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Film / Fantastic Four (2015)

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"We are stronger together than we are apart."
Dr. Franklin Storm

Fantastic Four, stylized as Fant4stic, is a 2015 film that is very loosely adapted from Mark Millar's run on the superhero comic book Ultimate Fantastic Four. It is directed by Josh Trank of Chronicle fame, and produced by 20th Century Fox. Its cast includes Miles Teller as Reed Richards, Kate Mara as Sue Storm, Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm, Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm, Toby Kebbell as Victor Von Doom, Reg E. Cathey as Franklin Storm, and Tim Blake Nelson as Harvey Allen.

The film serves as a Continuity Reboot for the Fantastic Four film franchise, and has no connection to the two previous film iterations. Its story follows Reed Richards, a brilliant scientist researching travel into Another Dimension. However, when a test involving him and four other subjects goes horribly wrong, the surviving four must adapt to their rapidly changing bodies before the fifth survivor returns to wreak havoc.

Like The Amazing Spider-Man Series and the X-Men Film Series, the movie is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While it was originally conceived as taking place in the X-Men film continuity (which Fox also owns), it was later decided that the movie should exist in a standalone universe for the purposes of allowing greater creative freedom toward the team working on the film. Following the release of the film, the possibility of an X-Men crossover was abandoned entirely by Fox's own admission.

The film is noted for its notoriously Troubled Production in regards to getting the film out on time to retain the rights, the director's hostile and erratic behavior, and the Executive Meddling required to get the film finished. Following the movie's critical and commercial failure, Fox would cancel the planned sequel as well. In spite of future plans effectively chalking up to a Stillborn Franchise, the film was one of the first that Fox would release on the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-Ray format.

In November 2017, a little over two years after the movie was released, Disney revealed that they would end up buying a large portion of Fox's entertainment assets, including 20th Century Fox, and by extension, the Fantastic Four and X-Men film rights that were licensed to them. After sealing the initial deal in December 2017, Disney would complete the acquisition in March 2019. Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that there are plans to make use of the Fantastic Four IP within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to which Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige would confirm that a new film was being developed as part of Marvel's post-Phase 4 slate. It was eventually confirmed that the reboot would begin Phase 6 of the MCU, slated for release on February 14, 2025.

Fantastic Four provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: A lot of potential plot threads go nowhere after being built up:
    • Ben's abusive family is never brought up again after the infamous "It's clobberin' time!" scene, where he is hit by his older brother.
    • Victor's unrequited love of Sue is never explained - and Reed's love of Sue never has any kind of emotional pay-off, and is instead only vaguely hinted at.
    • Reed's fugitive arc involves him building a teleporter from scratch using the black market and work around parts with the goal of fixing the others. Once he gets to Area 57, this plot is dropped entirely, even after Doom is dealt with.
    • Ben is mad at Reed for his involvement in the accident and for leaving him until the plot demands that he suddenly isn't.
    • Johnny being an irresponsible gearhead is not elaborated upon.
    • Reed's step-father and mother are seen briefly but don't appear beyond that.
    • There were plans for sequels, and at least some plot points were meant to be expanded upon in them. Due to the film's box office failure and the sequels being canceled, it's unlikely they'll get any kind of payoff.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Reed's attempt to invent a matter transporter instead inadvertently creates a dimensional rift. Until Sue and Franklin point it out, Reed assumed he had been beaming his test objects in one of Earth's deserts. While they had independently invented the same thing, Reed managed to bring his test objects back.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade:
    • Inverted. Despite being based more on his Ultimate version than his mainstream version, Reed Richards lacks the former's abusive father.
    • Zigzagged with Ben Grimm. In contrast to Reed, he gained an abusive brother, something no version of The Thing has had, but lacks the suicidal depression of his Ultimate counterpart.
  • Adaptational Badass: As with Ultimate Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four Duology, Dr. Doom is shown gaining powers in the same accident that gave the Fantastic Four theirs, as opposed to using Powered Armor.
  • Adaptational Jerkass:
    • Johnny comes across as a cocky, spiteful, and combative individual — and unlike his comic counterpart, he doesn't get to show his devotion to his friends and family. Even his quip toward Ben (calling him "the Thing nobody wanted") comes across as mean-spirited instead of playful teasing (which is made worse by the fact that Ben in this movie was scarred by bullying growing up). The only justification he has is that he suffers a bit from perceiving himself as a "Well Done, Son" Guy, but even then, he doesn't make an effort to learn anything that his father tries to teach him.
    • Doom starts off as being kind of a dick like he was in the comics prior to the accident, but in the comics, he became an Anti-Villain and a Well-Intentioned Extremist. In this movie, he becomes a Serial Killer and an Omnicidal Maniac with a God complex because he thinks he's better than humanity.
  • Adaptational Superpower Change:
    • An odd, purely superficial change occurs to Mr. Fantastic's elastic ability. According to the creators, Reed isn't stretching himself when he seemingly extends his limbs, but he is manipulating local spacetime due to micro-blackholes integrated with his body. The effect has it so he still looks like he is super-elastic anyway.
    • Victor Von Doom is a straighter example in that, much like the last cinematic version he gets his powers in the same accident as the rest of the four. Instead of any of the magic mastery he has in the comics, he is given very vaguely, near god-like powers that resemble telekinesis.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • Subverted. During principal photography, Dr. Doom's real name was "Victor Domashev" rather than Victor Von Doom (or Victor Van Damme, as it was in the Ultimate line). However, it was changed back to "Victor Von Doom" during reshoots after a noted fan backlash.
    • Ben Grimm's brother is apparently named Jimmy in this movie, whereas in the comics his brother is named Daniel Grimm Jr.
    • The Negative Zone is called "Planet Zero" in this movie.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: Victor is present at the accident that empowers the other four, and once again becomes the Big Bad. This is in line with the Ultimate and the 2005 film's origin, wherein both he was present for the accident.
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • Reed is a natural leader in the comics, but it takes nearly all of the film for him to shape up to the role.
    • Ben lacks much of the rough-but-noble personality that was present in the comics and is instead driven primarily by angst (a component of his character in the comics, but here it's taken up to eleven).
    • Franklin Storm is a Disappeared Dad and a broken man in the comics. In the film, he's a well-adjusted mentor to everyone. His characterization is much more in line with the Ultimate line's interpretation of the character, where he served as one of the mentors to the kids at the Baxter Building's think tank.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Reed gets one while on the run. The glasses and 'nerd' outfits vanish and his hair is more stylish.
  • Advertising by Association: The film's trailer and poster promote "From the studio that brought you X-Men: Days of Future Past", despite sharing none of the same directors, producers, writers, etc. To say that this movie doesn't live up to Days of Future Past's quality would be a big understatement.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: The fateful journey that gets the characters their powers happens because they were drunk and didn't consider the dangers of going on an expedition without any support. What's more, Ben Grimm doesn't even have the excuse of being drunk. He basically gets a call from a hammered Reed in the middle of the night, asking him to come to the Baxter Building right then and there so they and two guys he doesn't know can take a machine on a dimension-hopping joyride to a distant planet... and he just goes, "I see nothing wrong with this picture. Okay!". Making it worse is the fact that the characters seem to stop acting drunk once they get to Planet Zero, giving the impression that they had all sobered up by then, which still doesn't stop them from running around and touching stuff.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: The only reason Victor helps out with building a teleportation device is due to an unexplained emotional connection to Sue. She doesn't recognize his affinity for her.
  • Alternate Continuity: In spite of both film franchises being owned by Fox, the movie is not set in the X-Men universe, but a universe in which the Fantastic Four are the first superheroes ever. Fox later clarified that the movies existed in parallel universes.
    • To elaborate, Fox initially intended both franchises to belong to the same universe. This mindset quickly changed once this film tranked.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Averted with siblings Sue and Johnny Storm, played by Caucasian actress Kate Mara and actor Michael B Jordan. Justified since they are adoptive siblings.
  • Anti-Climax: A major criticism of the movie is that it has an extensive build-up that leads to a brief payoff that doesn't feel like a payoff. Namely, the movie doesn't have any major action setpieces involving superpowers until the last fifteen minutes in a scene that was cobbled together by the team who was doing the reshoots - and even then, the Doom VS FF battle only takes about five minutes from start to finish.
  • Area 51: The four are stationed in Area 57.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • Victor complains about how everyone remembers Neil Armstrong and that nobody remembers the scientists that made the moon landing possible, and that the scientists deserved to go to the moon first. The audience is supposed to side with him, but multiple failures in research become apparent:
      • Anyone who has even the slightest idea of engineering, physics, and space travel would be aware of how extensive astronaut training is and how expensive it would be to put even one person on the moon.note 
      • Anyone with a knowledge of sociology and politics would recognize how urgent the US's space race against the USSR was at the time and that obviously, only a small crew could actually make the trip.
      • Anyone with a decent knowledge of history would note that a key scientific figure who made the Apollo 11 mission possible — Wernher Von Braun — was very famous at the time (having made several television appearances in the fifties, sixties, and seventies), and that his absence in the conversation is pretty conspicuous.
      • Critic Brad Jones, in his Midnight Screenings review of the film, pointed out two other flaws with Victor's claim: 1) Apollo 11 was built by a crew of over hundreds of thousands, not just a few teenage prodigies, hence why the astronauts got most of the fame, and 2) the astronauts themselves have been vocal about their gratitude to the engineers whose work kept them alive during their journey.
      • Furthermore, the research failure comes across as being particularly egregious based on who is saying it — since Victor is a genius scientist who has worked in a similar field, he should know all of this, as should Reed. At the very least, for what little credit they deserve, Victor's over-inflated ego has consistently been a problem for him across all versions of the character and all three of them are shit-faced drunk during the discussion.
  • Artistic License – Politics:
    • Victor's rant about how it's not "fair" that Planet Zero will be first explored by astronauts instead of the people who built the teleporters has a lot of this. He complains that maybe they're going to send in the CIA. The CIA, being an intelligence agency, would have absolutely nothing to do with the exploration of new planets. Their purview is more about already established countries.
  • Asshole Victim: Dr. Allen, whose death will not be missed when Doom made his head explode.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: After Doom's I Forgot I Could Fly moment in the final fight, he uses logical methods to disable the Four. He uses rocks and dirt to smother Johnny's flames, covers Ben with boulders that hold him down, puts pressure on Sue's force field to force her to suffocate, and destroys the springs on Reed's containment suit that help him keep control of his stretchiness.
  • Badass Bookworm: The team (and Victor). Sue and Reed are outright geniuses, Johnny is talented at mechanics and engineering, and Ben not only comes from a mechanics background but has been working with Reed long enough to know how the teleporter works.
  • Basement-Dweller: Although there's no mention of him being a blogger like Toby Kebbell initially reported, Victor Von Doom is introduced as being an unclean and unhygienic individual whose life revolves around his computer screen.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The Thing does not have a penis, in spite of being shown walking around naked for nearly all of the film.
  • Beta Outfit: Unconscious and unable to control their powers, the team is given containment suits. Since Reed goes on the run, he has to build his own more rudimentary and MacGyvered version.
  • Big Bad: Doom, like in all of the previous movies, is the primary antagonist, but since he only appears in his final form at the end of the movie, the film has no antagonist for the first two acts.
  • Big Brother Bully: As a child, Ben Grimm was tormented by his older brother Jimmy, who liked to say "It's clobberin' time!" before beating him.
  • Big Good: Franklin Storm brings the Fantastic Four together.
  • Big "NO!": Doom screams this upon his defeat and death.
  • Body Horror: When the four get their powers and are put into containment, each character has a Freak Out and struggles to control their powers. Then the movie skips ahead a year and everybody's fine.
  • Bold Explorer: Ben, Reed, Johnny, and Victor all go into uncharted territory light-years away. Some of this boldness is due to alcohol on the part of three of the characters.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: After leaving the Baxter Building rather than work for people he found unethical and amoral, Victor has turned into a bored, reclusive genius whose home is full of technical delights… to keep others out.
  • But Not Too Foreign:
    • Victor is Latverian but has been in the United States long enough to mostly lose his accent, although a bit of eastern European slips into his American accent.
    • Sue also claims to have been from Kosovo before her adoption by Franklin, complete with lampshading her lack of an accent (and apparently demonstrating that she does have one, she just hides it well), but this is never really explored. It's unclear when she was adopted, and so if she were young it likely wouldn't be much.
  • Canon Foreigner: Although Tim Blake Nelson's character was said to be Harvey Elder during production, this was changed to a new character named Dr. Allen instead. The change most likely took place due to the character barely resembling the future Mole Man.
  • Casting Gag: Reg E. Cathey playing the father to Kate Mara's character may or may not have been intentional given that they are both best known for their roles on House of Cards (US).
  • Cerebus Retcon: The origin of "It's clobberin' time" comes from a domestic abuse scene of all things.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Two for Sue. Her scientific/math specialty is pattern recognition, which is put to use later to locate a fugitive Reed. Another one, mentioned almost offhandedly, is her ability to make other things invisible. Like Ben, when they need to launch a surprise attack on Doom.
  • Child Prodigy: Reed created a functional teleporter (and worked on a flying car) when he was still in elementary school.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: A Zig-Zagging Trope.
    • Played straight with Reed and Sue, neither of whom get the codenames "Mr. Fantastic" or "Invisible Woman".
    • Inverted and Played for Laughs in regards to the others; Sue jokingly calls Victor "Doctor Doom", while Johnny comes up with the epithet "Human Torch". Furthermore, when Reed is looking at classified military files on Ben post-accident, his codename is listed as "The Thing."
    • The movie ends right before they decide to call themselves the "Fantastic Four", which may technically be considered an aversion.
  • Composite Character: While the character is named Victor von Doom, and he has a bit of a shared background to his comics counterpart, once he gets superpowers, he starts to have more in common with Annihilus or Molecule Man, although his Evil Plan - to recreate a world in his image after a degree of cosmic destruction - does not sound too far removed from what would eventually happen in Secret Wars (2015), which was made while the film was already in post-production. Furthermore, given that he effectively merges with Planet Zero itself and tries to consume Earth, shades of Ego the Living Planet and Galactus can be seen in him as well.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Many critics have pointed out there is virtually no reason for this team to exist, as it just seems like the plot just forced them together.
  • Covers Always Lie: The Blu-Ray case cover (and many of the posters, for that matter) show off disaster porn taking place in New York city around the Fantastic Four. Not only is there no such battle in the movie, but the only time there is actually a significant amount of urban destruction, it takes place offscreen!
  • Cringe Comedy: A particularly offensive example. Johnny calling Victor (who is a Romani) "Adolf".
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the previous adaptations. The film has been compared to thriller/horror films like Alien, Scanners, and The Fly (1986) by those involved with the production, and a common complaint is exactly that — it takes a lighthearted source material too seriously to work.
  • Disappeared Dad:
    • As a child, Reed Richards is shown living with his mom and step-father, but no mention is made of what happened to his biological father.
    • Similarly Ben Grimm only seems to have a mother and an abusive older brother, with no father figure in sight. However, there is a photo of a father figure in military uniform next to the Grimm family's menorah, hinting that Ben's dad died while serving. Which could inform why Ben goes along with Elder's/Allen's offer of military service.
  • Dirty Coward: Reed. After he and his coworkers get their powers, he just utterly bails on them, which makes Ben's anger at him completely justified.
  • Disney Villain Death: Victor tries grabbing Reed's hand, but loses his grip and falls into the green substance — which later turns him into "Doom".
  • Dull Surprise: Many scenes in the movie feature this in some capacity, particularly from Miles Teller and Kate Mara in the first half of the film. Many of said scenes were actually the ones advertised. This was apparently done on Josh Trank's decision.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Doom predictably has this in his name, but he also mentions that Doom is coming (in the trailers only).
  • Double Think: Victor's initial motivation is to send out free information to everybody in hopes it will make things better over time, but at the same time he believes that the world is being ruined by the most influential individuals, meaning that It Is Beyond Saving in his mind.
  • Easter Egg: In the first teaser, a computer shows an IP address. Entering it into a URL takes you to one of several pages on Victor's home country, Latveria.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: At the end of the movie, when the group is trying to come up with an appropriate team name, Johnny's suggestion is "The Human Torch and the Torchettes".
  • Eldritch Location: Planet Zero. Even more so when it merges with Victor.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • The first line of dialog out of Doom's mouth is a claim that Reed, a boy he has never met and who has never met or heard of him, "stole [his] design". This establishes him as both an Insufferable Genius and a Green-Eyed Monster at the same time.
    • The classroom scene in the prologue offers one for Reed and Ben. Reed's writing equations on his notebook, oblivious to his teacher and the others, establishing him as a Child Prodigy and social outcast. And while others mock his presentation on teleportation, Ben sits with a curious and fascinated look on his face, showing that he's not a bully, nor an anti-intellectual skeptic.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change:
    • Firstly, Victor is introduced with shaggy hair and beard, and Franklin tells him to clean himself up before joining the team. The next time we see him, he's cut the hair short and trimmed the beard. Additionally, Reed and Sue's hair changes over the course of a year to reflect the passage of time: Sue's shoulder-length hair grows a bit longer and Reed's hair is first worn flat and switches to being pushed back.
    • In a bit of a meta example, Sue's hairstyle changes back and forth between scenes, as in some scenes in the middle Kate Mara is noticeably wearing a wig, and in the rest, she isn't. This is "expository" of added reshoots.
  • Fan Disservice: Naked Ben Grimm might be appealing to the ladies… but unfortunately, he's seen naked after turning into the Thing, and we're treated to several shots of his rocky ass. For further disservice, he doesn't have a penis but still has a noticeable, triangular crotch.
  • Fanservice: When we first see Johnny awaken in full torch mode, he is clearly nude laying on a table. While we don't get any shot of the naughty bits (even though we can see between his legs) we get nice shot of his muscular chest. We also get a shot of Reed's bare upper body as he lays on a table. Later, as Reed stretches through a vent we see the silhouette of the top of his buttocks before the scene switches. If you look closely once he gets outside, you can see his naked backside from far away.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The team as a whole, but mainly Johnny and Reed before their first trip to the other dimension.
  • Flat Character: Nearly all the characters in the film are so dull and one-dimensional and have such little dynamics with each other that, whether you hate them or not, a lot of viewers will not care if either good or bad things happen to them.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Doom could have instantly defeated any of the Fantastic Four using his headsplosion powers, which he promptly forgot about after using them in the facility, which is particularly egregious considering that that was how he killed most of his victims in the film, and no Hand Wave is given to explain why he suddenly can't use them.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
  • Friendship Moment: Reed sends a photo of the Baxter Building's teleporter to Ben with the message "Couldn't have done it without you," showing he still cares for and values his friend.
  • Fugitive Arc: Reed spends a year as a fugitive while in search of a cure, while the other characters track him down.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Lacking any genitalia, the Thing goes around completely naked throughout the film. Apparently, the military didn't feel like springing for some pants.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Doom's reasoning for going bad is... unclear, and his goal itself effectively amounts to "blowing up the world".
  • Genre Shift: Twice. The film starts off as a Spielberg-esque youthful exploration of science, before the accident turns to Cronenbergian Body Horror, before the time skip changes the entire film to more standard superhero tones.
  • Genre Throwback: In a strange way, the film is a throwback to the time when studios cranked out In Name Only products like Steel and Catwoman (2004). It's slightly more faithful to the source material than either, but just barely. It is also one of the only superhero movies made after 2012 that wasn't made with the intent of creating a Shared Universe (in spite of certain claims made by Simon Kinberg and Mark Millar prior to that point).
  • The Glasses Come Off: Reed wakes up after the mission without his glasses and doesn't wear them again throughout the movie. Presumably the radiation corrected his vision.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Accidental Pun aside, Dr. Doom sports glowing green eyes that turn even brighter when he uses his powers.
  • Godhood Seeker: After Victor becomes Doom, he has this as his motivation. His goal then becomes to destroy the world, ending all life, and recreating it so that it is perfect in his eyes.
  • Godwin's Law: Johnny calls Victor "Adolf" for no reason other than that he's European. It's not hard to see what he was implying there.note 
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: A year on Planet Zero with superpowers and nobody else around turned Victor insane.
  • Gorn: Doom's head-explosion powers are surprisingly very graphic for a PG-13 movie.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The Baxter Institute is a government-sponsored think tank.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Victor progressively becomes more jealous of Reed after Sue connects with him more.
  • Hand Wave: The reason that Ben doesn't wear pants post-transformation is revealed on a supplementary source - his body is impervious, so he does not need a "containment suit".
  • Humanoid Abomination: Doom's stay in the Negative Zone turned him into one of these. A humanoid thing with sickly green Volcanic Veins and monstrous Psychic Powers.
  • Heroic Willpower: Reed uses this to attain mastery over his powers without his suit at the climax of the film.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Doom gets destroyed by the same black hole he created.
  • Humans Are Bastards: This is Victor von Doom’s viewpoint, at one point stating that he doesn’t see what good could come from any of their scientific findings from the "Quantum Gate" experiment when people are already messing up the world enough as it is. After being transformed by Planet Zero’s green energy lava and spending a year there, he is briefly brought back to Earth where he states his plan to wipe out the population of the Earth with a black hole and start a new world with only him alive on Planet Zero. His justification: "Humanity had its chance."
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Franklin Storm's superiors demand that his researchers create something with practical usefulness. At the time they demand this, the researchers have already found a way to send things to Planet Zero, though they couldn't return them yet. In other words, their research had created a perfect solution to the old problem of finding a safe way to store radioactive waste (and that's just the start of all the possible applications for Planet Zero transit). Yet Franklin's superiors still insist that the research so far lacks practical uses...
    • The fateful journey that gets the characters their powers happens because they were drunk and didn't consider the dangers of going on an expedition without any support. What's more, Ben Grimm doesn't even have the excuse of being drunk. He basically gets a call from a hammered Reed in the middle of the night, asking him to come to the Baxter Building right then and there so they and two guys he doesn't know can take a machine on a dimension-hopping joyride to a distant planet... and he just goes, "I see nothing wrong with this picture. Okay!". Making it worse is the fact that the characters seem to stop acting drunk once they get to Planet Zero, giving the impression that they had all sobered up by then, which still doesn't stop them from running around and touching stuff.
    • Many reviewers also called out that Doom could have instantly defeated any of the Fantastic Four using his headsplosion powers, which he promptly forgot about after using them in the facility, which is particularly egregious considering that that was how he killed most of his victims in the film, and no Hand Wave is given to explain why he suddenly can't use them.
  • I Forgot I Could Fly: Doom's headsplosion powers seem to be his bread and butter… except for whenever he fights any of the Fantastic Four, at which point he inexplicably decides to use regular super-powered attacks instead of simply being a Combat Pragmatist.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Everyone but Johnny and Victor post-transformation express this sentiment. Ben, Reed, and Sue all want to find a cure at first.
  • Info Dump: Much of the movie is based upon exposition explaining how the science works.
  • In Name Only: The tone of the film and the characterization of the Four are vastly different from the source comics, and Victor's past and abilities are completely divorced from Dr Doom's in the comics.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Reed feels alienated from his family, not because they don't care for each other, but because they can't understand him and his interests. There are shades of that with Ben as well once he starts working with Reed.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Reed never so much as flinches when he punches Victor in the face, even though Victor's body is at this point entirely made of metal and Reed should have broken his hand on the very first punch.
  • Implied Death Threat: Reed, Johnny, Ben, and Sue all partake in one directed at the military officials, threatening to use their powers against them if they aren't given autonomy and property. Our heroes, ladies, and gentlemen!
  • Jerkass: Reed's science teacher, dating all the way back to the 5th Grade. Reed's rattling off college-level scientific ideas at an age 9 and he… dismisses his genius as nothing but pure imagination. Then came the science fair years later where they managed to make a working teleporter. Despite seeing for himself that the project works, he disqualifies Reed, claiming it had "no real scientific merit" and dismisses it as a "magic trick".
  • Kick the Dog: Johnny calling Ben "the Thing nobody wanted". Under different circumstances (in which Ben and Johnny knew each other more), that would come across as playful teasing. However, the way it's delivered comes across as an unnecessarily mean-spirited remark. Even Johnny's earlier teasing of Victor came across as a case of Vitriolic Best Buds as opposed to this quip.
  • Lame Comeback: Johnny's reply to a military official (although the movie tries to pass it off as being cool).
    General: What if we say "no"?
    Johnny: Say "yes".
  • Laugh of Love: Reed and Sue tend to laugh as they get to know each other and grow close, which is one of the causes of Victor's jealousy of Reed.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: At the end of the movie, when the group is trying to come up with a name, Ben comments that things are fantastic. This inspires Reed to name the group "the Fantastic Four".
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Josh Trank described the Four's powers as having a strong Body Horror element to them, noting David Cronenberg's The Fly as an inspiration. Ben's transformation is the most obvious in terms of Body Horror, while trailers also show Johnny being visibly uncomfortable during his earlier times on fire; he even looks like he's having trouble breathing, though this appears to just be the result of him freaking out in regards to his transformation.
  • MacGyvering: Reed is very good at this from a young age, and it shows later on in the film.
  • Mad Scientist: Invoked by Ben when the alpha version of the teleporter works:
    Ben: Reed… you're insane.
    Reed: Thanks.
  • Magical Negro: Franklin Storm imparts knowledge to the team and encourages them to move the plot of the film along. In fact, he does more to bring the team together than Reed does.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Johnny refers to Victor as both "Adolf" and "Borat", in reference to his accent.
  • Men Act, Women Are: Sue Storm does not go on the mission to Planet Zero. She just gets caught in the blast radius of the teleporter when they return, which gives her invisibility powers.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: Victor is hinted to hate humanity even before he gains powers. This thinking factors into his deadly rampage.
  • Motive Rant: When they finally get the machine working, Dr. Allen is quick to take over and find some deniable obedient assets to explore where the machine goes, snidely shooing Richards and his team aside. Doom blows his top and gives a doozy of a rant.
    You guys know who built the Apollo spacecraft, went to the moon? So, the answer's no. But you know who Neil Armstrong is, right? Buzz Aldrin? First men to walk on the moon. Famous faces hired to conquer dreams that weren't even theirs. Dreams that someone else, some other scientist, who probably died penniless and alone, and sat in a bar, telling people he sent men to the moon.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: The characters wear black "containment suits", with the exception of Ben, who walks around naked.
  • Mood Whiplash: Doom's return, full-stop. Just for starters; he causes the deaths of several dozen scientists through telepathic Your Head Asplode, and it gets to its worst when he offs Franklin Storm.
  • Mythology Gag: Has its own page.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: A number of previews and press releases - most notably, the first trailer - tried to sell the movie as a sci-fi movie with a large emphasis on Body Horror, and a Deconstruction of superhero tropes. The final product is essentially standard superhero fare, although Body Horror does play a role in the superpowers at first. There are also numerous missing trailer scenes that try to make the movie look more action-oriented than it actually is, prominently teasing fight scenes between Reed and Ben and Johnny and Sue that only last seconds within the movie.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Doom's powers include energy blasts, telepathy, psychic attacks that cause head explosions, summoning large conduits of energy, and whatever else the story needs at the moment.
  • Nitro Boost: Subverted. Johnny redlines his engine in his introductory racing scene, which causes something to burst and sends him off the road.
  • No-Sell: When Doom awakens after returning from Planet Zero and starts rampaging through the facility, soldiers try to gun him down. All of their bullets harmlessly bounce off of his telekinetic force field as the villain calmly walks towards them.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Sue Storm is a refugee from Kosovo in this version, but speaks with an American accent. Justified since she's been living in American even longer than Victor has.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Sue insists to Johnny that they don't have powers, but unique physical conditions.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: During the time skip, Reed manages to gain enough control over his powers to escape a military facility, then figure out and make his own containment suit, travel the world, learn to use his powers in combat roles, hack into military files on Ben, and MacGyver a teleporter in a poor country. He does all of this while evading the military and staying off of the grid.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Johnny is introduced in a car-racing scene that wouldn't be too out-of-place in a The Fast and the Furious movie.
  • Orwellian Retcon:
    • An interesting example is that the retcon was made prior to the film actually being released. During an early interview, Toby Kebbell stated that Victor Von Doom's name had been changed to "Victor Domashev" in the script. Coupled with insinuations that he would be a hacker rather than a full-blown supervillain, there was so much backlash that the name was changed back to Von Doom in post-production, with all mentions of the Domashev name permanently erased.
    • Similarly, Tim Blake Nelson was advertised as playing Harvey Elder - the identity of The Mole Man before he became a supervillain - back when the movie was being produced. In the theatrical cut of the film, he was turned into "Doctor Allen", and any ties to The Mole Man were severed.
  • Parting-Words Regret: The last time Johnny and Franklin talked is when Johnny blames his dad for his condition in the first place because Franklin made Johnny work for him to keep him out of trouble. After Franklin was killed by Doom, Johnny cried that he's sorry.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: Dr. Storm gives a big one early on, and a few snippets throughout the film. He apparently rehashes the same one, since Victor and Sue share a moment of exasperation that he's doing "the speech" again.
  • Pet the Dog: While Johnny's a dick (even though the movie tries to convince us otherwise), he at least has the courtesy of giving Reed a hug after he'd been found.
  • Psychic Powers: Doom's superpowers are vaguely defined Tetsuo Shima-esque psychic abilities, minus the Lovecraftian Superpower aspects present in Tetsuo's Superpower Meltdown.
  • Power Incontinence: The team wears their suits because they can't fully turn off their powers. Subverted with Reed in the climax, when he gains control of his at the last minute after Doom exploits this to take him out of the fight.
  • Power Limiter: The containment suits are used to help the characters adjust to their newfound abilities, with Reed's being made from scavenged parts. Ben doesn't get one, presumably because "made of rock" isn't exactly a complex power.
  • Product Placement: A Bud Light truck can be seen near the Baxter Building in one shot.
  • Properly Paranoid: Victor Von Doom, of all people. Part of his Screw the Money, I Have Rules! reasoning for quitting the project at first is that he's afraid the military or CIA will take it over to weaponize what they find or imprison people. After the time skip, when he meets Harvey Allen again, the latter tells him that the military wants to do just that (and already has been, using Ben as a combat asset).
  • Race Lift:
    • Johnny Storm, usually depicted as a white blonde in the comics, is played by African-American actor Michael B. Jordan. The same treatment is given to Johnny's father, Dr. Franklin Storm.
    • Sue Storm is played by a white actress. Kate Mara in a character profile video has said it is due to her being adopted by Doctor Storm. However, it was later revealed that Sue Storm is adopted from Kosovo rather than being American-born, making her Albanian and giving her a different racial background.
  • Real Is Brown:
    • The Thing is dull-grey brown in certain shots and slightly orange in others.
    • The Negative Zone was known for being very colorful and non-Euclidian in the comics. In the film (where it is represented as "Planet Zero"), it's a dark grey, barren wasteland... with some green glowing goo.
    • The entire film is this in comparison to the comic books, which are iconic for their Jack Kirby/60s-Popart-esque color schemes. The majority of the film takes place in dim-lit rooms, and several scenes show that there are lights in the rooms, but they're just not turned on, for some reason. Even the daylight scenes appear to have a darker filter applied to the screen.
    Rob Walker: That bright sunny day was the color of puke.
  • Reality Warper: It's explained that Reed's powers are akin to this. Instead of being elastic, micro-black holes integrated into his body enable his powers; so it's not his limbs stretching, it's local spacetime.
  • Recycled Premise: The plot of the film is essentially the same as the 2005 movie, albeit with even more liberties being taken with the source material and an alternate version of the comic being slightly used for inspiration.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: True to form, Reed is this, as his flying car never makes it to market - if only because he stopped work on it and didn't get to working on it again. This is a Subverted Trope with regards to most other things, however.
  • Related Differently in the Adaptation: In the comics, Sue Storm is the biological daughter of Franklin Storm and biological sister of Johnny Storm. In this film, she was adopted into the Storm family; this is mostly because Michael B. Jordan and Reg E. Cathey, both of whom are black, were cast as Johnny and Franklin, respectively, while Kate Mara, who is white, was cast as Sue (Josh Trank stated he wanted to cast a black actress as Sue, presumably averting this trope, but the higher-ups vetoed it).
  • Rousing Speech: Reed gives one just before the final battle with Doom. And earlier, Victor gives one to Reed and Johnny.
  • Ruder and Cruder: The 2015 film has stronger and more prominent expletives compared to the Tim Story film duology. The Story films had very little in the way of profanity, and it was mostly mild. The 2015 incarnation adds in multiple uses of the word "shit," but still no F-Bombs.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Doom's cloak is the tattered and burned remnants of the American flag Reed and Ben planted on Planet Zero. He's an Americanized Latverian wearing a ruined symbol of an adopted home, on his new adopted home.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Both Franklin Storm and Doctor Allen.
  • Scenery Gorn: A semi-destroyed Manhattan is shown on a number of the posters, but no destruction takes place on the streets present in the film. What is in the film, however, is a scene of the area that was destroyed by Doom.
  • Science Fair: Reed debuts his functional teleporter at the school science fair. His teacher disqualifies him because he believes Reed to have faked it. Fortunately for Reed, Franklin and Sue know he's legit and recruit him.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Part of Victor's Establishing Character Moment. Despite the teleporter project being his creation and his desire to see it completed, he refuses to work with people he sees as amoral and malicious. It's why he quit the project, and he reacts the most angrily when told NASA and the military would take over after they finish it.
  • Series Continuity Error: Sue Storm's hair switches between Kate Mara's natural hair and a noticeable blonde wig that is painfully noticeable and is even a noticeably different color and style. Some have noted this as a sign of what shots were done as reshoots.
  • Serkis Folk: The Thing is created through CGI and motion-capture, as actor Jamie Bell is physically smaller than the character.
  • Ship Tease: Due to the romantic subplot being removed from the final cut and only existing in deleted scenes, Reed and Sue's only flirtatious moment is when they talk about 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
  • Shout-Out:
    • At one point Reed tries to talk to Sue by telling her about Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea. It turns out that she’s already read it.
    • Johnny has a Fire Flower air freshener in his car.
    • At one point Johnny calls Victor "Borat".
    • One of the possible names that Johnny suggests for the titular group is Two Guys, A Girl and a Thing.
    • The plot point of Victor, Reed, and Johnny going into the teleporter after getting drunk was likely inspired by a similar plot point in The Fly (1986).
  • The Slow Walk:
    • In the deleted sequence involving Ben's attack on the terrorists, he was shown walking slowly toward a torrent of bullets.
    • Victor's escape from the compound is made up of him walking out and effortlessly killing anyone who gets in his way.
  • Smash Cut: When the team is coming up with a name, the movie ends on them coming to decide that "Fantastic Four" would be the best pick - but the movie switches to the title card of the credits before they actually say it, subverting the Title Drop trope in the process.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The heroic, triumphant music that plays upon the Four's return to Earth after defeating Doom, as they look out in horror at the cratered remains of Area 57, the surrounding forest, and what appears to be a town that got destroyed.
  • Superhero Movie Villains Die: It's a plot point that Doom has to die since his death is the only thing that will stop Planet Zero.
  • Take Our Word for It: Whatever trust and falling-out that Victor and Sue had is alluded to a few times, but is never explained.
  • Team Spirit: The four officially become a team when they realize that they can't defeat Doom without working together.
    Reed: He's stronger than any of us... But he's not stronger than all of us!
  • Teleporter Accident: It's implied that Johnny and Ben gain their powers when fire and rocks from Planet Zero get into their pods as they're teleported back to Earth. In addition, Sue is caught in the blast radius of the returning teleporter.
  • That Man Is Dead: Delivered in an extremely similar way to a famous scene in Ghostbusters (1984).
    Doom: There is no Victor. There is only Doom.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Averted, as with most Marvel films. Ben kills at least 43 people during his time with the government, and the team explicitly must kill Doom during the final battle in order to save the world.
  • Time Skip:
    • After the extended prologue at the beginning of the film, the movie jumps forward by over a decade into the present.
    • About a year passes between the characters getting their powers and Doom's attack.
  • Title Drop: Subverted at the end of the movie, when Reed is about to tell the group the idea for their name after he overhears Ben saying "fantastic". The movie cuts to the end titles and credits before Reed suggests the name "Fantastic Four".
  • Unexplained Recovery: Johnny first appears in the lab with a sling around his arm in order to help with construction. As soon as the teleporter-building montage begins — which apparently only took a few days in real time — his arm is magically healed.
  • The Unfavorite: Johnny feels that he's this in the Storm family due to Franklin's fondness for Sue, who shares his interests.
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: The black hole that Victor summoned should have destroyed the world — and much of the nearby Solar System — in less than a second. However, it goes on for minutes and only manages to destroy a city, part of a forest, and Area 57.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: "Plan" is kind of stretching it, but the Fantastic Four suddenly manage to come up with a reasonable attack strategy involving using each other's powers to defeat Doom.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: You would think that Reed's teacher would be impressed that his student built a quantum teleportation device. Instead, he is extremely dismissive of it.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Franklin tells the team working on the teleporter that they're going to make history by being the first to use it. When NASA decides that they should send astronauts there first, the team decides to sneak an expedition themselves without any supervision. Franklin unintentionally gave five individuals superpowers. Also taken literally, he is the unwitting instigator of Doom.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: But only in the trailers.
    Victor: You don't know anything about what's coming.
    Reed: What is coming?
    Victor: Doom!
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Oddly enough, Johnny and Victor at first. By the end of the movie, it appears that Johnny and Ben will become this.
  • Vocal Dissonance: The Thing has Jamie Bell's regular, unaltered voice in one of the trailers. It's a bit jarring to hear a soft voice come out of a gigantic rock man. The final movie apparently has his voice put through a filter, although the effect is fairly obvious.
  • White Male Lead: Due to Ben getting very little screen time before transforming into the Thing, Johnny getting a Race Lift and Sue filling the "girl" Reed ends up coming across as this. He's also depicted as the most resourceful and independent, while the other characters passively accept their fates as military flunkies until Reed convinces them to join him.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: After spending a year in solitude with his superpowers, Victor becomes Doom and goes nuts.
  • Younger and Hipper: The cast is considerably younger than their counterparts in the previous three Fantastic Four films, and the film itself loosely adapts the Younger and Hipper Ultimate Fantastic Four line of comics.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Doom does this to a couple dozen unfortunate scientists and soldiers that get in his way, with his first victim being Doctor Allen.
  • Your Size May Vary: The Thing's size shifts between various shots of the movie.

Alternative Title(s): Fant4stic