Comic Book Movie Rewind
Fantastic Four - 2005
So I’ve decided to take a time machine back to the beginning of superhero movies in order to see how time has treated them, first up is the original Fantastic Four film with a young, studly Chris Evans, the ever stunning Jessica Alba, the handsome and distinguished Ioan Gruffudd and the charming and charismatic Michael Chiklis. I remember loving this film when it first came out, of course I was 8 at the time and the scattered viewings in between then and now were enjoyable, though not done with an analytical eye. So here I go back to 2005 when Marvel’s first family hit the big screen;
Reed is begging Von Doom for an investment, Sue is introduced as a way to rattle Reed and of course we hate Von Doom from the beginning. I will say that the palpable tension between Sue and Reed was done very very well. Johnny’s introduction was very onbrand and Chris Evans as the snarky bad boy just works.
And for the things they did right, they also did bad…Alba walks out in her spacesuit with VERY unnecessary cleavage. Honestly zip her up, get her a bigger suit I don’t care but there is zero reason for her to be going into space with her tits out. And yes this invited a rant; if you actually liked girls you get all you need without them having to expose themselves, Jessica Alba is absurdly hot all zipped up in an ugly gray spacesuit if yall need more convincing than that that you’re straight then that's a you problem.
The big, genetic altering space cloud hits and I’ve gotta say for 2005 the graphics aren’t terrible. It fits the film tonally and it doesn’t look cartoonish the way too many effects or just bad effects do.
The way that the love story between Reed and Sue is really at the forefront of this film and the origin of this team is kind of secondary is actually an amazing angle to take here. It makes the story more character driven which is always the better way to write.
The way that this story revealed each power as that character’s major flaw or insecurity really humanized the superheroes and allowed the audience to connect with them.
Probably a highlight of the film for me is Michael Chiklis’ acting in the scene where he has to call his wife and reveal to her what happened to him. He is just so incredible because you can’t really see facial expressions so he has to rely very heavily on his voice inflection and you can just hear his fear, his longing, his hurt, and his shame and very few actors actually pull that off and it was so brilliantly performed.
The bridge scene, to me, really highlights the accidental damage often done by superheroes in comics and movies. Ben was just trying to help but because of the way people react to him and his inability to understand his strength, he causes more harm than good.
And we have Jessica Alba in her underwear…that's strike 2.
Ben seeing Debbie leave her wedding ring at the bridge is just absolutely heartbreaking and unbelievably sad and Chiklis plays it just so so well, his acting is truly phenomenal and I can’t rave about it enough.
“If you could control your emotional state better” Reed says to Sue…now if you know me, my writing, my podcast, or my Tik Tok rants then you know that my biggest superhero pet peeve is when a female heroes powers are tied to her emotions, so the fact that it was a part of this adaptation is truly disgusting and disappointing but unfortunately not surprising.
“Being different isn’t always a bad thing” - Alicia and Ben’s relationship is so beautiful. The way that she gets him to accept who he is and remind him that he isn’t incapable of receiving love and affection just because his form has changed is so amazing to me. She knows exactly who he is in his heart and he is able to find comfort and safety in her, it's wonderful.
I remember watching this movie and being so enthralled with Sue and Reed and the love story and being in love with Chris Evans and honestly upon rewatching it the only one I care about is Ben. His look of betrayal when he thinks Reed isn’t working terribly hard on turning them back is so good and really his story is the most interesting to follow, it's the one that has the most emotion and heart to it. The other characters have stuff going on but their stories are just simply less compelling. And if you really watch it, the film really is Ben’s story he;s the lynchpin in Victor’s plan to take out Reed, he acts out of intense emotion unknowingly helping Victor, he goes through the most emotional arc of the film and he knows what he has to sacrifice when his friends need him, this is a Ben Grimm story.
ANNNNNNND strike 3, Sue Storm's boots have wedge heels on them for the sole purpose of sexist BS.
Overall the movie is very enjoyable if you take deep breaths through the overtly sexist treatment of Sue Storm, even better if you watch it framed as a Ben Grimm movie.