If you read my movie review, it would be understandable why I felt the way I do. If you haven’t read it, then click here otherwise you’ll be spoiled. My plan for this piece is to offer alternatives, better ones, to what actually happened in the film. I think these alternatives would have made the movie better.
“It’s Clobberin’ Time”.
What they did: In the film, Ben’s older brother is a bully and uses this line before he starts to beat him up. Now, I understand what they were trying to do, they wanted Ben to take something with personal negative connotations and flip it around. To have Ben use it himself would show that he no longer is afraid to hear that phrase and that he wouldn’t be stopped anymore. I mean, I get it, but weird.
What they should have done: Instead of using his brother’s catchphrase, it would have held more weight if Ben was into old comic books, or old action shows where the hero would use the phrase before fighting but Ben would never say it because, he never felt he was strong enough to actually use it the way the heroes would. Who could he fight and win against? Maybe he even tried to use it against his brother, or some other bully, or maybe he tried to protect Reed from getting beat up and said it, and they both ended up getting beat up. It could have been all of these things that led him to joining the Air Force, or taking boxing lessons (or something) so he could feel worthy enough to use it and fight back. That way, when he finally says it to the villain of the film, it would be a triumph for Ben.
Ben’s Inter-Dimensional Traveling Involvement.
What they did: Ben Grimm is Reed’s best friend, but the audience doesn’t get to know him, or connect him with Pre-Thing. He’s helped Reed build his small version of the dimension machine but couldn’t go to the Baxter Institute because he’s not smart like Reed. However, when Victor, Reed and Johnny decide to go anyway, Ben is called because Reed doesn’t want to go without him. Victor and Johnny have no problem with this.
What they should have done: In the comics, Ben joined the Air Force and became a skilled fighter pilot, test pilot and astronaut. Since they were young in the film, he didn’t have to be “skilled” just yet unless he was a natural, but instead of staying home and doing whatever it was he was doing in the film, he could have done this. So all the while, Reed is updating him about his progress, Ben would be doing the same. Sending photos of his first test plane, sending pictures of his awards, it would have been nice. So instead of building the machine to look the way it did, maybe it could have been a ship that someone would need to actually drive since they don’t really know the foundation of the other dimension. It would be smarter to have a vehicle that wouldn’t touch the ground until they deemed it safe. This would have allowed Ben an actual reason to be there. Since they snuck and travelled, Reed could have called Ben because he’s an actual test pilot, this also would have allowed Sue to be present, instead of Ben just taking her place because Sue SHOULD have gone.
Victor Doom going to “Planet Zero”.
What they did: I was actually fine with his characterization in the movie with being a younger guy. The oldest out of the group but still young. He was cynical, had feelings for Sue and seemingly smarter than Reed but Reed’s intelligence also made him extremely jealous. He gets left behind on the planet, his “space suit” is fused to his body and he’s granted powers similar to the energy on the planet. He later tries to destroy earth with vague and stupid motivations.
What they should have done: Dr. Storm still could have gone to him to get him to help, Victor could still have feelings for Sue, but whatever he looks at Reed’s work, he still could have tried to correct him but Reed would humbly say “Oh no, see this is what I meant…” because no matter what Victor is NOT smarter than Reed Richards. He could also be jealous due to Reed’s intelligence as well as his ease with Sue and how she has warmed up to him. So, when they’re told they can’t go to Planet Zero, they still go and if Victor has to go, then it should still happen the way it did. He touches the green energy, is grossly burned and still left behind. However, instead of having powers from the energy, he manages to find a way to escape on his own. Perhaps the monks he learns his mystic powers from could have found a way to save him he doesn’t show up again until the second movie and even then he’s not the main villain.
Instead of him actually going, he could have done what Sue did, try to talk to Dr. Storm and the other people who wanted to keep them from going so he’s left out of the whole getting powers thing, which allows Sue to go instead. Now he’s really jealous because they all went, even Ben, an outsider, go to go and he didn’t and they all got powers even with them being locked in a military base. So he disappears to be with the monks or something.
The Storm Family/Adoption.
What they did: Nothing. They didn’t explore this dynamic at all outside of them seeming to not be on good terms all of the time. Johnny seemed angry at his father, he and Sue don’t seem to always talk to each other especially considering the lines when Sue goes to where Johnny is working on something (that’s not machinery) and she says “Hey!” “Hey…” “I got to say… it’s nice having you here.” “Yeah, well don’t get used to it, I’m only here to get my car back.” She nods slowly as he never turned to look at her, and she goes to leave and he says “It’s nice seeing you too”. It’s never talked about. We also don’t know who’s the oldest, Sue is more mature and it seems like she’s the oldest considering the way she and Johnny talked to each other at times but again… not explored.
What they should have done: Personally, I would have preferred a flashback instead of exposition because there’s a lot already but it should have been explored. After’s Johnny’s mother died in a car accident, his father throws himself into his work ignoring Johnny to a point where he took to being reckless, getting into trouble at school even though he is very smart. Dr. Storm had a best friend who had a daughter who was also smart. Susan. Her father/mother was also a single parent and something happened to them causing Dr. Storm to taking her in being that he was trusted by her parent. He brings her home and eventually officially adopts her and she and Johnny are opposites. He’s loud, she’s quiet, he likes being around lots of people and she is a loner, he likes cars and building things, she likes music and patterns. She connects with their father in a way that he couldn’t with Johnny which of course makes him jealous. So Johnny retreats into building whatever it is he likes to build. Susan watches him build something and she helps him perfect it using science creating a mutual respect between them. She tries to help him stay focused on school and everything but Dr. Storm still hasn’t connected with Johnny in the way he has with Sue which does not extinguish Johnny’s anger towards his father. This is not perfect, but it’s a way they could have let us know what the problem was in the Storm family.
What they did: Just like Ben, you could almost remove Johnny because his reasons for joining the team was forced. We first see or hear about Johnny because he’s car racing, he gets into a car accident, breaking his arm (I guess, I mean it’s in a sling but they don’t really say what happened) and his dad has to come and get him. Due to his recklessness (lol) his dad tells him he can’t get his car back and he has to help them at the lab, Johnny says he built the car with his own hands and when Dr. Storm brings him to the lab, he says he can build anything. We haven’t really seen that though.
What they should have done: Johnny should have definitely been involved, but his introduction should have been better. If they wanted us to see him doing something “reckless” or do something with his hands to help solidify that part of him, then they should have shown him actually working on the car, like it was shown in the trailer, maybe he tried to add an adjustment to help him win, something he knew could be dangerous but he wanted to win to get the money, or something, so we’re all like “ooo, this should be good”, he still spins out and crashes. Instead of suddenly cutting away to the hospital, we should have seen him go “whoo hooo!” and then pan away from the car and hear him mumble “ow” and then cut to the hospital. I mean, something more than what we got. Since he’s a hothead, we should have seen him get into an argument with another driver before the race, something more than him just being angry with his family showing us his temper. It also didn’t seem like he and Victor had a great previous relationship, Johnny joked about it but I wish we could have seen something that showed they didn’t care for each other. Victor sees him too immature and Johnny thinks he’s too high and mighty. Definitely seems like a dynamic that should have been explored.
What they did: Basically they did a time jump and that ruined everything. Once that happened, I knew the movie was about to go downhill. After they return with their powers, Reed wakes up with his limbs stretched out and he’s asking about the others, eventually he freaks out and they sedate him. Switch to Sue and she’s shifting in and out of invisibility still unconscious. Johnny wakes up next and not only does he seem freaked out seeing these flames around him, it seems like it kind of hurts… and without trying he releases a fire blast and his father seems extremely distraught to see his entire body enflamed. When we see Ben, he’s stuck in a large rock mass and has to break out of it and all rock body (kind of cool), Reed sees this as he escapes through the air vents and he promises Ben he would help but he runs away and BAM 1 Year Later.
What they should have done: Instead of the year jump, they should have allowed us to see them in that year time frame. In fact, the last two acts of the movie should have been in that year time frame. So, instead of moving to when we see Reed wake up, we should have seen them and their blown up lab discovered. Dr. Storm finds Sue and he can feel her but he can’t see her as she is shifting in and out of her space suit (as she would have gone with them). They would hear Ben screaming for Reed, after he’s passed out from seeing his legs trapped under rock and that he was stretching and find that Ben is trapped inside rock. Dr. Storm would become aware that the table on fire is in fact his son and that his clothes are burning. That would allow us to see how other people reacted to finding them like that, I’m sure their first thoughts were not to take them away to a military base and study them. Maybe their second thought. Once they’re at the base, we should see tests being run, how they try to dig Ben out of the rock, slowly chipping away at it, how they can’t even get close to Johnny without him blasting unconsciously at them, or that they can’t even see Sue because she’s shifting in and out of visibility. Maybe Dr. Storm could have been trying to see them as they’ve been in the base but they wouldn’t let him due to it no longer being his problem so he spends his time trying to get inside to see them.
When Reed finally wakes up, maybe a few weeks later, that’s when things start getting interesting.
What they did: They made Victor Doom a villain for no reason at all. When they get back to Planet Zero, they find him and he’s all weird and stuff, and then he just starts killing people and trying to destroy the world because Planet Zero is now his home and then he’s defeated in a very lame and stupid way.
What they should have done: Honestly, they could have done so much more building him up to be a villain, a villain for another movie. We already see him as being cynical and not liking being told what to do when it comes to his opinions and science. We see him being jealous towards Reed, pining after Susan AND they could have had him and Johnny bump heads, as I said before, and Ben would just straight up not trust him as Ben wouldn’t. Reed wouldn’t say anything because Victor is older and smart but Ben would really dislike him. All of that would help make Victor more of a villain, and when he comes back in one of the sequels, he would be vengeful due to being left behind and that no one came looking for him (at least in the first movie).
The villain in this movie should have been the military, or the government or someone who would want to exploit them for their powers. To manipulate them into thinking they’re helping when they’re being used. Of course, as to not offend, it didn’t need to be a straight up villain but people who thought they were doing the right thing because they do not understand what they are now.
What they did: Crapped all over her. She’s not that interesting to begin with, she has a thing for patterns and music and apparently is very smart. She seems independent with a good relationship with her dad and a rocky one with her brother. She never even interacted with her Ben. She stays behind to chase after her dad about not letting them go, tries to help them by manually overriding the reentry and is blasted by the field that brings that back. I mean I get how she got her powers but such a cop out. Then she basically is a quiet voice, she seems to be less learned with her powers compared to Johnny and Ben and she dislikes seeing Johnny being so willing to work with the government. She believes they’re using him (which I was glad for her being the smart one lol) and then that’s about it. In the fight, she’s kind of useless, like they all were so meh.
What they should have done: She should have been feisty first of all, give her a personality and allow the audience to actually connect with her. Have her always listening to music or something, have her have a rapport with everyone, witty conversations. Show a relationship with her and her father and her brother. He may feel some way about her but how she does feel about him at this moment? We see a little bit of conversations between them “What happened to your arm?” “What?” “Were you racing again?” “I don’t know what you’re talking about” stuff like that was good, there should have been more. She can still make the suits but she should have gone with them, she would be the one who could read the signs, tell them when things are unstable as that was her job. Like how Ben was pelted with rocks and Johnny was caught on fire, there could have been a strange cloud that shot lightening through her glass window (if we stick with the pod idea) or something to indicate she was affected. When she’s actually learning to use her power, show that it’s hard to control but that it’s strong and when she’s fighting, she should surprise everyone by kicking ass because even though she doesn’t like being locked up and tested, she’s learning on her own.
So these are just a few things they should have done instead, it would have made the movie stronger, more interesting and cohesive. I still don’t think the movie was bad, it had loads of potential but it was wasted on trying to make it “dark” but it got lost in everything. They could have still made it darker and grittier, but they didn’t handle that well. These characters are interesting, seeing younger versions of them would have been even more interesting as they don’t all have it figured out yet but we can see the potential in them of what they would become later. Characters should have been developed, story should have been thought out more… honestly, I should have been involved lol.
I hope you enjoyed this piece. Please, I would love to read comments, agreements, disagreements, your thoughts on what should have happened. Lastly, I’m writing a “fanfiction” type piece for this as well, just you can see in more detail, how I was rewriting this movie in my head.