Adorkable: Reed. His quirky and timid behaviour has this appeal.
Alternate Character Interpretation: Did Victor truly love Sue, or did he only want her so he can rub it in Reed's face for missing his chance? Though his anger at her rejection would suggest the former, his arrogance and lording his superiority over Reed suggests the latter.
Badass Decay: Doctor Doom and Sue Storm (the page image for Took a Level in Badass, mind you) both suffer from this because they were reduced from menacing and empowering to silly and sexy respectively. The third movie probably would have fixed this.
The Human Torch: funny or annoying? For the latter, is it because Chris Evans did a good or bad job at acting for making him come off that way? Also, was his teasing of Ben Grimm funny or too mean-spirited?
Broken Base: The duology's earnest cheesiness remains a massive point of contention to this day. Does it make the films outdated, or does it elevate them above the mostly self-aware humor of later superhero films?
Cult Classic: Thanks to the failure of Fantastic Four (2015), the Tim Story films have become retroactively memorable thanks to how faithful they are to the comics and Michael Chiklis's performance being a standout.
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. 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.
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.
Evil Is Cool: Victor von Doom has some impressive electric powers and likes being soft spoken to others.
Evil Is Sexy: Victor von Doom is quite handsome yet is cruel to the Four and everyone around him.
First Installment Wins: Compared to the reboot, many people consider them as the only good Fantastic Four films.
Fountain of Memes: The Thing is starting to become meme worthy thanks to how well Michael Chiklis performed as the character. Johnny Storm as well due to his snarkiness. Doctor Doom is also meme-worthy due to his memorable dialogue. Sue also produced notable memes.
It has a friendly relationship with the Spider-Man Trilogy due to how joyful these film adaptations are.
It has a kind friendship with the Hellboyduology and Superman Returns because they are all faithful adaptations that got cut short, unfortunately and replaced with worse reboots. Even helps that Doug Jones is in the former franchise and one of the lead characters wears makeup.
A number of MCU fans wanted Michael Chiklis to return as the Thing for a Kevin Feige produced Fantastic Four film. Helps that Chiklis enjoyed playing the character in both films.
Sues relationship with Reed blossoming throughout the course of the films was this because the first film was made when Jessica Alba met Cash Warren on the set and one year after the second film, she got married and had three children.
Many of the cast members said that Jessica Alba would be a great mother given that Sue has maternal instinct. By 2008, it turns out they're right.
Jessica Alba said that she wanted to play a superhero back in her childhood and she eventually played one in these films.
He Really Can Act: Out of the Fantastic Four actors, Michael Chiklis put a lot of effort playing Ben Grimm in both films and the first video game by embracing his role through makeup. He was given a seal of approval by Stan Lee compared to the rest of the cast.
Popularity Polynomial: When the films were released, people considered them forgettable. But when Fantastic Four (2015) came out and thanks to positive write-ups from YouTuber Creator/Irkenus, people looked back at these films kindly.
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, Victor initiates the final fight and all the heroes are trying to do is stop him from hurting innocent people.
Sacred Cow: Michael Chiklis' performance as the Thing is seen in a universally positive light for fans and non-fans.
So Bad, It Was Better: Both on the receiving and giving end - first, the slick visuals and way too comedic approach led some to prefer the Roger Corman movie for being serious yet laughable in its cheapness; and then the 2015 reboot got the films a reappraisal for actually being fun and lighthearted instead of overtly dark and joyless.
Reed's texting fingers that is seen as disgusting, even for Johnny.
Johnny: You know, I've always been both impressed, and disgusted by that.
The extended close up shot of Reed's hand squeezing beneath Ben's door:
Johnny: ...That's gross.
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. The one bright spot, as the "Woobie" entry below shows, is that both critics and fans seem to have held up Chiklis' performance as the best thing about the movies.
These films are considered better than the reboot.
The actors' performances as the 4 and Doctor Doom have yet to be topped off.
Uncanny Valley: An intentional and frightening example for Dr. Doom and his scar making peoples' skin crawl. Fans can't tell if his skin is real or not.
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.
Dr. Doom's electricity in the two films is surprisingly effective from computer generated imagery.
The visual effects for the Human Torch have aged well with a realistic burning effect.
The make-up for the Thing is more effective than the motion capture they would have used.
Watch It for the Meme: Those who know the memes, particularly the Thing and Human Torch's quotes watch the movies for the hell of it.
The Woobie: The Thing. Even the most savage of critics loved Michael Chiklis's performance as Marvel's most lovable 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!). Though to be fair, Jessica and Sue are motherly individuals.
The First Film
Better on DVD: The DVD Extended Edition, which includes all deleted scenes (such as Ben and Alicia's romance) is a much better watch than the theatrical release of the first film.
Stan Lee as Willie Lumpkin for playing a character he created.
Hugh Jackman's facial cameo in the extended cut.
Padding: One major criticism of the film is that it focused more on humor than action throughout the middle Act of the film. The result is the Fantastic Four basically just sitting around waiting for Reed to finish his machine that will return them to normal, and only briefly switching over to Dr. Doom from time to time to show him performing evil deeds.
The Fantastic Four defeating Dr. Doom in the climax and the bridge scene. They are memorable because they are the only times in the first film that the Fantastic Four have done crime fighting.
Johnny Storm skiing, activating his powers and landing on the ice.
Signature Song: "Noots" for the scene where Johnny Storm activates his powers.
Take That, Scrappy!: Those who didn't like the cartoon starring H.E.R.B.I.E. are glad he is a dismantled machine in the extended cut.
They Copied It, So It Sucks!: A common criticism of the 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.
Unexpected Character: In the extended cut, nobody expected Reed Richards' face to change into Wolverine.