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Film: Fantastic Four
aka: Fantastic Four Rise Of The Silver Surfer
Susan Storm: You don't want to walk around on fire for the rest of your life, do you?
Johnny Storm: Is that a trick question?

The film adaptation of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's the comic book of the same name. Or rather, it is based on the same general continuity and universe as the original comic with some elements borrowed from Ultimate Fantastic Four.

For the never-released 1990s film adaptation, see The Fantastic Four. For the 2015 Continuity Reboot, see The Fantastic Four (no relation to the aforementioned film).

There are two movies in the Fantastic Four movie franchise:

Fantastic Four (2005)

Ten years after the first Ash Can Copy adaptation in 1994, Constantin Films, still holding the movie rights, were confident that such a big project was possible. The result was a $100 million film directed by Tim Story and starring Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, and Chris Evans as the titular Fantastic Four. The movie explored their origin story and the subsequent battle with Victor Von Doom.

Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer (2007)

The sequel, which is about...The Silver Surfer, the "herald" for the planet-consuming being Galactus, who in this movie is a giant planet-eating cloud. Loosely based on the Ultimate Marvel Gah Lak Tus Trilogy written by Warren Ellis.

Incidentally; the movie brought to light a What Could Have Been story behind the story; that of the 1992 short film featuring the Silver Surfer, which broke every rule in Hollywood's book to even exist, and which was also the first film to utilize the CGI software which would later be made famous for creating the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park.

The two films in the current franchise provide examples of:

  • Action Girl: Sue, of course. Also Cpt. Frankie Raye. (Nova from the comic books)
  • Adaptational Intelligence: The film Ben Grimm (also known as The Thing) is a lot smarter than his comic book counterpart (though even in the comic book some writers have explained that Ben employs Obfuscating Stupidity..) For example in Rise of the Silver Surfer he instantly deduces that a picture taken of Silver Surfer arriving in Earth's atmosphere isn't a comet because "the trail is wrong". This is quite apt considering that Ben, like the rest of the Four, is a trained astronaut.
  • A God Am I: Victor starts thinking this way once he embraces his powers. Sue notes that he always thought of himself as above others, though.
    Sue: Victor, you always thought you were a god.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Ben in the second movie is initially incredulous when Johnny claims to have seen a "Silver Surfer", despite the fact that most of the people in the room have superpowers and his body has been transformed into pure rock?!
  • All Your Powers Combined: Johnny at the end of the second movie. After being a screw up due to his unstable form for most of the movie he uses it to his advantage at the end.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version of the first film uses "Kirikirimai" by Orange Range as its theme song, which interestingly is also on the American soundtrack.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Surprisingly averted in the sequel. The director actually stated that he didn't want to pepper the film because he was happy with its PG rating. It helps that the FF's adventures and tone have almost always been rather family-friendly.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Reed, in a Call Back to Victor's speech while freezing him with liquid nitrogen: "What happens when you rapidly cool hot metal?"
  • Badass Boast: Reed, and it was taken almost word-for-for from the Warren Ellis comic book:
    General Hager: Let me make it clear for you and your band of freaks here; I'm the quarterback. You're on my team. Got it? but I guess you never played football in high school, did you, Richards?
    Reed: No, you're right. I didn't. I stayed in and studied like a good little nerd. And fifteen years later, I'm one of the greatest minds of the 21st century; I'm engaged to the hottest girl on the planet; and the big jock who played quarterback in high school? He's standing in front of me asking for my help. And I say he's not gonna get a damn thing, unless he does exactly what I tell him, and starts treating me and my friends with a little respect.
    (Beat)
    General Hager: ...Give him what he wants.
  • Beast and Beauty: Ben and Alicia, though the fact that she's blind helps.
  • Beta Couple: Ben and Alicia, Johnny and Frankie.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Deleted scenes reveal that since his transformation Ben no longer sweats, he gets dusty.
  • Bouquet Toss: Johnny shoots it in midair when it looked like Frankie would catch it.
    Johnny: Sorry, reflex.
  • Brain Bleach: Johnny's reaction to Sue stripping down: "I'm gonna need therapy."
  • Captain Obvious: In the sequel when Reed caught sight of Sue with Johnny's powers.
    Sue: I'm on fire!
    Reed: You're on fire!
    Sue: You think?
  • Car Fu: Ben
    I'm gonna need to borrow your car.
    The transmission sticks!
    Not gonna be a problem. *accentuated last word with toss*
  • The Casanova: Johnny.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Stan Lee is BOTH Willie Lumpkin and... well, Stan Lee. Wrap your mind around THAT, true believers.
    • Unless, in the second movie, that was supposed to be Willy Lumpkin trying to pass as Stan Lee. After all, when he says he is Stan Lee, nobody believes him.
  • Chase Scene: A flying chase scene.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Johnny going "Supernova".
  • Creator Cameo: Stan Lee
  • Chrome Champion: More like Chrome Creep with Victor Von Doom.
    • The Silver Surfer later plays it pretty straight, though.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In Rise, after Victor steals the Surfer's board, it changes from silver to black.
  • Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Doctor Doom is largely referred to as "Victor".
    • The Four themselves are only very rarely called by their codenames, Ben in particular because calling him "The Thing" is seen as unnecessarily cruel.
      • Sue also takes offense to being called the Invisible Girl.
  • Cool Car: The Fantasticar from Rise of the Silver Surfer.
    Johnny: (sees the "Dodge" logo on the front) Hemi?
    Reed: Of course!
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Super-powered Johnny versus Doctor Doom in Rise. Doctor Doom acquires the Surfboard of the Silver Surfer- which allows him to fire stupidly powerful energy blasts- and to combat that, Johnny grabs the powers of the entire team to take him down. Doom never even gets a single shot off.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Johnny and Ben.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Captain Frankie Raye.
  • Deleted Scene: The DVD Extended Edition, which includes all deleted scenes (such as Ben and Alicia's romance) is a much better watch than the theatrical release.
  • Demoted to Extra: In the comics, Alica Masters (Ben's blind girlfriend) was the one who appealed to the Surfer's "humanity" and convinced him to save the world from Galactus. Here, Sue is given that job, and Alicia is only given two scenes in the sequel.
    • She only has two scenes in the first movie too, so while it's a demotion from the comics it's a pretty consistent (if minor) role in the films.
  • Die or Fly: Johnny
  • Disney Death: In the sequel, Sue is wounded by the now cosmic-powered Doom while she is protecting the weakened Surfer. She succumbs to her wound after Doom is defeated, by with his own powers restored the Surfer quickly heals her.
  • Disposable Superhero Maker: Played With; the cosmic storm is a once-in-millenia event but Reed manages to recreate it in his lab (yeah) and... well, we don't know what exactly he did with the machine, 'cause it's never revealed in the movie.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Subverted. It looks for a second like Reed is staring at Sue in her skin-tight outfit; but then...
    "Wow! Fantastic! Material made from self-regulating unstable molecules!"
  • Dramatic Irony: The scene shot from Ben Grimm's POV, when he wakes up after being hit by the cosmic storm. Everyone watching the film knows he turns into the Thing, so when Johnny Storm says, "Everyone else is fine." we think we know what's wrong with Ben. Then it turns out that Johnny is making fun of Ben's human looks.
    Johnny Storm: I'm sorry, but the doctors just couldn't do anything to fix your face.
  • Dysfunction Junction: At least in the comics they never came into actually trying to hurt each other...
  • Eldritch Abomination: Galactus (called Gah Lak Tus here).
  • Enemy Mine: They team up with Dr. Doom in the sequel to get the Silver Surfer.
  • Even the Guys Want Him:
    • Chris Evans. It was even parodied in the second movie.
      Sue(to Reed): I am so hot for you right now...
      Johnny: Me too!
    • Ioan Gruffudd is, in all seriousness, quite a dashing fellow and managed to bring a lot of charm to the character of Reed Richards. Especially the scene in the first film where he stretches his chin to parody Superman and/or Batman from the animated series.
  • Every Helicopter Is A Huey: In the sequel, as the team are flown over the Thames in a pair of Hueys. Since the US military long since phased out the Huey and the British military never used them at all, it's anyone's guess where on Earth they even got the things unless they raided an air museum.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Sue Richards wants to be seen.
  • Expy: General Hager from Rise Of The Silver Surfer was originally supposed to be Nick Fury, but this had to be changed at the last minute due to rights issues (Fox owns film rights to the FF, while Marvel Studios has rights to Fury). It's especially obvious since one of Hager's conversations with Mr. Fantastic is taken almost word-for-word from a conversation between Mr. Fantastic and Nick Fury in Ultimate Extinction.
  • Fakeout Escape: There's a sequence in Rise of the Silver Surfer (imported from the original comics) where Sue turns invisible when government officials come to check on her, then runs out the doorway during their confusion.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Doom is responsible for this in two instances
    • In the first film, he blasts a hole in a character.
    • In the sequel, Doom actually blasts apart one whole side of a military-officer's body. Sure, it turns to ash and there's no blood and gore, but it's in a PG-rated film.
  • Fanservice: Both the Storm siblings have a lot of Shirtless Scenes. This is also the primary reason Alba was cast as Sue.
  • Flaming Emblem: At the end of the second film, the team forms the "4" logo out of the exhaust from their jets with Johnny putting the finishing touches on it.
  • Flying Firepower: Johnny Storm, the human torch.
  • Genius Bruiser: One of the few versions where Ben Grimm (The Thing) is just as clever and savvy as you'd expect from a former test pilot and astronaut. Even Book Dumb is averted with him.
    • This is best seen in RotSS when Reed is given photos of a 'comet' (actually the Silver Surfer) that's entered the Earth's atmosphere. Reed immediately hands the photos to Ben, who points out that the object can't be a comet because "the trail's all wrong". A subtle but brilliant nod to Ben's astronaut career.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the sequel, when Sue gets the Human Torch's powers, her clothes burn off, which means for a short period of time, she was naked. But that also means she was naked while on fire, and you can clearly see her breasts bouncing about during that time.
  • Gratuitous Russian: In a wild example of As Long as It Sounds Foreign, the name of the Latverian ship in the Sequel Hook. "Головка пальца ноги" stands for "Head of toe" and made the scene obscenely yet understandably hilarious for Russian viewers.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Reed and Ben don't have much difficulty figuring out their powers but Sue and Johnny have a some trouble with it at first. This is the rare franchise to manage this again in the sequel with the four struggling to use each other's powers. Though ben still seems to get the hang of Johnnny's powers when they first switch.
    • Justified with Ben as his powers learning curve largely centre around controlling his own strength. Reed to a lesser degree as his mainly involves extending his reach and not any form of energy projection.
  • Idiot Ball: In Rise... General Hager... It's one thing when the military does not trust superheros. It is another thing when that same general agrees to work with the guy who is not only WORSE than what you believe, but also took all of the Fantastic Four to defeat him in the previous film. Nice judgement, Hager.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: In the second film, when Surfer!Doom whips up a tornado for the Fantastic Four. "Let's all go...FOR A SPIN!!"
  • Invisible Streaker: In the first movie, Sue is forced to strip naked in the middle of a bridge because her clothes don't turn invisible along with her skin. A pretty egregious piece of fanservice, considering her powers were designed specifically to rectify this problem (she makes herself invisible by projecting forcefields that refract light, and should make everything within them invisible). Possibly justified at this point, as she was still learning to use her powers.
  • Ironic Echo:
    Doom to Reed: What happens to rubber when it's super-cooled?
    Reed to Doom: Time for your lesson - Chem 101. What happens when you rapidly cool hot metal?
  • I Warned You: Ben gleefully rubs it in when he rescues Reed from Doom's liquid-nitrogen trap.
  • I Will Show You X: When Johnny and Ben discuss Ben's sex life.
    Johnny: I've been wondering. How do you and Alicia... *clicks his tongue in lieu of finishing the sentence*
    Ben: That's none of your business!
    Johnny: Okay, okay! I'm just concerned, that's all. I don't want to wake up one morning and find out she was killed in a rockslide!
  • Jerk Ass: Johnny's over enthusiasm could be explained for himself, but his joking at and exploitation of Ben honestly makes you wish you could smash up his pretty car too.
  • Jumped at the Call: The Human Torch, but only because there was no higher calling than getting girls and making money.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Whilst it doesn't last long, Johnny accidentally switching powers with Ben & becoming the Thing after all the crap he puts Ben through. Ben clearly enjoyed it.
  • Layman's Terms:
    Reed: If we're going to identify the source of the mutation, we need to isolate your recombinant DNA so we can activate positional genomes.
    Ben: Huh?
    Sue: We need to do a physical in order to see what got zapped.
    Ben: Oh.
  • Leader Wannabe: When the Four's powers are first revealed to the world, Johnny tries to claim the leader position when a cop asks which of them it is. The cop quickly laughs him off and Reed steps up.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: Force Fields, only threatened though.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Thing retains this status from his comic book version. No mean feat, considering Mike Chiklis is weighed down by several kilograms of makeup.
    • In the second movie, the makeup had improved to be lighter and allow Chiklis more freedom (in the first movie he couldn't even sit down while wearing the full costume and makeup). This means that he gets even faster and more dangerously agile in the sequel.
  • Logo Joke: The two movies—released by 20th Century Fox—featured the TCF logo segue into the page-flipping Marvel logo. The Marvel logo also has a logo joke of its own, featuring only Fantastic Four panels and making the background behind "MARVEL" blue (like the F4 outfits) instead of the traditional red. Sadly, the extended cut of the 2005 movie removes the segue between the logos.
  • Look Ma, No Plane!: In the second movie, the Human Torch flies next to the plane in which the rest of the Fantastic Four is flying, annoying the Thing.
    • He doesn't fly coach!!
  • Misguided Missile: Johnny does this.
  • Moment Killer:
    Victor: I have four words. Four little words that can change our lives forever...
    Reed: THE CLOUD IS ACCELERATING!
  • Ms. Fanservice: Sue. Or more accurately, Jessica Alba. Even more specifically, Jessica Alba in a skintight spandex jumpsuit. Lampshaded during the 2005 film. She also gets all her clothes burned off when she and Johnny switch powers in the sequel. In front of a whole load of people. At least in the first movie she still has her underwear. Which she has to take off so no one can follow her... Alba reports that her death scene in the second movie was reshot with the direction to die sexier. Made even more obvious since her power is to bend perceptions or something to that effect. Opinions vary whether her stripping it off is justified in-universe.
  • Mundane Utility: Johnny makes popcorn using his powers. Ben uses Thing-strength to squeeze orange juice. Reed uses his stretching to write on blackboards far away from him, and to retrieve toilet paper from another room. The Four's uniforms are modified from the underclothes they wore on the space station.
  • Mythology Gag: The Thing saying, "You know, I used to smoke." Also:
    Johnny: That's the Invisible Girl!
    Sue: "Girl"?
    • Stan Lee's cameo doubles for this in the second movie; in the film, he was turned away from Reed and Sue's wedding, just as he (and Jack Kirby) were for the wedding in the comic.
    • Johnny getting the powers of all his teammates makes him very similar to FF nemesis Super Skrull. He even hits Doom with a stretchy rock covered flaming fist.
    • The Puppetmaster, Alicia's stepfather, is given a brief mention in one of the deleted scenes.
    • The cloud of Galactus features a brief shadow of his helmet as shown here
    • During an examination, Ben mentions that he used to smoke. The Thing used to smoke cigars in the comics, until Joe Quesada became editor-in-chief in the mid-nineties, and issued a mandate banning all images of smoking across all Marvel Comics publications.
      • In the extended version there's a scene (right before he's "cured" by Doom) of Ben on a bench with his hand to his mouth that makes it look like he's smoking. Turns out it's just cold.
  • Nice Girl: Alicia Masters.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: The reason Sue leaves the safety of the shields to help the others.
  • Not His Sled: Frankie Raye in a film involving Galactus? Surely she will become his herald Nova... or not. She remains as a normal human throughout the movie.
  • Not Quite Back to Normal: Doom is healed of his metallic scars on his skin after the Silver Surfer lands an energy blast on him. Even so, his electricity powers from the first movie is retained.
  • The Notable Numeral: 4. Written on the sky, in case you missed in on their chests.
  • Oh Crap: The 4's reaction to Victor reappearing before them in the flesh in the sequel.
  • Pedestrian Crushes Car: The Thing clobbers a semi-truck to save someone.
  • Personal Arcade: A Hydro Thunder sit-down game appears in the Baxter Building in the second movie, but no indication which of the team actually plays it.
  • Power Perversion Potential: "Is it true what they say about him, that he can expand any part of his anatomy?" Cue "whooooooo"s from the girls standing around.
    • To say nothing of Johnny riding the elevator on the Baxter Building up & down all day, and raising the temperature whenever a hot chick stepped in so that she wound up taking her clothes off...
  • Powers as Programs: In the first movie, Reed figures out how to remove and restore their powers, which gives Ben Grimm a chance to quickly get over his angst.
    • In the second movie, Johnny's form becomes unstable, causing him to swap powers with the others whenever they touch.
  • Race Lift: Alicia Masters was white in the comic books.
  • Re Cut: The Extended Edition, which adds in scenes fleshing out Ben and Alicia's romance as well as a different title sequence that provides some backstory.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: "Fantastic Proposal," the music John Ottman wrote for the final scene of the first film (not counting The Stinger), is tracked into the scene where Reed and Sue finally get married in Japan in the sequel (Ottman's original piece can be heard on the soundtrack album).
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Possibly averted, as Reed wanted to use his research to benefit the handicapped and the sick, but it wouldn't work as stated.
  • Sacrificial Planet: In Rise of the Silver Surfer, after the Surfer inadvertently interrupts Richard and Sue's wedding and nearly causes a helicopter crash, Richard discovers energy signatures in the cosmos matching the Surfer that correlate to destroyed planets.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: The Four feel compelled to use their powers for good... often at the cost of their personal lives and relationships, as seen in the wedding opening of the second movie.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Debbie. We don't know anything about her and she is never heard of again after she dumps Ben. This was completely intentional though.
  • Sequel Hook: Both endings, conspicuously.
  • Skunk Stripe: The movie shows how Reed got his, part cosmic radiation, part obsessive guilt over the accident that caused their powers.
  • Snow Means Cold: Subverted when the Surfer's passage causes snow to fall on the Great Sphinx outside Giza, Egypt ... without a corresponding drop in temperature.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Victor. He only raises his voice once over the course of the two movies, during a point when he was more desperately angry than evil. Everywhere else it's smooth, softspoken sinister sliminess.
  • Starring Special Effects
  • Technology Marches On: In the second movie Reed is shown using a very clunky looking ultraportable, a type of computer design that looked dated within a couple of years of the movie's release due to netbooks, smartphones, tablets and ultrabooks.
  • Tempting Fate/Ironic Echo: "A few days in space. It'll be great. What's the worst that could happen?"
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: Victor makes it quite clear that he "hates all of you," while staring directly at Susan.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: One of the most common criticisms of the first movie. Barring the final fight scene and a rescue scene in the middle (the latter being for an incident they caused, mind you), the Fantastic Four really don't do that much, well, fantastic stuff.
  • The Unreveal: First scene in the hospital after the radiation cloud hits, features Johnny sorrowfully explaining to Ben that the doctors did "everything humanly possible." Filmed entirely from Ben's point of view, audience is led to believe Ben's become the thing, only to discover that Johnny is just messing with him when he looks in a mirror. He changes a few scenes later.
    • In that case, why the "Aw, look" part, though.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In the second film, the General repeatedly trusts Doom over Richards, even giving him access to study the Surfer's board. He even has the audacity to appear surprised when Victor inevitably screws everyone over and steals the board for himself!
  • Twofer Token Minority: Alica Masters is a blind, black female.
  • Ultimate Evil: Gah Lak Tus.
  • Unfortunate Implications: In-Universe example. Unlike the regular version has Reed grow a Lantern Jaw of Justice, the extended cut of this film has Reed Richards transform in to Wolverine when saying to Sue that he "thought [she] wanted a stronger man". This suggests that mutants exist at the time the movie takes place. It's unlikely that Johnny Storm's comments about Ben Grimm on public television ('every team needs a mascot'!) went over really well with the mutant community.
    • A CEO suggests that Doom 'go back to the home country,' and that maybe he belongs there. Usually the audience could just suspect that he was being the average Jerk Ass CEO. But then at the end of the movie, they actually pack him up in a storage container headed for Latveria while the American heroes celebrate their victory.
  • Vanity License Plate: Johnny Storm's car has tags that read TORCH'D.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Ben and Johnny, as always.
  • We Can Rule Together: Doom makes this offer to the Silver Surfer. It gets turned down, but at least in the following struggle Doom's body ends up restored.
  • Wedding Smashers: Sorry, Sue...
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Dr. Doom falls into the ocean near the end of the sequel, and is never seen again. Did he drown? Did he make it back to shore? We don't know.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: "All I've seen is a guy who almost got his team killed."
  • With Catlike Tread: In Rise of the Silver Surfer, they decide that the only way to get the Silver Surfer's board back from Dr. Doom is to use The Human Torch's new "powers" to combine all their abilities to allow him to fly, but also be as strong as The Thing, and be invisible so he can sneak up on Doom. It works perfectly and he gets to within 2 feet of Doom. But rather than just knock him out, he has to say "To quote a friend, It's clobbering time." thus blowing the cover and starting a drawn out battle..all while the Earth is about to be destroyed.
    • Well, Doom had just killed his sister.
  • Working with the Ex: In the first film, Reed and Sue had once dated and broken up, only to meet up again when Victor brings his chief genetics researcher (and girlfriend) along to the space station, causing some tension and old feelings to arise.

Fantastic Four (2015)

An upcoming Continuity Reboot directed by Josh Trank. The film is a departure from the previous installments, and is said to be inspired by the Ultimate Fantastic Four comic books.


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alternative title(s): Fantastic Four Rise Of The Silver Surfer
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