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 Johnny Storm forming the titular Fantastic Four. The movie explored their origin story and the subsequent battle with Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon).
It was followed by Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer in June 2007.
The movies in the duology are, in order:
IT'S TROPIN' TIME!
- Action Girl: Sue, of course, who makes good use of her invisibility and force-field powers. Also Cpt. Frankie Raye, Nova from the comic books, is trained in the military.
- Adapted Out:
- The friendship between Alicia Masters and the Silver Surfer from the comics. It was changed with Sue Storm.
- Galactus in the comics has a humanoid appearance wearing purple and blue armor but in the movies, he has no humanlike qualities and is only seen as a black cloud. Hints of his signature helmet do however show up as a shadow on Saturn before Galactus ate it and as a fiery storm in the Earth's atmosphere when Silver Surfer confronted him directly.
- Adaptation Origin Connection: Victor von Doom is with the others during the cosmic ray storm that empowers them because he is Reed Richards's backer, giving him powers of his own and setting up his status as Big Bad.
- Adaptational Badass: In the comics, Doctor Doom is depicted as using Powered Armor to fight the Fantastic Four. Here, he gains superpowers from the same accident that created them.
- 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.
- Johnny also gets some upgrading from the books by making him a qualified NASA astronaut (that got kicked out of NASA for a stunt with some supermodels and a simulator). In the original comics, he was a teenage hipster that had even less reason to be on the flight than Susan.
- This film's version of Sue was the head of Doom's genetics research department before the accident in space.
- Adaptational Name Change: Doomstadt, the capital of Latveria in the comics, is changed to Hassenstadt. It was likely changed because Doom was merely a wealthy businessman who was born in Latveria instead of its leader.
- Adaptational Superpower Change: Doom gets powers in the same accident that empowered the Four, his body is transformed into metal, giving him lightning powers. In the comics, he has no innate powers but wears Powered Armor and has vast knowledge in sorcery.
- Adaptational Wimp: This Doom's metal skin and electric powers don't come anywhere near how dangerous he is in the comics incarnation, who is a wielder of both magic and superscience while wearing Powered Armor on par with Iron Man and possessing the resources of a small nation - all of which he gained through pure work and intellect.
- Affectionate Nickname: Ben calls Reed "Egghead" in an endearing manner.
- He also calls Sue "Susie" a lot.
- And I Must Scream: At the end of the first movie Doom is fully transformed into living metal. His body is heated up and then rapidly cooled, resulting in a crystallization process that leaves him unable to move, and everyone to believe he is dead. Unfortunately for him, he is still fully conscious. He escapes at the start of the sequel.
- Applied Phlebotinum: "Unstable Molecules" are used to explain all the extraordinary things that happen.
- Arc Number: Four, obviously.Reed: When have I ever asked you to do something you absolutely said you could not do?
Ben: Five times.
Reed: I had it at four.
Ben: (walks away) Well, this makes five!
Victor: I have four words. Four little words that can change our lives forever...
Reed: THE CLOUD IS ACCELERATING!
- Artistic License Physics: At one point Johnny tries to make his fire as hot as possible. Sue tells him to stop as he might reach 4000 degrees, which she calls a "supernova", and says that means it's as hot as the surface of the sun and could make the entire atmosphere burn up. For one, that's not remotely what a supernova is. For another, even the surface of the sun is a lot hotter than 4000 degrees, as even if she means in Kelvin, it's about 5700. Finally, getting that hot wouldn't ignite the atmosphere, as a nuclear bomb going off is about 100 million degrees, and the atmosphere is still intact.
- Barrier Warrior: Susan Storm who has the powers to create force fields. In the sequel she threatens to create one inside Victor and expand it until he explodes.
- Battle Couple: Susan Storm and Reed Richards. They end up marrying at the end of the second film.
- 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.
- Blind and the Beast: Ben and Alicia at first. She does soon touch his face and learn the truth, which averts the trope a bit.
- Canon Foreigner: The minor characters of the films, including General Hager originated from the films.
- The Casanova: Johnny is a playboy and a shameless flirt.
- Celebrity Paradox: Stan Lee is BOTH Willie Lumpkin and... well, Stan Lee. 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.
- Chrome Champion: More like Chrome Creep with Victor Von Doom. The Silver Surfer later plays it pretty straight, though.
- Clothing Damage: Constantly since only their uniforms are immune to their powers. Both Played for Laughs and for Fanservice.
- Ben's shirt is shredded from his transformation and he becomes a Walking Shirtless Scene when he's The Thing. When he swaps powers with Johnny in the sequel he burns minor holes in the jersey he's wearing, notably one of the few times he wears clothes.
- Johnny's clothes are incinerated when he activates his powers. The first time it happens while he's skiing in the mountains he crashes into the snow creating an impromptu jacuzzi. In the sequel when Silver Surfer crashes the wedding, he complains about having to ruin his tuxedo before flaming on and giving chase. He was wearing his uniform beneath the tux, though.
- When Susan accidentally swaps powers with the Johnny, she immediately lights up in flame, burning off her non-fireproof clothes, leaving her in the buff on a crowded street.
- Completely averted with Reed, whose clothes seem to stretch along with him perfectly fine.
- 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.
- Commitment Issues: Reed, originally broke up with Sue when she suggested they move in together.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Victor was planning of screwing over Reed from the start.
- Creator Cameo: Stan Lee appears in the first film as the Baxter Building's mailman Willie Lumpkin and in the second film unsuccessfully trying to get into Reed and Sue's wedding.
- Deadpan Snarker: Both Johnny and Ben.
- Demoted to Extra: In the comics, Alicia 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, around the same amount of scenes as in the first movie, so while it's a demotion from the comics, it's pretty consistent (if minor) role in the films.
- Denser and Wackier: Both movies, although the first in particular, are more light-hearted and comedy-focused than other superhero movies at the time, which tended to be more dramatic and had more action in them.
- Dysfunction Junction: At least in the comics they never came into actually trying to hurt each other...
- Everyone Loves Blondes: Sue Richards wants to be seen. At least for Reed.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Doom is responsible for this in two instances:
- In the first film, he blasts a hole in a character. In the trailers, he electrocutes the man near water. This scene helped secure the first film a PG-13 rating.
- Despite being PG, Rise of the Silver Surfer is probably more unafraid to show death than its predecessor.
- 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 still looks pretty bad. They even show the remains again in a later shot.
- Susan is Impaled with Extreme Prejudice and dies in Reed's arms during the climax, although the Silver Surfer manages to save her by giving her some of her power before leaving to deal with Galactus.
- Fanservice: Both Storm siblings show a lot of skin in both movies due to Wardrobe Malfunction shenanigans involving their powers with Clothing Damage and Invisible Streaker. Not to mention the skintight uniform they wear. And they are played by the gorgeous Jessica Alba and the handsome Chris Evans.
- Finger Snap Lighter: Johnny discovers that he can light a flame over his hand by snapping his fingers, and repeatedly snaps to put it out and light it again. Which greatly annoys Sue. When Ben and Johnny swap powers, Ben does this.
- The First Cut Is the Deepest: Victor makes it quite clear that he "hates all of you," while staring directly at Susan.
- Flying Firepower: Johnny Storm, the human torch can fly when he "flames on". When Sue accidentally swaps power with him in the sequel, she can't control him and sends herself flying into the air.
- 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.
- 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.Doom: Do you really think fate turned us into gods so we can refuse these gifts?
Sue: (disdainfully) Victor, you always thought you were a god.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Victor hates Reed for being smarter, and for "stealing" Sue from him.
- Hand-or-Object Underwear:
- The first time Johnny flames on, he vaporizes all of his and later when he finds Reed and Sue he spends a considerable amount of time awkwardly prancing around naked with his ski partner's pink jacket wrapped around his waist.
- On the bridge, when Susan is invisible and stripping off her clothes so she can cross the bridge undetected, her powers suddenly fail and she's suddenly standing in her underwear in the middle of a crowd. She immediately freaks out and tries covering herself with her hands then uses a towel.
- Heroic RRoD: Although it's never taken full effect, Susan's force field powers have dangerous limits to her and if she approaches them, she begins bleeding internally (demonstrated when she contains Johnny's firestorm in the conclusion of the first movie or when she props up the London Eye in the sequel).
- Hot Scientist: Susan, although the scientist part is something of an Informed Ability.
- Hotter and Sexier: Compared to the comics, many of the women wear skimpy clothing, Sue becomes an Invisible Streaker and Johnny has some shirtless moments. There is also some racy humor in the form of innuendos.
- How Do I Shot Web?: Reed and Ben don't have much difficulty figuring out their powers but Sue and Johnny have 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 Johnny's powers when they first switch. Justified with Ben as his powers learning curve largely centers around controlling his own strength. Reed to a lesser degree as his mainly involves extending his reach and not any form of energy projection.
- I Am a Monster: Ben's reaction to the gawkers. Maybe subverted as no one is treating him badly for his mutation and really are just impressed to be in the presence of someone as genuinely heroic as he is (thanks to his efforts on the Brooklyn Bridge). Kids like him and Johnny has been successfully trying to get the team merchandised, meaning his rocky appearance is marketable. It's also tempered by his fiancee's poor reaction to his mutation.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Johnny, apparently.Reed: This isn't permanent. We need to be careful until we're normal again.
Johnny: What if I don't want to be normal?! (gestures towards the Thing) I didn't turn into a monster!
[Thing was about to punch him, but stopped himself.]
- Insistent Terminology: Alicia believes God is a she.
- Invisibility: Sue's powers let her turn invisible. It doesn't work on clothes with the exception of the uniform she was wearing when she got her powers. It's tied to her emotional state, causing it to fail at times. By the time of the sequel, she's skilled enough with it she can turn only a zit on her face invisible just by just concentrating on it.
- Invisible Streaker:
- During Sue's first attempt to use her invisibility to sneak past a crowd, she finds her clothes don't cloak with her and reluctantly starts stripping down. Unfortunately, she's not yet in full control of her powers and they wear off while she's down to her underwear... and still in said crowd. She promptly freaks out and tries to cover herself. When gets angry she turns invisible again and fully strips.
- Later when she's being chased by annoying reporters she starts stripping and when they round the corner, find only a pile of her shed clothing.
- 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?
Sue: You could be killed!
- In the second movie, when the press asks Johnny for a statement regarding Reed and Sue's impending wedding, he jokingly quips, "Please, let's not make this all about me." Later, he offers to take on the combined powers of his teammates to take on Doctor Doom.
Johnny: Please, Sue, let's not make this all about me.
- 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. In the second movie, he falls squarely into Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory as it becomes apparent that some of his antics mask his own insecurities.
- Ben's fiancee Deb in the first film counts as well. Not only does she scream and run upon seeing what he's been turned into without even giving him a chance to explain himself— despite how he was genuinely trying to assure her the whole time it was still him, so she didn't have the excuse of mistaking him for a potential attacker (The initial scream is forgivable, shock, but it should have been followed by tears, hugs, and cries of 'Who did this to you? I'll kill him!"). But then she shows up later on in a later scene where he saves a fire truck and its crew from falling off a bridge. Surely that'd be a good time for her to see that he's still Ben and a hero deep down despite his fearsome appearance? Nope. She just goes to the front of the crowd to make sure she sees him, stares at him, wordlessly breaks up with him, and just leaves— taking off and throwing her engagement ring at his feet as well just to really rub salt into the wound. Almost makes you wonder what he ever saw in her in the first place. Admittedly she's crying at the time so she probably isn't very happy with herself either.
- Victor, but frankly, would anyone expect anything else from him?
- Likewise, Ned Cecil never liked Victor even before the cosmic storm incident.
- Jumped at the Call: The Human Torch, but only because there was no higher calling than getting girls and making money in his view.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Whilst it doesn't last long, Johnny accidentally switching powers with Ben and becoming the Thing after all the crap he puts Ben through. Ben clearly enjoyed it.
- Lighter and Softer: Both movies, although the first in particular, are more light-hearted and comedy-focused than other superhero movies at the time, which tended to be more dramatic and had more action in them.
- 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.
- Misguided Missile: Johnny does this.
- Modesty Towel:
- Reed gets an Accidental Pervert moment as he accidentally walks in on Sue when she's about to get into the shower. She responds by clutching the towel to her and simultaneously turning invisible... you'd think one of the two would be enough, but maybe it was just reflex.
- In the sequel, where Johnny comes out of a shower room wrapped in a towel and is accosted by Frankie. Johnny insists she was waiting there on purpose to catch him in a towel. He even turns up the heat and evaporates all the water still on his skin for effect. She ignores him and walks away.
- Monumental Damage: Happens quite a bit in these movies, particularly in Rise (such as leaving a large crack on the Washington Monument when Johnny is chasing the Surfer or knocking over the London Eye when the Surfer appears at the River Thames).
- Movie Superheroes Wear Black: The FF are in much darker blue than the comics, but it's still definitely blue. Likewise, Dr. Doom wears much a much darker green cloak, and the gold bits are also much darker.
- Mr. Fanservice: Johnny Storm who ends up destroying his clothes and ends up with only nurse Kelly's jacket wrapped at his waist to cover himself.
- Ms. Fanservice: Susan Storm played by Jessica Alba. If she's not wearing her skintight suit she's stripping so she can be invisible which conveniently fades at the worst possible times. She also gets all her clothes burned off when she and Johnny switch powers in the sequel and she ends up naked when they switch back. In front of a whole load of people. At least in the first movie, she still has her underwear. Alba even reports that her death scene in the second movie was reshot with the direction to die sexier.
- 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.
- My Suit Is Also Super: Due to being what they were wearing when the incident that gave them their powers happened, uniforms gained "unstable molecules" that allowed them to be immune to their own powers.
- Mythology Gag: Has its own page.
- Naked People Are Funny: Susan and Johnny's naked shenanigans are Played for Laughs as much as they are for Fanservice.
- Naked Freak-Out:
- Sue in the bridge sequence, when her invisibility fails her while she's stripping down, she freaks out at being half-naked in the middle of a gawking crowd.
- In the sequel, she swaps powers with Johnny and ends up incinerating her clothes and flying into the air. When they swap back, she drops to the floor in the buff surrounded by hundreds of flashing cameras, before Reed brings attention to her nudity and she promptly turns invisible, mortified.
- Nice Girl: Ben's girlfriend Alicia Masters, who likes him for who accepts him for the person he is.
- The Notable Numeral: 4. Written on the sky, in case you missed in on their chests.
- 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, This arises as a temporary side effect of the Silver Surfer's energy aura on Johnny, making him unstable. Whenever Johnny touches one of the other heroes, they swap powers with him (this somehow even includes instantly transforming Ben back into his human form). Near the end, Johnny ends up copying all their powers to face down Doctor Doom with their combined might.
- Power Perversion Potential:
- A reporter asking Johnny about Reed's powers: "Is it true what they say about him, that he can expand ''any'' part of his anatomy?" Cue "Oooooooh"s from the girls standing around.
- To say nothing of Johnny riding the elevator on the Baxter Building up and down all day, and raising the temperature whenever a hot chick stepped in so that she wound up having to take her clothes off.
- Product Placement: There are product placements of Burger King (the company that would do the fast-food tie-ins), Xbox, and Activision.
- Psycho Electro: Victor becomes much more psychotic once he gains his electric powers.
- Race Lift: Alicia Masters was white in the comics, and she's played by black actress Kerry Washington in these movies.
- 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.
- Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Susan isn't pleased whenever she has to strip down to use her invisibility. In the sequel when she burns off her clothes and she lies naked on the sidewalk in the middle of a crowd of reporters, she laments while turning invisible "Why does this always happen to me?"Reed: Wow, you've been working out.
Sue: Shut up!
- Reluctant Hero: The Fantastic Four, except for Johnny of course.Johnny: Am I the only one who thinks this is cool?
- Rubber Man: Reed's power, which also him to stretch any part of his body.
- 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.
- Second Love: After his fiancée Deb walks out on him for being The Thing, Ben meets and falls for Alicia who is blind but accepts him for who he is.
- Sequel Hook: Both endings, conspicuously.
- In the original movie the crate Von Doom is being shipped to Latveria in begins experiencing electromagnetic interference, suggesting that he is still conscious despite his petrified state. Followed up in Rise of the Silver Surfer.
- In Rise the Silver Surfer is shown to have survived his board's discharge and the board swoops in to carry him off. Also, Von Doom isn't killed but simply thrown into the ocean, leaving open the possibility to return as well. Resulted in being Left Hanging when the franchise was canceled then rebooted.
- Shipper on Deck: Ben to Reed and Sue.Ben: (after Reed accepted Sue has moved on) Do I have to do everything myself?
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Susan and Johnny are pretty diametric, Susan being mature and professional while her brother is an extreme sports-loving playboy with a streak of sass as long as his flame trail.
- 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.
- Token Evil Teammate: Victor Von Doom. Notably in the second movie, where he's already an established villain and later betrays the group again.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- In the second film, the General repeatedly trusts Doom over Richards, even giving him access to studying the Surfer's board. Likely due to their mutual dislike of Richards. He even has the audacity to appear surprised when Victor inevitably screws everyone over and steals the board for himself!
- Victor also qualifies in the second film. He becomes so self-absorbed with power by stealing the Surfer's Board (beacon) that even when Galactus arrives to the point you can hear it and see it in the sky, Doom is adamant to keep the board for himself. Doom was very much willing to get eaten just to play with a stolen toy for a few more minutes.
- Twofer Token Minority: Alicia Masters is a blind, black female.
- Vanity License Plate: Johnny Storm's car has tags that read TORCH'D.
- Villain Exclusivity Clause: Dr. Doom is the villain in both movies (albeit with a temporary Enemy Mine situation in the second).
- Villainous Crush: Doom and Sue briefly dated while she worked for him, but Sue never had any feelings for Doom. He was about to propose to her while in the space station, until the warnings of the cosmic storm interrupted him. He looked displeased when Sue stayed at the Baxter Building, where she and Reed rekindled their romance. At the climax, Sue fights him when he descends to villainy. Doom tells her she's fired and retaliates, and renounces his feelings for her. In the sequel, he appears to still be bitter about their break-up, as he stares at her specifically when he tells the Fantastic 4 he hates them all.Doom: To think, I was about to share my life with you.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Ben and Johnny, as always.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Ben as The Thing since no clothes fit him.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Johnny tends to receive these.
- Johnny left the Baxter Building to go an extreme stunt bike show, after being confined in it for too long while Richards tries to find a cure for their powers, and for painting them as superheroes. Which led to a brief fight between him and the Thing.Johnny: [after the Thing walked away in anger] He started it!
Sue: I don't care who started it! Damnit, Johnny!
- Raye gives him one after he downplays how disastrous the mission to capture the Silver Surfer went.Raye: All I've seen is a guy who almost got his team killed.
- Johnny left the Baxter Building to go an extreme stunt bike show, after being confined in it for too long while Richards tries to find a cure for their powers, and for painting them as superheroes. Which led to a brief fight between him and the Thing.
- In the first film, Sue lets Reed have it when he said he's happy that she's with Victor, after not seeing each other for two years since their break-up.
- Johnny tends to receive these.
- Wreathed in Flames: Johnny's powers manifest with him being covered in flames and is immune to his own fire. Sue also becomes this in the sequel briefly, when she switches powers with Johnny.
- You Remind Me of X: The Silver Surfer tells Sue she reminds him of the one he loves, although Shalla-Bal is not named.Silver Surfer: My service spares my world, and the one I love.
Sue: Why did you try to protect me?
Silver Surfer: Because you remind me of her.