Last weekend saw the biggest bomb since the last H-bomb was tested: Fantastic Four. The two previous FF films are not that highly rated, and this one was generally deemed the worst. Even the never officially released 1994 Fantastic Four movie is seen as a better film. So what would it take to make a decent Fantastic Four movie? Let Bedford fill you in.
Here is the first thing to do: DO NOT MAKE DOCTOR DOOM THE VILLAIN. We have been there, done that. All four FF films have had Doctor Doom and the only one that did a decent job portraying Doom was the 1994 one. Doctor Doom is all about amassing power. He did it by not only being a scientific genius second only to Reed Richards, but also learned arcane power. He was tried and succeed in getting not only Galactus’ power, but immediately stole the power of the Beyonder. During the Acts of Vengeance he tried to steal the Captain Universe power from Spider-Man. That’s what I like about the 1994 film Doom…he tried to take power for the asteroid, and he tried to steal the FF’s power for his own.
Where the 2005 and 2015 films failed is by screwing up Doom’s origins by tying his so hand in hand with the FF’s. Doom’s origin is complicated: drummed out of college in embarassment, he goes about learning arcae power to try to rescue his mother’s soul from a demon, fails and is hurt in doing so, recovers by taking over a small European country, and then seeks vengeance by going after his old college rival, Richards. Doom does not get his powers the dame way the FF does. He’s a megalomaniac that rules a country and creates a scary blend of scientific and magical creations. That’s too much origin story for a film that also shows the FF’s origins. You use Doom in the second movie…not the first.
Instead, in the first movie the Fantastic Four fights the Skrulls and the Mole Man. Here are the Chapters:
Chapter 1: In a race to get the first civilian spacecraft for tourists ready, Reed and his pilot/friend Ben are convinced by the owners of Storm Subsidiaries, Sue and Johnny, to take them on a test flight to the dark side of the moon.
Chapter 2: The future FF discovers a secret area on the moon inhabited by a race of shape-changing creatures called Skrulls, who intend to empower their covert agents already on Earth with the same powers they have given their greatest hero…the Super-Skrull.
Chapter 3: the FF manages to escape, that to some unseen “watcher”. However, as they escape they see the Skrulls launching the ray that will give all the Skrulls on Earth the Super-Skrull powers. They decided to sacrifice themselves to stop the ray. They succeed in removing this threat for good, but…
Chapter 4: They crash land on an uncharted island in the Indian Ocean. There they learn that by splicing the Skrull ray in 4, they were each bombarded by one of the powers the ray could give out. To Ben’s dismay, the shift to and from rock was dependent of the inherent Skrull shape-shifting ability,
Chapter 5: While trying to find part to repair their spaceplane, a monster controlled by the Mole Man attacks. They manage to drive it back, but fear they may have not heard the last of the Mole Man. Upon repairing their spaceplane, they hear that Skrulls have decided to go ahead and attack the Earth with those that are already on Earth, led by the Super-Skrull. The Skrulls are headed to Cape Canaveral, so the FF decide to chase them down.
Chapter 6: FF arrives in time to kick ass, take names, and stop the Skrull invasion, helped in part by a few Skrulls that had sneaked abroad their ship, but were impressed by them. The FF are international heroes, and are awarded the big spaceplane contract.
Mid-credits scene: Afraid of being killed as traitors, the Skrulls hand their fates over to Richards. He takes Sue’s suggestion to have them turn themselves into cows, hypnotize them into thinking they are cws, and then arrange for them to spend the rest of their lives on a central-Florida petting zoo.
Post-credits scene: we see the back of a man wearing an armored suit and green cape watching them on a screen, and note how impressive they were, but not as impressive as he is.
There you have a great FF movie, with plenty of fight scenes and heroics, perfect for visiting an air-conditioned theatre and munching away on some popcorn for. Yes, at the end I had a sneaky Doctor Doom cameo, but he is just an Easter egg. It sets off FF as the protectors of the Earth from cosmic invaders, similar to their roles in traditional comics. We also set ourselves for the next three films in the series. In the second film, Mole Man decides to attack Europe with sea monsters (inn place of the Submariner, whose rights issues will keep him away from film). In the third film we finally use Doctor Doom, who decides to expand his control from Latvia to the rest of the world by finding what the Skrulls had left behind. In a fourth film we get Galactus, who will sure as well not bad a cloud; might have him instead of attacking Earth attack other planets, which out of fear this might spell trouble for the Earth the FF investigates. A fifth film might see Doctor Doom try to steal Galactus’ powers for his own benefit.
There you have the right plan for any future Fantastic Four franchise. Last week I watched the 1994 Fantastic Four movie and reviewed it and wrote what a good FF movie requires, where I also went into detail what to do if you really need to add “diversity” to the FF. Good stuff, penguin’s oath.
Quoth the penguin…evermore.
My pop culture specialties are Star Wars, Transformers, Wizards of the Coast games, and the 1980s.My scholarly specialties are history, geography, and travel.
Join me every Friday for the Pop Culture Curmudguin.
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