failure, Daredevil (Good thing they didn’t, cause the Daredevil series that came out on Netflix in 2014 is the shit)

I was stoked to see them try again. Miles Teller as Mr. Fantastic was a good choice, and (You may hear this a lot on this blog) Micheal B. Jordan was perfect for the Human Torch. Color change aside, the Micheal Jordan of acting was a slam duck as Johnny Storm. Speaking of the 2003 Daredevil movie, Micheal Clark Duncan as the Kingpin was the best part of the film. This black dude was perfectly cast as White Wilson Fisk (But give it up to Vincent D’Onofrio who also killed it playing the villain on he series). Micheal B. Jordan (and Miles Tellar) are the reasons I wanted to see this movie because I thought they made good choices here.

But those were the only good choices this movie seem to make.

I really want to say that this movie is misunderstood, but it’s not it blows, it sucks, it’s lame, it’s one step down from the first Fantastic Four adaption twenty one years earlier?

In a bit of an Ironic Twist, 1994’s version does not stand the test of time because of it’s inability to be contemporary to the era it was made in, while 2015’s version bombed because it tries too hard to be hip with the times.

I though it was great that they made the Fantastic Four a decade of two younger than they are usually. It allowed them to fit well into a world where the Fantastic Four would not be treated as celebrities, but as weapons to fight in the war we are in right now, but too much focus on that was done considering that first and foremost they are a science team.

In a movie so driven by top notch special effects (That 1994’s version could have used), The film spent a lot of time explaining to us how their powers worked rather than showing us the team using said powers (And in this age of superheroes, we expect to see that more)

The story was weak and changed the Fantastic Four’s origin so much that it was no longer the Fantastic Four.

As much as I loved Jordan and Teller, I hated the Jamie Bell as The Thing and Kate Mara as Sue Storm, but the latter is not her fault.

Once again the need to have Doom be the yin to the Fantastic Four’s yang truly screwed this movie up. His involvement with how the Four got their powers met that Sue Storm was barely involved, and that sucks. Especially considering what a lame secondary character Doom became. Doom was barely an antagonist at all, you barely remember Doom was in the picture and yet he’s part of their origin story. It was so stupid.

It’s a shame too. If the reboot was successful this could have opened up a new franchise that could have included tie-ins with The X-Men with both movies being made by 20th Century Fox, thus expanding the the universe they already have and banking more money for the studio, I’m sure.

So now the question is, when Disney gets the rights to the Fantastic Four will they try to make another reboot to the franchise? My guess is a yes. I personally can’t wait for this, as the Marvel Studio movies under the Disney flag are too formulated not to be good (It’s the difference between Captain American; the first Avenger and Captain America: Civil War). Hopefully Ten years form now when it happens, it will put Marvel’s first family in a place they deserve.