Remake Rumble: Fantastic Four (2005) vs Fantastic Four (2015)


The 411: A group of scientists get transformed into super-beings must do battle with a friend turned foe as they try to come to grips with their new found abilities.

Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd) vs Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic (Miles Teller)
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Ioan Gruffud’s Reed Richards is like the human equivalent of plain Greek yogurt…he is bland, uninteresting and imminently forgettable. Miles Teller is like a humanoid baked potato. He might be blah but his blahness worked as the awkward nerd who didn’t fit in anywhere until he was brought into the scientific think tank at the Baxter Building. Teller also had good chemistry with most of the cast and was able to convincingly play up the confusion and desperation that comes from having ones body transformed into silly putty. Gruffud’s unwavering Britishness never subsided long enough for him to do more than be a stuffy bore.
Advantage: FANTASTIC FOUR ’15

Sue Storm/Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba) vs Sue Storm/Invisible Woman (Kate Mara)
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Jessica Alba is a beautiful woman, sometimes distractingly so, even with her natural beauty masked by a blond wig and blue contacts in order to make her less exotic looking and more WASP-y. However she is a very middling actress who is bad at doing anything other than standing still and being pretty. Kate Mara really had next to nothing to do in the FF remake other than look intense and furrow her brow like she is concentrating very hard but even doing that showed more acting skill and personality than Alba has ever been capable of.
Advantage: FANTASTIC FOUR ’15

Johnny Storm/Human Torch (Chris Evans) vs Johnny Storm/Human Torch (Michael B. Jordan)
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Chris Evans was the best thing about the 05 FF movies. He embodied all the aspects of Johnny Storm. he was a hot-dogging, skirt chasing, prank playing himbo who embraced his powers and life as an adventurer with a joyful gusto. Jordan plays his version of Johnny as a rebellious frat boy with a chip on his shoulder and aside from a handful of scenes he barely exhibits the good-natured fratboy jerk that Johnny Storm is supposed to be. Evans was a near perfect translation of the character from the comic to the screen and sometimes I miss the funny Chris Evans now that he is playing such a straight arrow as Captain America. Maybe Jordan will be given the opportunity to be a super-hero in a more successful franchise down the line like Evans was.
Advantage: FANTASTIC FOUR ’05

Ben Grimm/The Thing (Michael Chiklis) vs Ben Grimm/The Thing (Jamie Bell)
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Chiklis was everything you could want in a live-action Ben Grimm except for the practical effects costume that looked like it was made out of foam rubber for a 3 performances a day live show at an amusement park. Poor Chiklis was doomed the second the studio decided to forgo CGI for his look.
Jamie Bell was an odd choice for Ben Grimm as he is a tiny man with a voice that has nothing distinctive about it at all. And while the CGI used for him in his Thing form was nicely rendered, the fact that the decision was made to have him running around with no pants on just distracted the heck out of me. A Thing with no pants is odd to look at…the dude should have been wearing some shorts or boxers or something. Chiklis may have looked goofy but at least he wasn’t buck nekkid.
Advantage: FANTASTIC FOUR ’05

Victor Von Doom/Dr. Doom (Chris Evans) vs Victor Von Doom/Dr. Doom (Toby Kebbell)
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I am bewildered why it seems so difficult for people to translate one of the greatest villains in comic book history into the big screen. Broken down to his most basic origins Doom is pretty darn straightforward: he is an egotistical genius who hates/envies Reed Richards and gets disfigured as a result of an experiment the two of them were working on. He then creates a suit of armor, takes over his home country of Latveria and uses his intellect and country’s resources to do battle with the Fantastic Four. He is a bad guy but he is also tragic and has a warped honor code which makes him more than just your run of the mill mustache twirling villain.
Julian McMahon’s Doom was a snarky Eurotrash industrialist who had some of the comic version’s traits in him but was far more of a traditional bad guy with none of the complexity that makes the character of Doom stand out. But even a Doom that was completely unremarkable was better than what we got in the ’15 FF film.
Toby Kebbell is a good actor and he wasn’t bad in the movie but he wasn’t Victor Von Doom. He seemed like he was a modified version of the Andrew character from director Josh Trank’s CHRONICLE movie and the look of the character once he becomes Dr. Doom is probably even worse than the look of The Thing from the ’05 FF movie. He looks like something you would see for a villain in an episode of DOCTOR WHO and not even the updated current run but one of the old school versions of the show. It was just an all around bad design decision. And the character’s motivations were so vague…the emo guy with a big ego becoming a megalomaniac who wants to destroy the world and replace it with his new one is never really given the proper explanation it needs and as a result it makes an already badly rendered character even worse.
Advantage: FANTASTIC FOUR ’05

2005 Movie vs 2015 Movie
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The ’05 FF was basically an adventure comedy with director Tim Story taking every opportunity to inject cringe-worthy sitcom style humor into the proceedings. What it did successfully was make the actual members of the Fantastic Four feel like a family but the action parts were lame and pedestrian and everything about the villainous Dr. Doom was poorly done.
The ’15 FF is most successful when showing the pre-powers scenes and the FX, while not spectacular in it’s usage, was very well done. The ’15 FF drops the ball with the characters though (especially Ben Grimm) and fails at making us believe that the FF are a family at all. Grimm never really feels like a part of the team and his inclusion into the experiment that gives them their super-powers seemed very haphazardly tacked on. Also Dr. Doom is just all wrong from start to finish in this film.
The second half of the ’15 FF is really shoddy too. It feels rushed and sloppily edited with very little focus or narrative thrust to it. There is potential to it in its bones but none of it is realized with this film.
Advantage: FANTASTIC FOUR ’05

Final Verdict
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These are not very good films and they both have plenty of flaws to them but while the ’15 FF has glimpses of being a good film which gets summarily buried under mountains of badness, the ’05 FF manages to sustain it’s inoffensively bland mediocrity from start to finish. That consistency helps it be an easier watch than the remake. While the ’15 FF has flaws…man, does it have flaws…I do think that a lot of the lambasting it is getting by critics is overblown and a prime example of the unfair piling on that today’s movie critics engage in when a film has bad buzz surrounding it before it’s release. I would wager that 70% of the reviews of the ’15 FF were probably written before the critics even saw the movie. It also isn’t nearly as dark, gloomy or grim-and-gritty as it is being accused of being. I would say it’s no more dark or grim than any of the Marvel films that have been released by Disney. It aint all that good but is also not a CATWOMAN level disaster either. That being said it still is not as good as the very meh ’05 version which beats it by the skin of it’s teeth.
FANTASTIC FOUR (2005): C+ / FANTASTIC FOUR (2015): C-

3 thoughts on “Remake Rumble: Fantastic Four (2005) vs Fantastic Four (2015)”

    1. Pretty much. You’d think after 2 tries all the kinks would be worked out and someone could make a decent movie from this property but its looking like there will never be a good Fantastic Four movie.

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  1. Original was better, all the new people look ugly af’ Reed, Von Doom,Human Torch were all hot in the original but this remake they look stupid and ugly.

    Like

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