Better on DVD: The DVD Extended Edition for the first movie, which includes all deleted scenes (such as Ben and Alicia's romance) is a much better watch than the theatrical release.
Complete Monster: In the novelizations, by Peter David & Daniel Josephs respectively, Victor Von Doom is portrayed as nothing like his regular incarnations, but rather a complete psychopath with delusions of godhood. Having a petty hatred of Reed Richards for not being as smart as him, Doom first attempts to leave his own fiancée, Sue Storm, to die alongside Reed and others to save his own skin. After gaining metallic skin and electromagnetic abilities, Doom murders his doctor for trying to tell others of his "condition", and later murders a business partner for insulting him. By the end of the first novel, Doom's true personality has come into full display, as he attempts to sadistically freeze Reed to death. In the second novel, Doom allies with Reed and rest of the Fantastic Four to stop the titular Silver Surfer; it is quickly revealed that it was a ploy on Doom's part to steal the Surfer's power, which he immediately uses to gruesomely kill an army general and numerous soldiers. In the end, as Gah Lak Tus arrives and begins destroying the Earth, Doom, rather than stop Gah Lak Tus with his power, only laughs as the world slowly starts to die around him, proclaiming he longer needs the Earth or anyone else, just himself.
Designated Hero: The Fantastic Four themselves edge on this in the first film. The four show no interest in actually being superheroes and spend most of the film trying to get rid of their powers instead of using them to do good, save for Johnny who instead uses his powers in selfish and irresponsible ways. The only two feats of heroism the group performs — helping contain the car crash on the bridge and stopping Doom — are problems they directly cause. But thanks to Ben causing the bridge accident flying under the radar, the media loves them and dubs them heroes. It gets even worse in the next movie where Reed has to provide help in saving the world from catastrophe in secret because Susan wants him to focus completely on her wedding (although Sue doesn't hold this against him, agreeing it's the right thing to do).
Draco in Leather Pants: Doom is a truly self-serving, controlling villain who enjoys causing mayhem and killing innocent people after he develops his powers, but reviewers of the movie or fans discussing it will often treat him as the true good guy of the film who got a bum rap. In a bit of a twist this seems to be as much about his charisma and charm as a character as it is an overall dislike for the actual heroes in the story, and their perceived incompetence.
Watching Chris Evans's performance as Johnny is particularly funny with the knowledge that he went on to slip into the costume of another Marvel hero Captain America. That's about as far removed from Johnny as you'll get. Even better when you remember Scarlett Johansson, the future Black Widow, who had already starred in a number of films alongside Evans, was considered to play Sue. Also, some time after Johnny got his powers, he went skiing and fell into ice!
The 2005 video game adaptation of the first movie not only features the main cast of the movie reprising their roles for the game but also featured an appearance by Ultimate Nick Fury, meaning you get to hear Chris Evans talking to the Samuel L. Jackson version of the character a full six years before Evan's first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.note Just his likeness, if you want to get technical. Although his voice actor has had experience playing the character in other media as well.
The complaints about Chris Evans and Jessica Alba not looking plausibly relatednote Evans being Caucasian while Alba is of Mexican ancestry are hilarious in light of the reboot casting the Storm siblings with Michael B. Jordan and Kate Mara, who look even less alike; just for starters, they're not even of the same race.note Jordan is African-American while Mara is Caucasian. The film eventually explained this by having Sue be adopted.
Paul Walker was nearly cast as Johnny. This would have made the scene at the bridge Hilarious in Hindsight - as Johnny's reaction to Sue stripping is to ask for Brain Bleach. Walker would later play Jessica Alba's boyfriend in the movie Into the Blue where Alba would wear very little.
Stan Lee's cameo in Rise of the Silver Surfer, where he's being denied entry from Reed and Susan's wedding, is a bit funnier when he has no cameo in the 2015 reboot.
Ron the Death Eater: The four protagonists tend to get the Designated Hero label thrown at them due to the fact that they end up causing a lot of damage in the city (namely the incident on the bridge). However, all four of the heroes (even Johnny) appear to be honest people making honest mistakes. They just happen to be honest people with occasional Power Incontinence; it's just that no one ever calls them out on their actions, good intentioned or not. What's more is that Victor initiates the final fight and all the heroes are trying to do is stop him from hurting innocent people.
In the sequel, it's grossly obvious whenever the Silver Surfer is CGI (which he is throughout the majority of the film) or just a man with special makeup effects.
Mr. Fantastic's stretching effects look ridiculously cartoony.
Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Rise of the Silver Surfer was considered to be an improvement over its predecessor in many reviews, though not enough to be considered a good film overall, due to having more action than the first film. This can be seen in the Rotten Tomatoes scores for bothfilms (the first film has 27%, while the second one has 37% with critics).
They Copied It, So It Sucks!: A common criticism of the first movie is that its spends too much time trying to copy Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Trilogy whether it be adding a campy humorous tone, taking a grounded approach and not exploring the cosmic and subterranean parts of the early FF adventures, or even changing Doctor Doom to an evil CEO like Norman Osborn.
Took the Bad Film Seriously: As a fan of the comics, Michael Chiklis seemed to have put the most effort into his portrayal of Ben Grimm. Rather than simply voicing a CGI creation for the same pay, he insisted on wearing physical prosthetics and make-up to give an authentic and humanistic portrayal. Needless to say, many fans lamented how the movies were a disservice to a dedicated fan like Chiklis.
Unintentionally Unsympathetic: As The Agony Booth recap insists, all of the heroes. They do little more than fight with each other, examine their powers and solve problems that they themselves caused. Doom becomes a villain because Reed was incompetent at his job and miscalculated the cosmic storm's speed. The traffic jam on the bridge was the result of Ben destroying a semi when saving a suicide jumper, and the explosion soon afterwards is caused by Sue making a distraction. When escaping Doom's heat seeking missile Johnny sets a garbage barge on fire, likely killing or at least endangering whoever was driving it, and in the climactic street battle Doom is only at street level, where large amounts of civilians are located, because Ben knocked him down there.
In the sequel, they actually become even more unsympathetic. Around the world, the weather is acting strange and giant chasms are opening up, signifying that something big is about to go down and it certainly won't be good for Earth. But the Fantastic Four (sans Mister Fantastic) would rather focus on Sue's wedding than a potentially world-ending disaster. Heck, when MF actually tries to help out with the anomalies, the rest of the team give him grief, because how dare he try to save the world when Sue's wedding is on the line!
Vindicated by History: While these films were never held in high regard, some have gained more of an appreciation for them after Josh Trank's reboot of the series was not only trashed by critics and audiences, but a Box Office Bomb on top of it. Basically, the 2015 film's weaknesses made those of the previous duology look less bad, and made their strengths stand out more.
The Woobie: The Thing. Even the most savage of critics loved Michael Chiklis's performance as Marvel's most loveable Tragic Monster. Jessica Alba said that Michael Chiklis was so damn good at pulling this off that she just wanted to hug him between takes because he looked so sad.
WTH, Casting Agency?: Jessica Alba is generally considered to be miscast, either because of the ethnic trench between her and her onscreen brother Chris Evans (which, to be fair, is pretty easy to miss if you don't already know), or otherwise for being too young for the role and not really resembling most depictions of the character at all; the general assumption is that she was cast mostly for star power and to be a general movie draw (which is especially problematic, as Sue isn't intended to be a Fanservice prop - she's the most powerful member of the team!).