A Review by Noah Antwiler
There's a legend of a movie, usually mentioned in the same conversations as the failed Atari game E.T. The Extraterrestrial: a game so bad that they buried it thousands of copies in the desert when they discovered it couldn't even be given away. It's the legend of a movie produced by Roger Corman, one of the most prolific makers of bad movies in history, and frequent MST3K alumnus. Corman made a movie based on the Fantastic Four that was supposedly so bad that the studio canned it completely without even a hint of public release. Maybe you can find a bootleg copy of it somewhere. Maybe some obsessive comic book fan will sell a grainy copy with bad tracking to you at a convention. And if you want to see a movie about the Fantastic Four, I encourage you to do so, because even Roger Corman couldn't make a movie as bad as 2005's cure for constipation, Fantastic Four.
It's the worst movie of the year so far, fantastic only in the magnitude of how badly it sucks. It's a movie so nauseatingly bad, words do not exist to describe the agony of being subjected to something so painful. There are no words for the shame that all people involved in the making of the picture should feel, or myself for paying money for a ticket. There is nothing redeemable or salvageable from this movie. Nothing that stands out as a positive force. Not one aspect of the acting, directing, editing, scripting, or effects that anyone should be proud of. It's a movie so foul, so pointless, so monumentally pathetic that you could have a better time gargling lukewarm bacon grease. I could have written a better script on my notepad in eight seconds. In fact, I did. Here it is:
The Fantastic Four DO SOMETHING.
When a movie gets made that's worse than the recent Punisher and Hulk movies, there's been a serious crime against art. This movie doesn't need a critic, it needs a goddamn exorcist. It's an unholy mess, a failure on every conceivable level from conceptual to technical. It's so absolutely awful that it made me hate the comics themselves, and may have even killed my desire to ever see another comic book movie adaptation for fear of encountering a film anywhere near the level of Fantastic Bore. It's that bad. It doesn't just make you hate the movie itself, it makes you hate all movies ever made. I've reviewed bad films before, even lame flicks made by hacks like Uwe Boll, but it's a rare film that manages to kill a little bit of my joy for movies. Now I will have my vengeance.
Fantastic Snore is brought to the world by Dark Lord of the Shit Tim Story, the man responsible for Taxi in which we were expected to watch Jimmy Fallon play a cop and not burn the theater down. Story makes the bold decision to completely ignore much of the established backstory from the comics and murder the character of Victor von Doom entirely, replacing him with a one-dimensional leering idiot with no notable traits other than being rich and evil. It's a shame because Doctor Doom is considered by many to be one of the most fleshed-out and interesting characters in Marvel comics, in this film reduced to Mr. Burns with metal skin.
Before the Four became Fantastic, the movie starts out with only Reed Richards and his lumpy sidekick Ben Grimm. They're here to beg wealthy corporate mogul Victor von Doom for funding to go into space so that Reed can research a cosmic storm of energy. This storm is similar, he says, to a storm that may have caused the origin of all life on the Earth, including Ozzy Osbourne. What should alarm him is that the storm is accelerating which-- according to the laws of physics-- really shouldn't be happening without some external force applied to it. But none of the master scientists manage to bring this up. "Same old Reed, always stretching," Doom says, "always reaching for the stars."
If you thought that was funny or clever, get off my website now. Dialogue this bad makes me want people to suffer.
Doom's loving every second of this, because Reed's essentially on his knees begging for money and it gives Doom a chance to be smug. He decides to go for the smugness deathblow by pointing to the door and announcing that he's also stolen Reed's old girlfriend. "My director of genetic research, Susan Storm!" he sneers. Reed looks over, looking all "thanks for the bulletin." Sue's played by Jessica Alba, who later becomes the Invisible Woman-- or as I call her, the Fantastic Whore. Jessica Alba is a one-women movie disaster, able to sink the best of movies. She nearly made Sin City unwatchable with her atrocious lack of acting talent, and didn't even take her clothes off for the role like she should have. Here, she takes an already disgusting movie into truly septic levels. In Sin City, Alba's head nearly exploded from the strain of trying to portray a topless dancer (and failing). Now she's trying to act like a brilliant scientist? Sweet Jesus, can you imagine Jessica Alba trying to make change behind the counter of a Taco Bell, much less trying to conduct genetic experiments? I doubt she could tell a test tube from a tampon. If Alba ever seriously tried to get into genetics she'd go about four years before realizing you can't clone stuffed animals. Genetics? Yeah I can see her doing a paternity test. Bollocks. If anyone ever actually attempted to believe that Alba was qualified to do anything with sperm other than swallow it, their suspension of disbelief would snap so hard people would die in the blast.
In the last few years, movie audiences have been expected to believe that some of the dimmest women on the planet able of complex scientific thought. As if we'll be fooled to think that Jessica Alba could outwit a ham sandwich because you put her hair up, or put glasses on her. Please. I wouldn't let her go into the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese without supervision. And now, it's time for . . .
Stupid Bitch Scientists Who Couldn't Do Long Division!
Man, just let the memories from those movies wash over you for a second. Denise Richards should belong in some kind of bad movie Hall of Shame for her role as a brilliant mathematician in Starship Troopers alone.
Doom insists on his own pilot for the shuttle instead of Grimm (just accept that this guy you don't know can fly a shuttle), Sue's EXTREME brother Johnny Storm. Why is Johnny EXTREME? Why because he's the most EXTREME dude ever! Whenever we see him on the camera, he's accompanied by the wailing strains of conformist rebellion rock and doing EXTREME motocross, or EXTREME snowboarding, or EXTREME swing choir! He does it all TO THE MAX!!! YEAH!! I don't know where Johnny learned how to pilot a space shuttle either, considering he seems to be in his mid-twenties, but since he's just so BALLS TO THE WALL EXTREME he doesn't need training, baby! He'll pilot that space shuttle TO THE MAX! He'll pilot that shuttle so hardcore EXTREME it'll punch your BALLS OFF and mack your sister while you watch!
I really don't like the guy they got from Nip/Suck, so I'm going to call him Victor von Dumb from now on. Since I'm still pissed off at how badly Alba fouled up Sin City, I'm calling her The Invisible Talent. The Four start suiting up in their outfits before the mission and comment on how cool the suits are. Johnny thinks they're just EXTREME, and Reed marvels at their molecular composition. "It's just lycra, you faggot," Grimm mutters. The Invisible Talent hears them talking about the suits and comes around the corner with her suit three-quarters zipped, with her tits hanging out all over the place. "Victor designed these," she gloats about her cool evil boyfriend. I'll bet Victor designed them if you're gonna wear 'em like that, baby. None of the guys can hear her, of course, they're all too busy gawking at her cleavage to form coherent thought. But why did Sue come around the corner at that exact moment? It was like she zipped up to the perfect level to let her hooters hang and optimally objectify herself. She was zipping up, heard them talking, had just managed to pull the zipper under her breasts and decided to herself, "It'd be just too much damn effort to complete the remaining thirteen inches up to my neck; what I have to say can't wait." I think a guy putting his pants on would usually zip his fly instead of spontaneously jumping around a corner at people with his tackle hanging out. And not to obsess over her tits, but that jumpsuit does an exceptional job of lifting and separating. It's got a built-in wonder bra! At any rate, I have a fair idea of how Sue got her job at Doom Industries.
Throughout the movie, Alba's hair has been wrestled up into a Smart Person look that manages to nullify the only good thing she brings to the film: absolute hawtness. The hair looks bad, and I think it's because she has a weird egg-shaped head.
All right all right, I'm getting upset, and you want to know more about the movie. I'll get on it.
Johnny keeps breaking Grimm's balls about his looks, his baldness, and the notion that he seems to be Reed's bitch. Yeah, that's what you want to do to the guy from The Shield. Chiklis kicks Johnny in the kneecap, wedges his head against a railing, and splits his skull open with the point of his elbow. Reed starts freaking out because his calculations are completely wrong, and the cosmic wave will hit in a manner of minutes instead of hours. Oh thank God, because I thought we were going to have to sit here for hours waiting for this damn wave to hit. Doom proposes marriage to The Invisible Talent, but is interrupted by Reed running into the room and spazzing all over the place.
"Omigodomigodthere'sagiantwavecominganditsgonnahituswhatarewegonnadoholyshit!!" Reed blathers. Reed insists that they need to abort the mission, but Doom's like "Yeah whatever, I'm banging your girlfriend."
A really phony-looking cosmic wave hits the station, causing all the people aboard to freeze in silly still-poses. All the special effects look about three years behind the trend, and it's sad when most video games look better than your movie. The wave wipes out everyone on the station, and the scene fades to black.
Grimm awakens in a hospital bed.
*sigh* I'll try to put this as calmly as I can.
WHO IN THE HELL FLEW THE SHUTTLE BACK TO EARTH???
EVERYONE WAS UNCONSCIOUS!!
Seriously, someone would have had to load everyone's unconscious body back into the shuttle and fly it back. I think we can only assume that Nightcrawler bamfed onto the station and rescued them. On second thought, I think it's more plausible to assume that the scriptwriter was dumber than a retarded earthworm. Anyway, everyone seems fine after their encounter. Johnny can't stand being cooped up in the hospital, and tries to skip out to do some snowboarding TO THE MAX. Johnny has the incredible good fortune to have the hottest nurse in the world, but even chicks can't get in the way of the pursuit of EXTREME. The nurse tries to take Johnny's temperature, which starts shooting off the scale. "Ooh you're hot!" she exclaims.
Without missing a beat, Johnny fires back "Why thank you, so are you!" I don't think Johnny's so much manifesting his Human Torch powers as he's got a skull full of hot air with lines like that. The slopes are in Johnny's blood, baby, and he has the need for speed! Johnny be-bops out to a helicopter with an EXTREME hot chick while some faux-Hoobastank music rocks some EXTREME licks. Johnny's stunt double snowboards down the slopes, just like all the kooky hip kids are doing now. All this EXTREME is giving me terrible xXx flashbacks of Vin Diesel leaping out the back of an airplane while roaring "I LIVE FOR THIS SHIT!!" God I wish I was watching that right about now. Anything, ANYTHING else...You read it right, folks, Sucktastic Chore is making me long for xXx. I hope everyone involved in this project burns in hell.
Johnny's boarding away until he bursts into flames, the same problem that reportedly cost Jonny Moseley the gold medal at the Olympics. For some reason when the Olympic committee sees spontaneous human combustion they assume it's some kind of drug use. Who knew? The hot boarding chick tries to flag him down and get his attention.
Chick: "YOU'RE ON FIRE!!"
Chick: "YOU'RE. ON. FIRE!"
Johnny: "SURE, YOU CAN USE IT!"
Chick: "NO! FIRE! YOU'RE ON FIRE!"
Johnny: "GO AHEAD! HOLY SHIT, I'M ON FIRE!"
Johnny panics and falls off a cliff, but still lands better than that "Agony of Defeat" guy. He lands in a snow bank, which instantly melts into a pool of steaming water that extinguishes Johnny. The hot chick races down to see him lounging completely nude in the water. Johnny tries to play it like he meant to do that. "Care to join me?" he weakly offers. But-- holy Christmas-- SHE DOES!! We're 2 for 2 on objectifying women here. Why do these bad one-liners play for Johnny and not me? I'm a sexist pig all the time and chicks wouldn't touch me with a sack full of glass bottles.
Back at the Craptastic Four headquarters, the Baxter Building, Reed and Sue are having a godawful little scene, primarily because Alba is trying to project complex ambivalent emotions via this groaner of a script. Suddenly, Sue turns completely invisible (except for her clothes), and freaks out. She knocks a bottle off the table (I wish I had a bottle right now...) and Reed catches it reflexively with his new stretchy arm. Both marvel at what they've just done, and Johnny races into the room shouting "I can burst into flame! EXTREME!! YEAAAH!! EXTREME TO THE MAX!! WOOOO!!!"
"It seems that the cosmic storm has fundamentally altered our DNA," Reed morosely moans.
Johnny hops in the air like a fruit and gives a manic chimpanzee giggle, "COOL!!!"
"But it could be dangerous," Reed cautions him, "there's risk of cancer, brain damage, sterility..."
"I can bang all the EXTREME chicks I want without rubbers??" Johnny wails before passing out in ecstasy.
There comes a loud crashing from Grimm's room. I think Chiklis read the rest of the script and is trashing the room out of anger. But no, it seems that the cosmic radiation has irrevocably sealed Ben Grimm inside a stupid-looking orange rubber suit. Oh, it's very well-done and looks dang expensive, but it still looks like a guy in a giant airbrushed rubber suit. I think the producers should have looked at the screening tests in costume with The Thing and realized right then and there that they had no movie. At least I wish they had. If only I had a time machine so I could go into the past and terminate those responsible for this garbage.
Thing's huge now, so he breaks into a Big & Tall Men's shop to secure some clothing that might fit him. Unfortunately, we never get to see the full-frontal shot of The Thing, so the question of whether his dork is made of orange rock too will have to remain a mystery for now. Thing decides to call the most important person in his life, who also happens to be the least-developed person in the movie: his wife. She rushes down from her apartment to meet him in a sexy negligee, in the street, at night, in NEW YORK. Thing tries to disguise himself as Humphrey Bogart to hide his more hideous features, but he still looks like 900 lbs. of orange sherbet with a coat. The lady takes one look at him and screams like a 1920's horror film victim: knees buckled, hands up to either side of her face, fingers splayed, eyes bugged to the size of tennis balls, screeching as shrilly as possible. She runs off into the night barefoot in her underwear, leaving Thing to think "well THAT could have gone better..."
Thing goes to mope on a bridge (just the place you should go if you want to be alone). Through a series of circumstances too complicated and idiotic to go into, Thing inadvertently causes a multi-car pileup and accidentally causes a fire engine to dangle precariously over the side of the bridge. I'd explain it, really, but you'd be truly dumber to know. By sheer luck (and bad screenwriting), Reed, Sue, and Johnny just happen to be near the bridge looking for Grimm at that exact moment. Well hot damn, what are the odds in a place the size of New York City? They try to rush and help Thing, but there's a blockade of cops in their way. How did they get there so fast to set up a roadblock? Reed suggests that The Invisible Talent make herself useful for a change and sneak past. She tries, but her control over her invisibility (and acting) is inconsistent. She also has to strip her clothes off, because her clothes don't turn invisible with the rest of her. She gets as far as her underwear before she accidentally phases back into a visible state. That's as far as Jessica's willing to go, and that's as good as you're going to get out of this movie. I know it sound misogynistic, but tits are the only thing she's good for. If she's not willing to show them, I suppose that makes her good for exactly nothing.
Susan eventually turns invisible and gets past the blockade. The camera cuts away to see her putting her clothes back on with the others standing around nearby. Damn, she puts her clothes on fast and-- wait a minute...how the heck did the others get on the other side of that blockade? I really have no idea what's going on here. The heroes spring into action, doing...well...not so much. Johnny does something over there...Reed grabs up a falling fireman with his terrible CG arms, Sue blocks something with a force field, and Thing hauls the fire engine back onto the bridge. It's been an hour. Can't we have a fight, or something? Any kind of fight will do. Please?
The cops rush in and try to arrest Thing, but are frozen in awe as the rescued firemen gather around and give him a standing ovation. The crowd is hushed, murmuring in excited but muted tones, "Lo, the holy firemen honor the orange thing!" I can almost see the director giving the NYFD a rimjob as this scene goes on, his tongue firmly entrenched up the ass of every fireman in New York City. Keep lickin' that stink-star, Tim, that'll make those firemen who lost buddies in the World Trade Center feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Fucktard. The policemen look at each other in humiliation that they may have offended the righteous firemen, and lower their guns with the utmost humility, moaning in pathetic sing-songy unison like a kindergarten class greeting their teacher, "We're sorry, fire men..."
The crowd immediately lynches the cops on the spot for heresy against firefighters. You don't screw with the fire department, bitches. This was even more pandering than the "You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us," scene in Spider-Man.
Thing's wife approaches Grimm, and with quivering lip, sets her wedding ring down on the ground. Must... contain... rage... SPOONY SMASH!!
WHAT IN THE HELL WAS SHE DOING THERE???
SHE HAS NO REASON TO BE ON THAT BRIDGE!!
WHY??? WHY WHY WHY???
Jeez this movie sucks hard. Here are some lesbians to distract you.
The press swarm around the Asstastic Four (does everyone in this city arrive at disaster scenes at the speed of light?) One reporter asks who the leader of the group is. "I am!!" Johnny pipes in like an annoying toddler.
"No really, dickhead, who's in charge?" the reporter swats back.
"Is it true you can fly??" another reporter interrupts, shoving a microphone in Johnny's face. When did Johnny ever give a single solitary hint that he might be able to fly? Nobody's even heard of Johnny Storm until this very moment, and all he did was burst into flames.
Anyway, the Wanktastic Four return to the Baxter building through a sea of media. They pile into an elevator, only to discover that Thing's giant plastic suit is pushing them over the elevator's weight limit. Thing takes the stairs. The group decides that they'd better hole up together until Reed can find a way to reverse their oh-so-terrible curse. The Invisible Talent goes to unpack her clothes in her new room, and by sheer blind dumb luck manages to find a scrapbook detailing all of Sue and Reed's happy times together in her sock drawer. Did you ever want to just punch a movie in the nuts, hold it down, and pound its head into a pink jelly?
Victor von Dumb, meanwhile, is furious that the Four's recent publicity, combined with the failure of the space mission have caused a catastrophic drop in DumbCorp's stock prices. He goes to confront Reed about this, and Reed says that they both should share the blame for the failure of the mission. After all, Reed's calculations were off, and von Dumb didn't listen when Reed told him to abort the mission. Actually, genius, even if von Dumb had aborted the mission the second you said so, there still wasn't enough time to get Grimm back into the station. Even if he had, von Dumb was hit with the cosmic wave even through the protective shield, same as everyone else. So officially: Reed is a dumbass. Von Dumb is... well, also a dumbass. But not to blame in this case.
You might think now would be the time for something exciting to happen, but you'd be wrong! Nope! Now we get to watch as Reed stays in the lab for fifteen minutes and runs experiments on everyone, trying to find a cure. He puts Johnny in a chamber and checks to see just how hot he can get. Johnny's temperature starts rocketing up to mind-boggling levels, nearing 3000 degrees Kelvin: a temperature, we're told, nears that of a supernova. Reed shuts the experiment down, explaining that reaching those temperatures would be very bad. As in "crossing the streams" bad. I'm not much of a physicist, but I still think had Johnny gotten anywhere near 3000 degrees Kelvin in that room, it would have killed everyone in the room, and far beyond.
Reed also discovers that their space uniforms are able to withstand and be subject to the same powers of their wearers, because they were hit with the same cosmic wave as everyone else. Do I really have to explain to you how ludicrous this is, even by comic book logic? Even if you accept that one cosmic wave can hit five people and cause five unique mutations to their DNA, how is it possible for the wave to mutate a lycra suit? Spacesuits don't even have freaking DNA! This movie makes my brain hurt. Sue's absolutely thrilled because now she can show off her boobs in tight spandex all day long now.
Action yet? Nope! Because it's time for a musical montage! The words "musical montage" should induce you to suicide on the spot. We get to see the Fantastic Snore using their powers to do such superheroic feats as making popcorn! Evading the press! Reaching into the closet across the hall to fetch a new roll of toilet paper! Oh my God! So heroic! I can hardly take the thrill-a-minute pace of this movie! Johnny finally decides that he's sick of hanging around the office (join the fucking club), and decides to head out and have a good time. He jumps in his car with custom "TORCH'D" plates, and don't ask me where he found the time to get those, then drives downtown to compete in some motocross ... TO THE EXTREME!!!!!
Strap yourself in, because Johnny embarks on the most ass-kicking, sack-grabbing, mother-loving EXTREME sports scenes ever filmed! TO THE MAX!! Yeah!!! The fact that the director is pandering to the sleeveless, mouth-breathing, X-Games-watching, snowboarding morons really masks how crappy this movie is! Only it doesn't! Oh, and it happens that Chris Evans is more annoying than a prostate exam by a man with large hands. Johnny tries to fly and flames out (so to speak) in a blaze of glory (...so to speak). Reporters mob Johnny once again and he proceeds to run down the rest of the group calling Reed "limp", dubbing Sue "The Invisible Girl," and naming Grimm "The Thing." Thing has finally had enough and heads down there to punch Johnny's lights out. Yup. That's the first fight of the movie: the Buttastic Four fighting each other. The Invisible Talent gets in between the brawling boneheads. She bitches him out about how they can't leave the lab until Reed finds a cure.
"Don't you think we got these powers for some higher calling?" Johnny shouts.
"Higher calling?" cluck cluck cluck, "Like getting girls and making money?"
"Is there any higher calling?" Johnny wonders aloud. Heh. I've been hard on Johnny but at least he's the only guy not bitching and moaning about having superpowers. Plus, he's the only guy going out and doing something. It's not much, but he's trying.
Thing stomps off in a huff as always. Sue tries to comfort the big lug, but she's not having to cope being a freak in a plastic suit. Thing tells Sue to piss off.
"It's not easy for me either!" she whines. Oh yeah, like it's SO hard being not-disfigured, the most famous people in the city, and a hot chick. I'm sure The Thing weeps for you. Dumb broad. "I thought I was done waiting for Reed!" Alba tries to act, and NEARLY gets an emotion out...she's trying...TRYING...TRYING....AAAAGGGGGHHH....nope, nothing.
You know what would make this movie a lot better? The Super Sox returning with the Mighty Morphin' Power Patriots to fight those sentinel robots! Now that's entertainment!
Thing goes off to sulk in a bar. Still no action. NOTHING. He encounters a kindly blind lady who, wonder of wonders, accepts Grimm not for what he looks like, but who he is on the inside. I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. Plus, to cover all his racial-sensitivity bases, the director made the blind lady black. Get ready for every last cliché in the "Blind Person Handbook:" they're always patient people with vast amounts of homespun wisdom and introspective parables, and they always do that "feel your face so I know what kind of person you are" thing. Even stranger, upon touching Thing's malformed lumpy body, the blind lady seems oddly aroused, and wanders off with a coy "catch you later." Don't go there, folks. I'm begging you, Tim Story, don't you go there. I can't take any more. My mind will shatter like a stale potato chip.
Back at EvilCo, we catch a fleeting glimpse of how badly Victor von Doom's character was destroyed when we see a gift from the people of Latveria for his humanitarian efforts: a hideous steel mask. "Thank you for your kind aid to our struggling people! As a symbol of our endless thanks for your efforts, please accept this horrible death mask that a Sith Lord would wear!!!" Von Dumb decides that if he wants to kill off Reed, he'd better start by getting The Thing out of the way. He finds Thing having supper in a greasy spoon diner. Seriously, what is with every character in the movie instantly knowing the location of every other character, even in the most obscure locations of New York City where nobody would ever think to look? True, he could have gone around asking "Excuse me, have you seen an eight foot-tall man made of orange rock?" but I still think it would have taken quite a while.
Von Dumb suggests to the Thing that Reed's not exactly doing everything in his power to find a cure for his condition. Maybe, just maybe, the prospect of nailing Sue froggy-style has jumped up on the list of Reed's priorities. Thing is incredulous, but the movie cuts over to the Baxter Building only to find Reed putting his feeble moves on Sue, just like von Dumb was saying. Reed goes the "pity me" route: "I'm...I'm really happy for you and Victor!" he lamely offers.
Sue seems to look frustrated, but with Alba's acting she could be emoting anything. She tells Reed to grow a pair and stop being such a damn pussy all the time, and that maybe Johnny's whole "limp" remark wasn't that far off. "There is no 'me and Victor'," she says flatly, "Never was!" Yes there was!! He proposed marriage to you! You've been lording your superior relationship with Victor over Reed the whole movie! You've obviously been doing filthy, filthy things together that would make Maggie Gyllenhaal cringe. What do you mean "there is no 'me and Victor'???" Maybe she's playing the Clinton semantics game where she doesn't consider blowjobs and anal intercourse as technically being sex.
Thing interrupts the two lovebirds and calls Reed's stretchy ass out on the carpet. "I'll find a cure if it takes every breath in my body, my giant orange rock balls!" Thing growls.
Reed stammers, "Uhhh...well I was working on it, and Sue was, um...helping me...uh..." Yeah, this whole "every breath in my body" thing seemed about as sincere as OJ Simpson's vow to find the real killer and starting his manhunt on every golf course in California. Thing tries to kick Reed's ass, but the dude's a life-size rubber band so he doesn't get too far. Reed ties Thing up with his stretchy limbs until Thing gives up and leaves. Oh wow, that was our second super-fight. Thing barges past Johnny coming the other way. Johnny tries to show Thing the new line of action figures he's arranged. The toys are made of plastic, just like Thing's suit. Johnny's lucky that he didn't get an eight-inch doll jammed up his ass, considering Thing's current mood at getting beat up by Reed-fricking-Richards.
Thing smashes the doll into the wall and leaves by the elevator. For those of you paying attention, it was previously established that Thing is far too heavy to use the elevator, because he goes over its weight limit. But the director doesn't seem to care, and I can't say I do either at this point. Sue comes outside to scold Johnny some more like the bitchy mother hen that she is, clucking about responsibility, how stupid Johnny's being, and how vitally important it is that Johnny rid himself of his not-at-all detrimental powers. She does everything she can to tear Johnny down, despite the fact that he's really being the only person doing anything useful around here. Let's see: Thing spends all his time moping, Reed's half-assing his research, and Sue's cheating on her boyfriend. Hell, even von Dumb's managing to find some constructive goals now that he has powers. Seems to me that Sue should be encouraging Johnny to seek endorsements, particularly since the movie keeps telling us that Reed's in dire financial straits.
Anyway, Reed's been completely shamed now, so he finishes up his super-scientific chamber that re-creates the effect of the cosmic field. His theory is that getting hit with the wave again will reverse the effects. Sort of like anyone with amnesia on the Smurfs. Reed gets in the chamber, microwaves himself, and melts into the floor. He's really not a very good scientist, is he? Reed says it should still work, he just needs the Tim Allen Special: More Power! Arr arr arr! Sue drags Reed off to recover.
Von Dumb calls Thing back over to the laboratory and tells him that the chamber works, because he can produce that More Power that it needs. Thing's desperate to get out of that terrible plastic suit, so he agrees to go inside. Fzhooom, whoosh, wheeee! Much to my surprise, Thing emerges as perfectly normal Ben Grimm. But he also sees that von Dumb has also been augmented by the wave; he seems to be made out of some indestructible metal and can fire lightning out of his hands. Comic book fans everywhere know that this is nothing close to what Doctor Doom actually can do. I'm not a fan myself, but I know that in the comics he can construct Doombots, has magical powers, can fly, and has a force field as a part of his armor. Once again, an example where staying true to the comic would have yielded a better movie. Doombots and stuff like that would have been much more interesting than some mundane metal guy who electrocutes people.
Anyway, von Dumb takes advantage of the perfectly-normal Chiklis and bitch slaps him across the room. Reed Richards somehow knew that the chamber was activated again from his bed across town, even though he was nearly killed a little while ago, and enters the room shortly after Grimm gets knocked out. How is this possible? Reed was a useless lump of rubber a few minutes ago, plus he was asleep! How did he know about the chamber? How the heck did he get across the city so quickly? People are simply appearing in the appropriate rooms whenever the plot demands it, taking no regard for continuity or reality! Reed's still pretty knackered from his trip into the chamber, and Doom throws him out a window. Reed tries to hold onto the windowsill, but he's still melty and ends up oozing most of the way down to the ground. Von Dumb meets Reed on the ground level and throws him into a metal chair, complete with manacles and an impressive array of freezing gas containers. Interesting that von Dumb just happened to have those on hand on such short notice, isn't it?
"Time for your lesson, Chemistry 101," von Dumb gloats (he always gloats) through his mask, "What happens when you rapidly cool rubber?" Reed's not much in a condition to talk right now, because he's been mostly frozen into a Reedsicle. I don't think Reed's really made of rubber, Doc. You're probably hurting him very badly and irreparably damaging his body. Doctor Dumb leaves Reed to chill out for a while and sees that Johnny and Sue have returned to the laboratory across town. He cracks out a heat-seeking shoulder-firing missile launcher and lets it fly towards them. Where does he get those wonderful toys?
Sue and Johnny look at each other dumbfounded, before he finally decides to jump off the building and try to lure the missile away by flying-- a feat he still hasn't gotten quite right.
Better ideas than Johnny's
1. Have the Invisible Screen Presence shield you from the missile with a force field.
2. Have Torch destroy the missile with a blast of fire.
Johnny splatters into the ground and the missile destroys what's left of his corpse. The end.
Johnny manages to fly at a dramatically-appropriate moment and the missile follows him. All he has to do is evade the missile for a little while because it's running on a finite amount of fuel, but that's real world logic that doesn't apply here. I also don't quite know why he doesn't throw a gout of flame behind him to destroy the missile, but he settles on immolating a garbage scow out in the harbor. The missile tracks the new heat source and slams into the giant flaming pile of garbage.
A hundred tons of flaming garbage! THAT'S what this movie reminds me of!
Back at DumbCorp, Sue enters von Dumb's office. It's only been about 2 minutes since Johnny jumped off the roof of the other building, so clearly Sue teleported there. Hey, Tim Story: suck it. Suck it long, and suck it hard. Sue's got her "angry" face on, a feat that took 3 M.I.T. supercomputers, a busload of grips, and 2 tons of gaffer's tape to pull off. "Susan, let's not fight," Dumb snarks.
"No. Let's," Sue utters before hitting Dumb with an anemic force blast. When the most badass line of the film is a badly-acted, not-at-all-badass quip delivered by Jessica Alba, a woman who couldn't out-act a used Kleenex, you're looking at a film whose only rightful place is thrown into a stump grinder. Sue tries to go invisible to evade Doctor Dumb's counterattack, but rather stupidly stays directly in front of him and then gives away her position by firing two more pathetically weak blasts that don't even serve to disrupt his balance. Dr. Dumb grabs her by the invisible throat when...
The Thing crashes into the room!
The THING crashes into the room?
Nope! Sorry! No way! Not buying it! Nuh uh! You've officially gone too far, movie! You're telling me that Grimm got back in the chamber, somehow managed to operate it himself, and turned himself BACK into The Thing, THEN trekked completely across the city ON FOOT, climbed up the stairs to von Dumb's penthouse office, and blasted through the wall? NO! Can't happen. For criminy's sake, it took Grimm three days to turn into The Thing in the first place! Three days! It didn't even take him three minutes the second time around!
I HATE THIS MOVIE!!!
Thing tackles Dr. Dumb out the window and they brawl all the way down to the ground, ripping off the much-better movie Spider-Man 2 where Spidey and Doc Ock brawl in a free-fall. They land in a dump truck. Once again, I'm reminded that this movie is very much like a giant heap of offal. Thing and Dumb square off once more in the street, and Thing throws a car at Dumb. But Dumb, being made out of indestructible metal doesn't really feel it. The rest of the-- uh oh.
I've uh...I've sort of run out of insulting names to call the Fantastic Four. Craptastic, Sucktastic, Asstastic...Bore, Chore, Snore, Whore...damn it!
No, dang! That doesn't work...Oh well.
Anyway, the rest of the Fantastic Four circle around Dr. Dumb on the street. Don't even ask me how they got to the ground floor from the penthouse of the tallest building in the city in thirty seconds. Dr. Dumb starts charging up for a mighty Kamehameha blast, so Reed tells Torch to do that "supernova" thing he told him to never ever do. Torch starts flying circles around Dr. Dumb while The Invisible Talent tries to contain it all in one giant force field. Once again, force field or not, having a heat source that gets anywhere near the incredible temperatures of the sun would be an immediate and catastrophic WORLD-ENDING event. Even if we assume that Sue managed to erect a force field around the blaze, she fails to shield the ground underneath the event. The radiant heat from the maelstrom should have killed everyone. Oh, how I wish the Invisible Woman would disappear from the movie entirely...
"Chemistry 101," Reed shouts, "What happens when you rapidly cool superheated metal?" Ooh! Ooh! I know this one. Uhh...what did Halle Berry say in that REALLY dumb line...I'm gonna say, "The same thing that happens to everything else!" Final answer! Sue drops the field, and Thing tries to finish it off by turning a torrent of water from a fire hydrant on Dr. Dumb. Remember that when the sun explodes, and you want to survive a supernova: just turn a hose on it. Dr. Dumb is apparently killed from the resultant rapid cooling, his body tempered into rigidity. Dang! I was wrong. I should have said "it hardens into a statue." Damn you, Halle Berry!
In gratitude, the city holds a party thanking the Fantastic Four, and everyone seems like they're quite happy with their new roles. Thing's found some comfortable shoes that fit, Johnny's still the chief engineer aboard the Ho Train, and Reed looks well on the way to knocking boots with Sue. The shocker of the movie comes when it is very strongly implied that Thing's new blind girlfriend has been engaging in physical relations with Thing's orange thing. I think I'm gonna be sick.
Johnny decides to show off once more by leaping into the air, shouting "Flame on!" and drawing the Fantastic Four's symbol in the air:
By the way, if the uniforms are able to withstand the Four's superpowers, how are the new metal "4" badges on their chest able to do the same? Sue's "4" shouldn't turn invisible, and Johnny's "4" should be melted slag, shouldn't it?
Immediately after the screen says this, we see another scene of von Dumb's body being loaded into a cargo container, and little power fluctuations occurring when everyone's back is turned. It's like the director was following some handbook, and threw in an obligatory scene to suggest a potential sequel even though it's painfully obvious that nobody will give a single dime to see any of these people in any kind of comic book movie ever again. Maybe that's the one redeeming value of this film: we'll probably never have to endure another Fantastic Four movie for the rest of our lives. That's such good news, I think it's time that we dance!
All images blatantly stolen from a terrific RottenTomatoes Photoshop contest. Unfortunately I don't have the creators' names, so if you'd like to take credit for your work, e-mail me and I'll make sure your work is recognized.