I got into a discussion with my cousin James Merolla, one of the creative minds over at the Culture Overdose website, over whether a movie should be condemned will still being in production. He believed that my condemnation of the Fantastic Four reboot based on the spoilers Toby Kebbell gave us was narrow-minded because judgement should be made only after seeing the finished product. I argued that I know enough about my likes and dislikes and when it comes to adaptations, the further away it gets from what made the source material great, the worse the film turns out to be. Hopefully, this argument will not make Christmas Eve dinner too awkward.
So, less than a week after that, I see a report on ComicBookMovie.com of what has been making the rounds of the Internet as the official synopsis of the Fantastic Four reboot, and I don’t know if the conversation above had anything to do with it, I found the synopsis eased my fears slightly Slightly.
Of course, you have to ask if the synopsis is real in the first place. It does deviate greatly from last leaked synopsis (which I summed up here, because Fox made us take the actual synopsis down) and it does read like something constructed from what we know of the reboot with elements added from the comics to create something that might be more appealing to fans. Whether this is because Fox wanted us to have a better view towards the product or a fan who wants to play with the minds of the FF fanbase remains to be seen. We probably will know if we get another take down notice.
Here is the synopsis summary as it appeared on CBM. I’ll reserve my comments until after. It goes without saying that spoilers lie ahead.
Reed is a genius convenience store clerk with Ben. Reed’s parents don’t care about him, and Ben’s dad is abusive. They’re good friends and have each other’s backs. Reed writes a paper for community college on teleportation that attracts the attention of Dr. Franklin Storm, CEO of the Baxter Building research center.Storm has a son, Johnny, and an adoptive daughter, Sue, whose father, Storm’s old partner, died in an experiment gone wrong. Johnny and Sue are party kids, and Sue is particularly disdainful of science. Reed and Sue don’t get along at first.Victor Doomashev is a anti-social Eastern European computer programmer and hacktivist who calls himself “Doom”. He hates the 1%, particularly Storm, whom he claims corrupts science for profit.Storm uses Reed’s paper to complete some equations on a machine to access another dimension, the N-Zone. Reed invites Ben to watch the machine being turned on. Sue and Johnny are also there. Doom manages to hack into the Baxter Building’s servers and use a computer virus to damage the machine, which explodes. Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben are exposed to otherwordly energy and become mutants with powers that they can’t control.Storm takes them to the Baxter Building and creates containment suits for their powers. They begin to train. Reed and Storm also begin developing a way to revert the accident. Sue blames Reed for everything, but they eventually become friends and then a couple. Ben can switch off his powers when he’s not in danger. Johnny changes colors based on heat intensity, and Sue has some borderline telekinetic thing. Reed is pretty much Reed.Doom finds out that the four have acquired powers and becomes angry it’s not him, so he comes up with a plan to break into the Baxter Building to access the N-Zone through the rebuild machine. As a distraction, he reprograms a bunch of stolen military drones, the “Doombots”, to attack the building. The four come together as a team for the first time and save people.Doom activates the machine and gets technopathy powers or something, basically energy blasts and making machines obey to him, and a fight ensues. The machine goes critical, and, in order to prevent it from exploding and destroying the city, the four push into it and Storm shuts it off.There’s a countdown before it reaches critical mass. Inside the N-Zone, the four battle Doom again, and manage to leave him trapped there after he disfigures himself soaking up too much power. The Four manage to escape, but Ben gets the blunt of it to protect Reed and can’t switch back.The machine is destroyed, Doom is gone, the four have learned to work as a team, and Reed vows to find a cure for Ben. And it ends there.
First, the good. The synopsis seems to use the plot from the Ultimate Fantastic Four, Marvel’s in-house reboot of the franchise, as its structure. So while it is not the story most people know. it still draws on a comic book version of the origin for its skeleton. All four get their powers at the same time, which is an important part of the mythos. And I like the way the friendship between Reed and Ben is presented.
However, the characterization of Doom is way off and doesn’t really work. Even with adding the power-hungry nature of the character from the comics, the reboot version of Doom is a pale imitation of the legendary character. In addition, the film Doom’s motivation doesn’t really seem to fit in with the story. He’s a hacktivist who hates the 1% so instead of going after the Koch Brothers he goes after a scientific research lab? Ehhhh.
But that might just be a clue that the synopsis isn’t at all legit, in addition to where we find Reed at the beginning of the film. I can buy Reed working in a convenience store, but if he was that much of a genius, couldn’t he have at least get a partial scholarship to a major university? And while I know that News Corp owns both 20th Century Fox and Fox News Channel, I doubt even they would be so bold as to make the villain of a film they want to reach a large audience a terrorist that strikes at the 1%.
Like I said, time will tell if this synopsis is legit. We shall see.