Right up until I finally saw Fantastic Four (2015), I honestly believed the film had potential. Taking a new angle on the characters and adding the Cronenbergian body horror element at least struck me as something new and different. I won’t get into whose fault it is that instead of a film that actually offered us something really cool we got the trainwreck currently in cinemas (no, not that Trainwreck).
Still, I think that with just a few changes, this film would have been much better… or at least as good as the Tim Story ones.
4. Get Rid of the Science Fair
The first scene that really took me out of the film was the science fair. Why was Reed showing off a freaking teleporter in a lame high school gymnasium next to kids with plastic planes and model volcanoes? A kid that smart would have been noticed a lot sooner and surely would have been on Dr. Storm’s radar already.
Which brings me to the other reason why the scene didn’t work for me: Dr. Storm just happens to be at this science fair looking for recruits to the Baxter Building and just happens to find a kid who perfected the very thing he spent the last 10 years working on. Seriously?
Here’s my change: cut straight from the scene where young Ben and Reed make the car disappear to the Baxter Building 10 years later or whatever and they find the car with Reed’s name written on it. Then a quick scene in the junkyard where Dr. Storm recruits Reed. This is much more logical, and means we can skip some of the parts where the Baxter Building is made to be like a school – just push Reed into the project already!
3. Expand the Second Act and Get Rid of the Second Time Jump
One of the biggest criticisms of the film is its pacing. Many reviews are saying that the first act is too long, and while I agree, I think they could have gotten away with it had the second act been more substantial. As it stands, it’s basically just filler while we wait for the 4 to get used to their powers so they’re ready to face Doom.
I’d like to see more scenes before the time jump. Johnny learning to turn the flames off, Sue learning to stay visible, Reed making silly faces at himself in the mirror. In one of the trailers it looked like there was a scene where the Thing gets dropped into a military compound and takes it down single handed – why the hell was that cut?!?!
Also, the whole theme of this is meant to be science experiment gone wrong. But by the time we come back to the characters after the year-long time jump, everyone seems pretty cool with the situation. We got very little of them freaking out about being invisible or on fire. Wouldn’t it have made sense to focus on that a little more? And wouldn’t it have added to the tension of the climax if the heroes were still not entirely in control of their powers?
Talk about screw ups! I honestly can’t think of anything the film did right with Dr. Doom other than make him a scientist. I really don’t understand why it’s so hard to do Dr. Doom right on screen. Here’s what I think they should have done.
First, put Doom in Latveria. That should really be a no brainer. You don’t have to make him dictator; in fact, his life should be full of hardships. I’d make him a power hungry scientist who’s being hunted by the Latverian government and looking for his own place to rule. What’s more, he’s just discovered a way into the Negative Zone (yeah, never gonna call it Planet Zero. At least Negative Zone sounds kind of cool). So Doom builds himself a special protective suit and heads off into the Negative Zone to set up a new kingdom where he won’t be bothered by Lateverians.
So when the four finally go to the Negative Zone, they find someone already there and Doom causes the accident that results in them getting their powers. Then, while the Fantastic Four are spending the second act dealing with their powers, Doom starts building up defenses against another “invasion”.
This would bring the whole plot back into focus. It gives the government a reason to search for Reed, a motivation for the Four and Doom to be at odds, and it even gives a reason for Doom always wearing his iconic suit! He could even have Doombots and it would make sense.
If I can come up with this idea in less than an hour, how is it the filmmakers couldn’t do something better?
1. Actually Show The 4 Interacting
One of the most important aspects of the Fantastic Four is that they are a family, and they all have defined relationships with one another. While I understand that this film wanted to show the Four coming together as a team, we never really got to see them interacting with each other. Ben never really speaks to the Storms, and even then the two siblings barely even spend time together. Reed kind of gets a moment with each of the other three, but the fact that he then leaves them for a year kind of negates that.
We’re meant to believe that these four people, no, these four STRANGERS were able to come together as a team in the end? Okay, but then maybe add a few scenes showing that they actually know each other. They don’t have to be one big happy at the end, but they so have to be friends, at least. They could have easily added a scene of Ben and Johnny going on a mission together, or developed Reed and Sue’s romance a bit more. Hell, show us all four getting drunk together before they do a dangerous science experiment. You know, to set an example for the kids…
Anyway, there definitely could have been a better version, and maybe there even is one floating around out there. But for now, these are the changes I would have made to at least make the film enjoyable.
What about you? What would you have changed about Fantastic Four? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!