Aug 2, 2021
The Fantastic Four (1993) (part 1 of 7)
The Cast of Characters:
Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic (Alex Hyde-White). The movie’s implied resident genius scientist. For reasons never really explained, he spends most of his life chasing after a comet-like energy source named Colossus, and as a result, causes an accident in space and gains the power to hold a very long—and very fake—rubbery arm next to his shoulder. Madly in love with his daughter. Oops, sorry, that’s not his daughter, just someone the same age. I get confused.
Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman (Rebecca Staab). Madly in love with Reed since she was prepubescent, most likely due to a really bad Daddy Complex. Goes along on his mission to intercept Colossus in space, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but to be fair, the comic didn’t do much in the way of explaining Sue’s presence on the mission, either. After the accident, she gains the ability to hide half of her body behind a cheap split-screen effect.
Johnny Storm/The Human Torch (Jay Underwood). Sue’s younger brother. Judging by his performance, Mr. Underwood was on a strict diet of cocaine, methamphetamines, and Mountain Dew for the duration of the shoot. He too goes along on the mission for unknown reasons, and after the accident, he gains the ability to be totally useless for 95% of the movie, then at the very last minute change into the stiffest, lamest computer-generated character ever.
Ben Grimm/The Thing (Michael Bailey Smith/Carl Ciarfalio). Reed’s old college chum, who somehow gets convinced to pilot the spacecraft that intercepts Colossus. After the accident, he gets permanently trapped inside a cheap rubber suit that’s the same texture as the bottom of a fish tank. He grows despondent over being the only one in the group who’s an around-the-clock freak, so he goes out for a little Me Time and ends up falling in with a bad crowd. Not bad as in “criminal”, mind you, just bad as in “boring” and “pointless”.
Victor Von Doom/Dr. Doom (Joseph Culp). Another one of Reed’s old college buddies. In the comics, Victor called Reed a “naïve simpleton” upon their first meeting, but in this movie they’re almost lovers. While in college, Victor and Reed conduct an experiment in their boarding house to harness the power of Colossus. Things go horribly wrong, leaving Victor with a scarred face and a bad case of Gesture Overinflection Disorder.
Alicia Masters (Kat Green). A blind sculptress, she literally bumps into Ben one day and falls in love with him. Even after his transformation into the rocky Thing, she still loves him, which for one reason or another causes him to change back into his human form at the worst possible moment. The rest of the time, she’s just a hostage with a gun pointed at her head, helping the bad guys motivate Ben into doing all sorts of dumb things. Thanks for existing, Alicia!
The Jeweler (Ian Trigger). Yes, it’s that legendary Fantastic Four arch-nemesis, the Jeweler. What, you mean you’ve never heard of him? Why, he’s the leader of a group of street vagrants, and he has a keen eye for big fake diamonds. Sounds awesome, huh? With his Irish accent, fuddy-duddy mannerisms, and stunning ability to defeat laser security grids, it’s a wonder he didn’t pull a Mr. Freeze and make the transition from the screen back into the comics.
In the early 1960s, a young writer named Stan Lee was the managing editor for a comic book publisher known sometimes as Timely Comics and sometimes as Atlas Comics (and would soon be known only as Marvel). Timely/Atlas had had some success during WWII publishing the adventures of superheroes like Captain America, the Human Torch, and the Sub-Mariner, but was now running on fumes with Westerns, horror stories, and romances. That same year, National Comics (then the parent company of DC Comics) was having a huge success with its Justice League of America super-group title, so Timely/Atlas’ publisher assigned Lee to come up with a super-team in a similar vein.
What he came up with totally redefined the superhero genre.