The Girl Loves Ink | Why I Liked the Fantastic Four Movie

In the first edition of Catherine Bathe’s new comics column, she sets out to defend the much-maligned new Fantastic Four movie.

 

 

I’m an X-Men fan, so it’s difficult for me to get excited about superhero movies sometimes. But can you blame me, really? We all try to forget about X-Men 3, but there it is, in the back of our minds like a festering, icky thing.

Things have been pretty good with the movies since X-Men 3, however, and lately it is easier to be excited about superhero movies. I happily camped my computer screen to secure tickets to the 7:00 PM showing of Avengers: Age of Ultron the day before everyone else got to see it. And I was even excited about X-Men: Days of Future Past, even after that personal success ( though I’m still on the worried side about X-Men: Age of Apocalypse). Like so many, I pay close attention to what my friends in other time-zones are saying about movies that I haven’t seen yet, and of course, there is the holiest of holies: Rotten Tomatoes.
So when a group of friends that I met during my third year of college in my Graphic Novel class decided that our movie for August would be the new Fantastic Four reboot, there was a half-groan. All of the early reviews had totally panned it and people who had seen it earlier than we did had nothing but complaints about it. But! Even with that, tickets had been purchased and, let’s be honest, anything can be made better with popcorn, candy boxes, and running commentary from your friends. I saw that the first two showings for the movie that day had been completely sold out, so I had a bit of hope that it wasn’t going to be all bad.  
I am not a Fantastic Four follower, so I decided to take this movie in like someone who knew very little about the comic book heroes, heroines, and villains that these characters were supposed to be based on.
I genuinely enjoyed the new Fantastic Four, with some minor gripes.
Each of the characters felt more fleshed out to me than the last go-around with the first family of comics (which was 2005, by the way). Of course, a lot of my focus throughout the movie was on the portrayal of Susan Storm, the Invisible Woman. In this rendition of the Fantastic Four, she was not so invisible—of course, she was the mutual love interest of our ill-fated Victor Von Doom and Reed Richards, but she was very much a part of the story. The interpretation of her invisibility powers fit the character and made her addition to the team worthwhile—prior to the underage-drinking and ego-driven adventure to their mystery planet, Susan Storm demonstrates her desire to protect people, so the main use of her powers as a protective barrier plays very well with this personality trait. Her invisibility in this movie universe is less of the normal invisibility and is described as more of a manipulation of the space around her. It allows her to fly, turn herself and other objects invisible, and to project the protective barrier.
I felt the same way about the other characters as well. Early in the movie, we see a young Reed Richards attempting to stretch the everyday items around him in over to prove to a young Ben Grimm that he’s not crazy and is able to teleport them. I also enjoyed the very early declaration of “It’s clobbering time” from Grimm’s older brother as the younger of the two shirks his family duties to work on homework. The adaptation of Johnny Storm from what Chris Evans presented him as, in 2005, to a teenager who is wasting his intellectual potential to street race was, I thought, a very topical interpretation of the character. It reflected an indication that times have changed a bit and street racing is an always-popular pastime —I know quite a few people who participate in street racing and love their “racecars.”
After Susan Storm, my second favorite character interpretation was Victor Von Doom. If Reed Richards is the bright light of genius supported, then Victor Von Doom is the suspicious, dark light of the same trait. After rejoining the young scientists, he is concerned with the presence of the corporate overlords who will use their discovery and inventions against them while he is also, of course, distracted by Susan Storm. He played pretty well with the rest of the group, but kept an interested gaze on Susan and Reed, and didn’t sacrifice comradery with the other boys in the group to stake his claim on Susan. In the final confrontation (some mild spoilers ahead),the way that Doom is swallowed by the planet and becomes an extension of it, and what he does with that power during the movie’s final confrontation, reminded me very much of the boss encounter with Dr. Doom in the free-to-play video game, Marvel Heroes. In that game, the encounter with Dr. Doom (which takes place in his castle fortress in his home country of Latveria) finds him demonstrating his power by tearing pieces of the floor apart and exposing the galaxy beneath it—one can assume that he is demonstrating the insane amount of power that he has come to control through the game’s story. The Dr. Doom encounter is a three “stage” fight with each stage adding more abilities to Dr. Doom’s repertoire, destroying not only your frame rates, but your health bar as well if you’re not careful. It makes a player wonder what it might have been like if Dr. Doom had chosen to put his genius to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. and the good guys, a daydream that Marvel Heroes changed into reality during their fifth anniversary when they made Dr. Doom a playable hero choice.
The connection that Marvel Heroes Dr. Doom has with his reality and its similarity with 2015 cinema Dr. Doom may have just been something I observed.

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