Hot on the heels of our Doctor Doom bombshell comes what could be the plot of Josh Trank's [The Fantastic Four](movie:34667). The ongoing (beautiful) storm that is the Marvel fandom have taken to the internet to vocalize their strong opinions on the upcoming film under the FOX umbrella; showing disdain, support, and everything in between.
Now, thanks to some keen eyes at CBM, we have something new to react to -- a plot line that is radically different from any incarnation of the film thus far. This one's been floating around reddit, 4chan and several message boards for about a week, but as always, take this 'leak' with a grain of salt.
With that said, an (emotional) breakdown is in order! As per usual, if you'd like to avoid any spoilers, do not read on further! Cool? Cool.
Reed and Ben are Clerks
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.
Trank's take on the team will see them as young adults, closing the ever-fluctuating age gap between Reed Richards and Sue Storm. When I heard this, I immediately pictured Ben and Reed as cynical store clerks like Randall and Dante from Clerks.
The Storm Family
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.
I've always felt this particular sense of dislike for Sue Storm - she holds grudges, hates inconveniences, and lashes out at her husband/boyfriend or teammates when her life is made the least bit complicated. Faulting all of science for her traumatic experience is a little over the top when it comes to the blame game.
Despite that, I sincerely want to like Sue Storm. I love superheroines, and while accepting one with faults is easy, looking up to someone like Sue can be challenging. Her redeeming qualities rest in her caring and positive support of her teammates when they're upset, angry or depressed, which makes the reader forget about her self-absorbed whining whenever she lets that side of her slip. Sue can be calm and collected, a serious benefit when her teammates aren't as capable of doing so, when she's not dangerously focused on her grudges. I hope she turns out to be likable and fun to watch.
Changes to the Storm family caused a serious stir in the community, but I'm always, always open to onscreen families that are considered "alternative". An adoptive, mixed-race family can be as strong and loving as anyone else's family, and the change wasn't originally something that I felt affected the plot. I still don't think it is, and I definitely think the role of 'party kids' fit Sue and Johnny to a T.
As for Sue and Reed's relationship, it seems a little tropey, but we'll see how it's played out, if this is the actual plot.
DOOM: Anonymous, Represented as a Whiny Hacker
Victor Domashev is an 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.
With everything I've heard about Victor Von- I mean, Victor Domashev, his character sounds like a pretty ugly parody of modern-day 4chan lurkers. Regardless of your opinion on them, this kind of paints the picture of an angry, obsessive, socially inept internet tough guy; you know, the type you seriously don't want to give weapons of mass destruction.
Again, this plot leak may not even be real (though it does seem to follow a lot of the plot that's been discussed so far) and there are probably several details missing, so it's alright to hold onto the hope that Doom's reduction to basement dweller is more than meets the eye.
The Thing Can "Switch Off" His Powers
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.
While the details of their powers are pretty conventional, one fairly important factor is that The Thing, who cannot transform back into his human form can supposedly turn his powers on and off at will - slightly similar to the Hulk, but with what seems like much more control. Interesting!
Ben's character is suffering from fatherly abuse, so I wonder whether or not these powers might play into a more emotional scene between the two. I'd love to see Ben stand up for himself, given his brave nature in the comics.
The Final Battle is the ONLY Battle
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.
Doom's 'wah wah, I don't have powers, so unfair' reaction sets off the team's first huge battle, and the climax of the film, making it seem like a much more character-focused flick than a superhero action movie. Still, that's probably the idea behind the film - it's being shot on shaky cams, almost documentary style, to give a more intimate view of the new Fantastic Four.
More than anything else, it seems like the movie is set to focus on the most human parts of being a superhero - the struggles, the consequences, and the major adjustments that characters need to make in order to protect humanity, even if you didn't sign up for it.
With that said, Ben's control over his powers is thrown to the wayside in favor of his canonical existence as a 24/7 rock dude. Honestly, Ben Grimm's story is the most interesting thus far, painting him as a complex character that goes through a lot of terrible things.
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.
The ending seems like a pretty closed case, setting up the team for their already scheduled sequel in July of 2017 (competing with Marvel's [Thor: Ragnarok](movie:956858), which releases the following week, and hitting one month after WB and DC's [Wonder Woman](movie:45787) - now that's a super summer) and gives a nod to Richards' promise of a cure for Grimm in the comics. We'll likely get a post credits scene, but details on that are lax.