Fantastic Four (2005)
|This article is about the 2005 film. You may be looking for the Fantastic Four (2015).|
"The biggest problem is right now in my opinion: Is the standalone movies."— NordicWarrior
Fantastic Four (not to be confused with the 2015 remake film of the same name) (stylized as Fantastic 4) is a 2005 American-German superhero film based on the Marvel Comics team of the same name, directed by Tim Story and released by 20th Century Fox. The film stars Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon, and Kerry Washington. The film received mixed-to-negative reviews but was a box office success earning $330.6 million on a $100 million budget.
Dr. Reed Richards, a genius but timid and bankrupt physicist, is convinced evolution was triggered millions of years ago on earth by clouds of cosmic energy in space, and has calculated that one of these clouds is soon going to pass near Earth. Together with his friend, the gruff yet gentle astronaut Ben Grimm, Reed convinces his equally brilliant but conceited MIT classmate Dr. Victor Von Doom, now CEO of Von Doom Industries, to allow him access to his space station to test the effects of exposure to the cloud on biological samples. Von Doom agrees, in exchange for control over the experiment and a majority of the profits from whatever benefits it brings. He brings aboard his chief genetics researcher (and Reed's ex-girlfriend from MIT) Susan Storm and her reckless brother Johnny Storm, a young astronaut who was Ben's subordinate at NASA but is his superior on the mission.
The quintet travels to space to observe the cosmic energy clouds, but Reed has miscalculated and the clouds materialize well ahead of schedule. Reed, Susan, and Johnny leave the shielded station to rescue Ben who has gone on a space-walk to place the samples, and Victor closes the shield behind them. Ben receives full exposure out in space, while the others receive a more limited dose within the station. They return home but soon begin to develop strange powers. Reed is able to stretch as rubber; Susan can become invisible and create force fields, especially when angered; Johnny can engulf himself in fire at temperatures in excess of 4000 K (erroneously described as supernova-themed in the film), and is able to fly; and Ben is transformed into a large, rock-based creature with superhuman strength and durability. Victor meanwhile faces a backlash from his stockholders due to the publicity from the failed mission and has a scar on his face from an exploding control console he was near during the cloud's pass.
Ben returns home to see his fiancée Debbie, but she cannot handle his new appearance and flees in fear. He goes to brood on Brooklyn Bridge and accidentally causes a traffic pile-up while stopping a man from committing suicide. The four use their various powers to contain the damage and prevent anyone from being hurt. While the public cheer them for their efforts, Ben sees his fiancée leave her engagement ring on the ground and run. Reed hands a heartbroken Ben the ring and vows to find a way to turn him back to normal. The media dubs them "The Fantastic Four" for their efforts. Victor watches the news story and is told that his company is lost now, the group's fame overriding the company's fate with the media. The four move into Reed's lab in the Baxter Building to study their abilities and find a way to return Ben to normal. Victor offers his support in their efforts but blames Reed for the mission's failure, the lights flickering as he grows enraged.
Reed tells the group he will construct a machine to re-create the storm and reverse its effect on their bodies, but warns it could possibly accelerate them instead. However, Johnny refuses to give up his powers and uses them to help him win extreme sports thus exposing Reed, Susan, and Ben's abilities to the public which leads to a small fight between him and Ben after making fun of them. Johnny claims that these new powers are a “higher calling”. Meanwhile, Victor continues to mutate, his arm turning into an organic metal and allowing him to produce bolts of electricity, and he begins plotting to use his new powers to take his revenge. Victor drives a wedge between Ben and Reed, as the group's research has allowed him to rekindle his relationship with Susan. Reed and Ben argue, with Ben walking out in a rage. Susan soon scolds Johnny on how he is using his powers just to gain popularity. This motivates Reed to attempt the machine on himself, but he cannot generate the power needed to push the storm to critical mass. Victor hears Reed tell Susan this through security cameras and has Ben brought to the lab. Ben is placed in the machine and Doom uses his abilities to produce the electricity needed to power it, turning Ben back to normal and accelerating Doom's condition, causing much of his body to turn to metal. Victor knocks the human Ben unconscious and kidnaps Reed.
Victor – now calling himself "Doom" – dons a metal mask to hide his physical deformities and incapacitates Reed using a super-cooling unit. Doom fires a heat-seeking missile at the Baxter Building to kill Johnny, and Johnny flies through the city to evade it, lighting a garbage barge on fire to trick it. Susan rushes to confront Doom as Ben begins to regret his decision to turn normal. Susan frees Reed and battles Doom but is outmatched - Ben arrives to save her, transformed into The Thing again by reusing the machine. The battle spills into the streets, and the four assemble to battle Doom. Johnny and Susan combine their powers to wrap Doom in an inferno of intense heat, and Ben and Reed douse him with cold water, inducing thermal shock and freezing Doom in place.
As an epilogue, Ben informs Reed that he has accepted his condition with the help of Alicia Masters, a blind artist for whom he has developed feelings, and the team decide to embrace their roles as superheroes and unite officially as the Fantastic Four. Reed proposes marriage to Susan, who accepts and they share a kiss. Meanwhile, Doom's statuesque remains are being transported back to his homeland of Latveria when the dockmaster's electronic manifest briefly experiences electronic interference.
Not So Fantastic Qualities?
- There's absolutely no super-heroes action whatsoever aside from the bridge scene and climax; most of the movie is exposition and the characters coping with their powers.
- Kerry Washington does an extremely horrible portrayal as Alicia Masters, and the character was blackwashed.
- Two of the main characters do not have the same personalities as they did in the comics.
- Johnny Storm is an unlikable douche for most of the movie. He's completely immature, he doesn't follow certain orders and he has little-to-no character development whatsoever.
- Victor Von Doom is a horrible villain; he doesn't threaten any of the Fantastic Four team except for a few times, and he doesn't turn into Dr. Doom until the near end of the film. Some felt like he became a copy of Norman Osborn from the Sam Raimi Spider-Man film.
- Reed Richards is the blandest member of the Fantastic Four. He is a generic genius.
- Why did Ben's wife Debbie rushed to the Brooklyn Bridge just to dump Ben after he saved the firefighters from falling to their deaths? It's a very mean-spirited moment and it'll make you very angry.
- Some scenes are very unnecessary and serve as a running gag, like Sue stripping naked in public to save Ben and again to run away from a crowd of fans.
- Some of the CGI and special effects are extremely cartoonish and terrible including Mr. Fantastic's stretching skin.
- It heavily takes place on Earth and not in different parts of the universe like in the comics. One scene takes place in a space station, though.
- There is several product placement throughout the movie from Pepsi, ESPN, X Games, Activision, XBOX, Dell, Samsung, Burger King, and Brisk.
- Johnny says the dated "Priceless" slogan from MasterCard.
- Jessica Alba was miscast as Sue Storm, and her character is somewhat sexualised.
- It was released a year after The Incredibles, a more well-received dysfunctional superhero family film.
- Latveria isn’t seen in the film at all and is only mentioned once.
- The marketing only showcased the action scenes with only a few parts of the humor.
- The Supernova technique is scientifically inaccurate, which caused a plot hole by the end.
- Pointless pop culture references to Peter Pan, Scarface and The Flintstones.
- Alicia referred to God as a female, which could be blasphemous to Christians and Jewish people like Ben.
- Some scenes were affected by reshoots after the producers saw The Incredibles, such as where Doom kills Ned Cecil by shooting a bolt to his chest rather than electrocuting him with a puddle of water.
- There was a gratuitous implied off-screen sex scene between Johnny and Nurse Kelly, which would be too much for a PG-13 rated superhero movie.
- There were some cameos from Canadian reporters even though the film is set in New York.
- The Latverian language at the boat by the end is poorly translated Russian.
- The very end was sequel-bait, where Doom gets sent to Latveria.
- The grasp of the source material is good, especially compared to the later 2015 reboot and the fact that Tim Story is a fan of the comics. It kept the lighthearted tone that the franchise was known for.
- The extended edition is better to watch and adds 20 extra minutes of footage. For example:
- There is some needed character development where a woman calls out Johnny Storm for throwing fireballs near her, resulting in the more heroic Human Torch by the end.
- There is a well-animated opening credits scene that is reminiscent of the first Raimi Spider-Man film.
- The Thing’s backstory and romance with Alicia are elaborated on with more screen time.
- Clever Easter eggs featuring Wolverine and H.E.R.B.I.E.
- Doctor Doom is more active in taking down the Fantastic Four.
- The Puppet Master was mentioned by Alicia, her stepdaughter.
- Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm/The Thing was a great casting choice, and his makeup and costume look impressive as well. Like Story, Chiklis is a big fan of the comics and his performance got a seal of approval from Stan Lee. The other actors aside from Washington are pretty good.
- Decent soundtrack by John Ottman. He made a memorable leitmotif for the Fantastic Four. The licensed music including "Everything Burns" and "Come On, Come In" is good, too.
- The final battle is somewhat awesome.
- Great funny moments here and there such as "Don't do drugs!" and "Where are your ears?"
- The dialogue is surprisingly memorable, especially from the Thing, Doom, Sue, and Johnny. Examples include "I don't want to understand it!", "You guys look like an '80s rock band" and "So you could play Twister with your girlfriend while I'm the freak of the week?!"
- The skiing scene is neat to look at with Sum 41's "Noots" in the background.
- Stan Lee cameos as a character he created, making him a one-scene wonder.
- As unlikeable Johnny can be, all of his hilarious dialogue was improvised by Chris Evans.
- Rather than just being the sole female member of the team, Sue is able to use her anger for a motherly effect.
- Ben Grimm’s subplot is surprisingly tear-jerking.
- Unlike the 2015 reboot, the film gives a more believable origin story to the Thing's catchphrase where he learned it from a prototype Thing toy.
- The chemistry between the main cast is good.
- There are some good nods to the comics such as where the Thing said he used to smoke and Sue was referred to by Johnny as the Invisible Girl.
- The costumes heavily resemble their comic book counterparts.
- The film is a considerable improvement over the Roger Corman film. Unlike that film, this film has a more balanced tone and no low-budget cheap effects.
- The sets including the Baxter Building are realistic.
- The effects for the Human Torch, Sue, and Doom are above average.
- While most Marvel movie villains at the time overreact, Doom is more subtly creepy.
- “You always think, but you don’t act.” This promotes character development for Reed.
- Paul Walker was originally considered for the role of Johnny Storm.
- Zak Penn wrote an early draft that would be the basis for the more well-received video game released in June 2005. Simon Kinberg also wrote an uncredited draft. He was credited in the extended cut.
- Hugh Jackman, George Clooney, and Brendan Fraser were all considered for the role of Reed Richards. Jackman turned it down in favor of X-Men: The Last Stand despite a Wolverine cameo in the extended cut.
- Ali Larter, Julia Stiles, Kate Bosworth, Scarlett Johansson, Rachel McAdams, Elizabeth Banks, KaDee Strickland, and Renée Zellweger were all considered for the role of Sue Storm. Johansson and McAdams would go on to play Black Widow and Christine Palmer in the MCU.
- James Gandolfini and John C. Reilly were considered for the role of Ben Grimm.
- Tim Robbins was considered for the role of Doctor Doom. Nicolas Cage was going to play Doctor Doom and even has concept art finished but had to drop out.
- Jessica Alba met her future husband Cash Warren (Tim Story's assistant) while filming in Vancouver in August 2004. She got pregnant with her first child 3 months after the film's sequel came out. They got married in May 2008 and eventually had 2 more kids.
- Chris Evans, the actor who played Johnny Storm, would go on to play Captain America in the MCU.
- It is the first Marvel film directed by a Black person, predating Black Panther by 13 years.
- The film would have been released on July 4th, 2005 but was delayed to prevent competition with War of the Worlds.
- This film and its sequel have gained a cult following and source of memes for those who grew up in the 2000s and for being more close to the comics than Trank’s reboot. Tim Story, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon, and Rise of the Silver Surfer actor Doug Jones approved of the following. The following also coined #ReleaseTheStoryCut and #RestoreTheStoryverse for restoring Doug Jones' original Silver Surfer voice and a future animated film with the cast returning.
- Jessica Alba auditioned for Susan Storm because she wanted to play a superhero since childhood.
- The screenplay is inspired by 1984's Ghostbusters, according to the crew DVD commentary.
- Jessica Alba had a kidney infection while filming the VDI Space Station scene with Julian McMahon.
- Chris Evans would have reprised his role in Deadpool 2.
- This movie was avaliable to subscribe and watch on Disney+ as of Novermber 12, 2019.