For the unreleased 1994 movie, see The Fantastic Four. For the 2015 film, see Fantastic Four (2015).
Johnny Storm: Is that a trick question?
Ten years after the first Ashcan 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 as Reed Richards, Jessica Alba as Susan Storm, Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm, and Chris Evans as Human Torch Johnny Storm forming the titular Fantastic Four. The movie explored their origin story and the subsequent battle with Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon).
Reed Richards, a brilliant but penniless physics researcher, and friend Ben Grimm seek out Richards' former MIT colleague-turned-Von Doom Industries CEO Victor Von Doom to invest in his project to research the arrival of a cosmic energy cloud that will pass near Earth. Von Doom, sensing a good investment, agrees and allows Richards the use of his space station to collect samples of the cloud. Accompanying the trio are Von Doom Industries employees Susan Storm, a genetic researcher (and Reed's old flame), and her younger brother, thrill-seeking ex-astronaut Johnny. However, during the course of the mission, a fatal miscalculation results in unsafe exposure to the effects of the cloud, leaving everyone on board with unpredictable symptoms.
It was followed by Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer in June 2007.
Has a Character Sheet with characters from both movies.
IT'S TROPERIN' TIME!
- Actionized Adaptation: The novelization of the movie included deleted action scenes that were in the trailers but not the film.
- Always Need What You Gave Up: Ben Grimm's transformation into the Thing is reversed just in time for von Doom to reveal his villainy. Justified, as Doom is deliberately hiding his true intentions until he can get Ben, the physically strongest of the group, and the only one who can truly go toe-to-toe with him, out of the way.
- And I Must Scream: Eventually, Doctor Doom is completely frozen and sealed away in a storage container, but the end of the film implies that he is still alive and fully conscious.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Sue left Reed when he wouldn't take the next step in their relationship. Sue asked Reed if he felt anything when she walked out, if he's feeling anything at the moment, but Johnny interrupted them before he could give an answer.Sue: Like always, your head got in the way.
Reed: No, it didn't!
Sue: Then what was it?
- Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: As Victor is about to propose to Sue on the space station, he says he has four words that could change their lives forever. Reed rushes to the scene to declare, "the cloud has accelerated!"
- Bait-and-Switch: A variation that plays with the audience's expectations. One is 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 Johnny holds up a mirror for Ben... and it turns out he's making fun of Ben's human looks.Johnny Storm: Unfortunately, the doctors just couldn't do anything to fix your face.
- Between My Legs: This shot occurs when nurse Kelly finds a naked Johnny after he burned off his clothes.Johnny: Care to join me?
- Big Bad: Doctor Doom is the main antagonist.
- Bird-Poop Gag: When Ben laments his mutation while on the Brooklyn Bridge, he befriends a pigeon that ends up pooping on him before flying away.
- Blasphemous Boast: Johnny says Victor has "More money than God."
- Brain Bleach: Johnny's reaction to his sister Sue stripping down at the bridge. Even worse when she turns visible again while in her underwear.Johnny: I'm gonna need therapy.
- Cabin Fever: The Four are forced to remain inside the Baxter Building while Reed works on the cure for their powers. Reed and especially Sue have to keep reminding an anxious Johnny they can't leave and stresses they have to get along. They soon begin to drive themselves crazy.
- Chekhov's Skill: Johnny going "Supernova" is forbidden by Reed on the grounds of being dangerous, but is later used at the end of the movie to defeat Doom.
- Cumbersome Claws: Ben's newly rocky fingers can't pick up Debbie's abandoned engagement ring from the ground. Reed has to pick it up for him.
- Desperate Object Catch: How Reed's power first manifests, by letting him stretch his arm to catch a bottle Sue knocks off a table.
- Die or Fly: Johnny doesn't get the hang of flight until Doom fires a heat-seeking missile at him and Sue, at which point he jumps off the building to force himself to fly and draw it away.Johnny: Come on. Come on! Come on! FLAME ON!
- Disposable Superhero Maker: Played With; A cosmic storm is a once-in-millennia 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.
- Dramatic Irony: Shortly after the cosmic cloud, a POV shot makes it look like Ben seemingly woke up as the Thing. While it turns out Johnny is just making fun of Ben's human face, it does have a certain irony that this won't be the last time Johnny mocks Ben's appearances.note
- Dumbass Has a Point: Johnny tells Reed he always thinks but never acts, and that they were given their powers for a reason and they should just accept them (and enjoy them). Later, he tells off Sue to either go out in the world where the public loves them or stay locked up inside the Baxter Building to futilely search for a "cure".Johnny: By the way, the people do love me!
[Sue shakes her head in disapproval]
- Eating the Eye Candy:
- When Johnny ends up naked and forming a jacuzzi in the snow, the nurse who he went skiing with is clearly checking him out.
- When Sue's invisibility has worn off and she's standing in the middle of the bridge in her underwear, Reed can't help but stare.Reed: Wow, you've been working out.
Sue: Shut up!
- Establishing Character Moment: Johnny kisses a chick while riding his motorcycle, and she drives her car.
- The Ex's New Jerkass: Reed runs into his ex-girlfriend Sue when he asks his old friend Victor, who Sue works for and is currently dating, for a favor. This causes some tension and old feelings to resurface since Victor is a flagrant Rich Bastard who despises Reed and disrespects Sue and his Reed's friends. After gaining their powers, Reed and Sue would reconcile after defeating a now fully villainous Doom and become engaged at the end of the film.
- Fingore: When Doom captures Reed by freezing him in ice, he sadistically bends his fingers the other way. Luckily, they don't snap off, but Reed groans in agony.
- Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: At the end, Johnny flies into the camera after recreating the team's Chest Insignia in the sky.
- Foreshadowing: Victor's engagement ring to Sue has three diamonds, the middle is silver and the other two are green. His eventual colors as Doctor Doom.
- Giving Them the Strip: Sue is forced to do this so she can use her powers to shake off the Paparazzi that forms after a tabloid is posted about her.
- 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.
- He Knows Too Much: Doom kills the doctor who was checking his condition when he insisted on reporting to the CDC.Doom: (chokes the doctor and throws him to the wall) That's terrible news, but I think I'll get a second opinion.
- Hospital Hottie: Nurse Kelly who is in charge of Johnny after the accident, is quite pretty and Johnny immediately starts flirting with her. She's even credited as "Sexy Nurse".
- I Warned You: Ben gleefully rubs it in when he rescues Reed from Doom's liquid-nitrogen trap.Ben Grimm: Victor ain't that bad, huh? He's just a little larger than life, right? Maybe next time you'll listen to me before— (the lights go out and Doom tackles Ben)
- Internal Reveal: Near the climax of the film, the Four each finds out that Victor was exposed to the cosmic storm as well.
- Interrupted Suicide: Ben stops a man from jumping off the bridge with just one line:Ben: You think you got problems?! You take a good look, pal!
- Jerkass Realization: The film novelization gives Johnny a moment of this between him leaving the Baxter Building after his argument with Sue and returning to find Ben powerless (wherein the movie he just runs back on his own after seeing the power surge from the top of the Baxter Building); while out walking, Johnny runs into a woman he recognizes from a magazine and only realizes after he's hit on her that he recognizes her because she's someone's girlfriend, and she then calls him out on how he's only using his powers for his own benefit and she might actually try to do something for other people in his position.
- Kill It with Ice: Doom tries to kill Reed by freezing him.Victor: Reed. Time for your lesson on Chemistry 101. What happens to rubber when supercooled?
- Kill It with Water: This later gets turned into an Ironic Echo by Reed himself towards Victor... with a fire hydrant.Reed: Time for your lesson – Chem 101. What happens when you rapidly cool hot metal?
- Kill It with Water: This later gets turned into an Ironic Echo by Reed himself towards Victor... with a fire hydrant.
- 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.
Sue: We need to do a physical in order to see what got zapped.
Ben: Oh. Why didn't you say so?
- 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.
- Literal Metaphor: Johnny's powers first manifest while skiing and Kelly notices before he does.Kelly: You're on fire!
Johnny: Thanks, you're pretty good too!
Kelly: No, you're ON FIRE! Look!
- Locked into Strangeness: The movie shows how Reed got his, part cosmic radiation, part obsessive guilt over the accident that caused their powers.
- Love Triangle: Between Reed, Sue, and Victor. Sue is torn between working with Reed due to their Unresolved Sexual Tension and Victor whom she's dating and wishes to marry her. Though she never had any real feelings for Victor besides a working relationship, which is why she seems reluctant to accept Victor's proposal. She lost all feelings for him altogether when he showed his true colors in the climax.
- Moment Killer: Reed interrupted Victor when he was proposing to Sue in the space station. Which is a good thing since she doesn't really love Victor and eventually sees his true colors.Victor: I have four words. Four little words that can change our lives forever...
Reed: THE CLOUD IS ACCELERATING!
- Negative Space Wedgie, the entire catalyst for the film is the five main characters investing a once in a millennium radioactive Cosmic Cloud that seemingly appeared early and ends up altering them.
- No One Gets Left Behind: The reason Sue leaves the safety of the shields to help the others.Victor: You can't save them any more than I can!
Sue: I can try!
- Not Distracted by the Sexy: Sue walks into the room wearing a skintight spandex spacesuit. It looks for a second like Reed is checking her out, but then...Reed: Wow! Fantastic! Material made from self-regulating unstable molecules!
Sue: (disappointed) Great minds think alike.
- Later given a sort of Brick Joke when Reed sees her in her underwear. (see Eating the Eye Candy)
- Oblivious Janitor Cut: As Doom's heatseeking missile chases the Human Torch past the skyscrapers of NYC. Averted as the cleaner notices Johnny's blazing trail go past the window.
- Ominous Hair Loss: Victor begins losing strands of his hair after returning to Earth - the prelude to a transformation into his metallic form.
- The One Thing I Don't Hate About You:Sue: (to Reed) Victor may be a lot of things, but at least he's not afraid to fight for what he wants.
- Pedestrian Crushes Car: During the bridge sequence, The Thing clobbers a semi-truck to save someone.
- 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.
- Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Victor causes a rift between Ben and Reed when he tells Ben that Reed is more concerned with rekindling his relationship with Sue rather than working "to his last breath" to find a cure for them. Ben later realize Victor set it up in an attempt to gain more power.
- Psychic Nosebleed: Susan suffers a nosebleed when she forms a force field around the ensuing "supernova" Johnny creates to defeat Dr. Doom. It also happened on the Brooklyn Bridge, when she first discovered her force field abilities by containing another (unrelated) fire. In the DVD cast commentary, Jessica Alba mentioned that she liked the idea since it shows how much she's pushing herself.
- Race Lift: Alicia Masters, who is white in the comics, is played by Kerry Washington here.
- 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.
- Returning the Wedding Ring: When Ben's fiancee Debbie sees Ben's Thing form, she shakes her head at him, takes off her engagement ring, and leaves it on the blacktop before walking off. And just to rub salt in the wound, Ben can't even pick it up with his stone fingers.
- A Rotten Time to Revert:
- During the bridge sequence, Susan attempts to use her recently gained Invisibility powers to sneak by the crowd. But since her powers don't affect her clothing, she has to take them off and she naturally loses control of her powers just as she's down to her underwear, right in front of everyone. Her ensuing Naked Freak-Out manages to flare up her emotions, and she turns invisible again, causing Reed to notice that their powers are tied to their emotions.
- Late in the film, Victor Von Doom reverses Ben Grimm's transformation, not out of the goodness of his heart but because he needs Grimm out of the way so that he can kill off the rest of the Fantastic Four. Grimm figures this out just after he's been returned to his human state, leaving him unable to help as Doom captures Reed Richards.
- 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.
- Say My Name: Ben yells out Johnny's name after he was pranked into getting covered by shaving cream.
- Self-Serving Memory: Reed believes Sue broke up with him since he remembers her walking out on him. However, Sue explained that she wanted to take their relationship to the next level by having a place together, but Reed's reluctance made her think he's not interested, hence she walked out.
- Snarking Thanks: Ben gives a sarcastic "Thanks" in response to being pooped on by a pigeon.
- Stock Scream: The Wilhelm Scream is heard twice during the final battle.
- Suddenly Shouting:Reed: If we could just understand—
Victor: I DON'T WANT TO UNDERSTAND IT! THIS ISN'T ONE OF YOUR SCIENCE PROJECTS! I JUST WANT TO FIX IT! Fast!
Sue: [Johnny] didn't mean it. You know Johnny. He's always been a hothead—
Ben: It's not him. (at the passing, onlooking crowd) It's THEM!!! I can't live like this.
- Tempting Fate: Before the space mission, Reed tells Ben "A few days in space. It'll be great. What's the worst that could happen?". Later, Ben gives this an Ironic Echo to this when he's at the bridge contemplating suicide after being turned into The Thing.
- Trailers Always Lie: The trailers of the first movie focus mostly on the action.
- The trailer also shows Victor electrocuting Ned Cecil who's standing on a puddle of water. When in the film, Victor blasts a hole through Ned's chest.
- The Unreveal: The 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, the 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 though.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Reed and Sue, even though they broke up two years before the events of the film.Sue: (to Ben) I thought I was done waiting for Reed, but... we're all in this together!
- Villains Learn Faster: Victor Von Doom demonstrates this when he gains electromagnetic powers and a Nigh-Invulnerable metal body from his cosmic accident. Unlike the Fantastic Four, who end up haphazardly using their powers and can barely use them properly throughout the film, Victor displays superior control over his own despite having them for the same amount of time. Doom overwhelms the Four in their big fight until they manage to work together and implement an incredibly risky plan to take him down.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It's unclear what became of Von Doom Industries, following Doom being shipped to Latveria and the death of Ned Cecil, who's head of the attempted takeover.
- With Due Respect: When Victor blames Reed for the space station disaster, Reed says this as they're both responsible as he warned Victor they should have aborted when he suggested.
- Working with the Ex: 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.