On Fire: The Fantastic Four, or better, The Fam-tastic Two

Sue and Johnny Storm – does this really come as any surprise to you? Well, it shouldn’t. It’s exactly up my alley. At least, unlike with most of the works I’ve covered, a large number of people have actually seen these films. That’s right – films. I vaguely remember the animated TV show, I’ve never read the comics, so I’m talking about the film franchise from a few years ago.

Now, if you have seen these films, then you know that Chris Evans plays Johnny and Jessica Alba plays Susan.

Too much hot for one family, right? So, knowing me, I could have probably invented an incestuous relationship between the two of them even if they didn’t have a single scene together. Hot = right.

Fortunately, I don’t have to do such a thing. Johnny and Sue, or as they are sometimes known, The Human Torch and The Invisible Woman, have plenty of heartwarming scenes together, or scenes that warm other body parts, and therefore half of my work is done already, leaving only the fun part for me to do.

In fact, there’s so much between the two movies that the task before me is daunting. So, you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t go into as much detail as I never plan but always end up going into.

Now, if you watched the TV show or read the comics then you’re going to know a lot more about them than I do. I apologize for my ignorance. And I don’t really have the inclination to research this topic, sorry. In fact, as much as I love Sue and Johnny, this entry is more out of duty than inspiration. My fascination with their relationship was born of a viewing of these films several years ago. Time to watch them came up again, and I knew what had to be done.

Stop picturing me naked – I.am.your.sister!

So, Johnny and Sue are alone in the world. Which is to say, they have no other siblings and their parents are dead. (Sad)

They seem to have stuck pretty close together, traveling in the same social and professional circles. Susan is a scientist, like her ex-boyfriend Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic).

-Wanna join me?, -Do I ever!

Johnny got kicked out a NASA for behavior unbecoming of an astronaut – he’s a pilot lacking the scientific background and scientific curiosity befitting an astronaut, but no matter. Ben Grimm, Reed’s good friend, is also a pilot, and he rounds out the four, in case you didn’t already know that. He’s The Thing.

Poor guy. Ben’s got one of the most interesting stories in the movies: (Spoiler  Warning!) He becomes this hideous creature, not at all human.

His wife can’t handle it, she leaves him. (Hi Laurie Holden, bye Laurie Holden. Loved Marita Covarrubias, love Andrea on The Walking Dead – a fun if anvillicious show). He meets a nice, blind girl named Alicia, who loves him for who he is. They’re happy. Ben gets a chance to turn normal again, but he chooses to stay the way he is in order to save Reed and the others. It’s great.

I am not amused…(except really I am, you’re so cute!)

Anyway, back to the point: Susan and Johnny seem to have been close their entire lives. They chose to be a permanent part of each others lives. That’s so sweet. Particularly since they’re delightfully opposite: Johnny is a wild child, a playboy. A different girl every night, night clubs, motorcycles – that sort of thing. Susan is straight-laced, enjoying intellectual pursuits and the pursuit of one (boring) guy.

Steam dry

When the first movie begins, Susan is working for Victor Von Doom, played by the delicious Julian McMahon of Nip/Tuck ( a show I enjoyed for 3.5 seasons before deciding it was too crazy for even me – who’d have thought?).

He’s smart, rich, smooth, and good-looking, but he’s not for her. (?)

No, this picture is not necessary.

However, she has wrangled a job for Johnny with Von Doom’s company (awwww) as the pilot of their rocket-thing that they take into space. Well, we’re never actually told that Susie got the job for Johnny, but I think we can assume that’s the case. (Sorry, Johnny).

While up in space studying a cosmic storm, the five of them suffer effects from the storm that cause them to develop their powers, or, in Ben’s case, their…whatever.

Johnny can now light himself on fire, throw fire, and fly. Reed becomes like super stretchy rubber. Susan can turn invisible and create force fields to protect or contain. And Von Doom turns into metal and has electrical influence.

Sounds likely, right?

For the space mission, and after they become superheroes, they adopt lycra-like blue bodysuits for their costumes. Superhero costumes are always problematic. I’ll never forget in Superman Returns when Superman’s costume has survived explosions and speeding through the atmosphere and whatnot, only to be ripped open by a nurse at the hospital.

Fantastic Four at least tries to explain why these super special suits can not only survive what Johnny and Reed put them through, but also turn invisible with Susan.

-“Do I look good in this or what?” -Hmm, he does look good in that.

-“I hope you don’t mind my tight a$$ in your face.” – “I should probably be minding more.”

But still, I don’t buy it. Fortunately, we still get two scenes of Susan naked in Johnny’s presence, and plenty of her walking around in a low-cut spandex body suit. Gratuitous? Yes. Great? Also, yes. Johnny does his share of strutting as well.

In fact, Susan is so desperate to get Reed to notice her, that she purposely wears has hers zipped low and is walking with swagger in the first scene where we see these suits. Reed doesn’t notice – he’s too impressed with the fabric.

“I notice! I notice!”

But guess who does notice? Yeah, Johnny. He knows exactly what she’s doing, and he’s amused. Ben at least feels sorry for her, that she failed.

Speaking of the insanely beautiful Jessica Alba, I always thought she was a strange choice for Susan. When the movie came out, I barely remembered the show, but I always remembered thinking Susan to be more matronly than the images Jessica evokes. After all, she was married…to a guy with gray hair! Everyone knows who Jessica Alba is, but of course she’s most famous for Dark Angel. That was another show I watched for a while and then dropped. She had great tension with that guy in the wheelchair, but then I think he died or something – very unsatisfying.

Well, I thought he was in a wheelchair

I can’t even remember if I watched the show while Jensen Ackles was on it – somehow I doubt it. You remember Jensen Ackles, My Intended, right? As if Paris Hilton being on Supernatural wasn’t enough, I have to remember that he spent years at Jessica Alba’s side!

Her favorite role of mine will always be Sin City, as skinny little Nancy Callahan all growed up. Gosh, I love that movie. Her light brown hair with blond highlights in that film don’t even approach the beach blond look that Jessica sports in the Fantastic Four. I think she pulls it off. She doesn’t quite look like a natural blond, but it still looks good.

“I look so plastic I could be on top of my wedding cake”

(I wonder what Nina Dobrev would look like with blond hair?) However, things go over the top in the second film. I think it’s mostly the blue contacts, so egregiously fake-looking that they’re criminal. When Brandon Routh wore blue contacts in Superman Returns, it looked cool.

Jessica looks like a bug. Or a Barbie. How did she see with those things on? Kristen Stewart in Twilight (etc.) is the only actress I’ve seen wear contacts to make her eyes brown to play the chocolate-eyed Bella.

You see what I mean?

Seeing Fantatic Four the first time around, I was unimpressed with Chris Evans looks (though admittedly not with his body). But he’s really grown on me, helped by some of his other roles.

I particularly like him in Sunshine as the noble but hard-heartedly practical and quarrelsome Mace.

 He was also the highlight of The Losers for me. It was a real loin-tingler to see him tracking his niece’s little league soccer team online, and intervening to her chagrin in one of her games. He also wears a team shirt, to show his support. Go Petunias!

Ioan Gruffudd plays Reed Richards. He’s a good looking guy (particularly in Titanic – it’s the hair and the uniform). And he’ll be dear to me for being Beales in Black Hawk Down, much like Brian Van Holt of House Of Wax mention. He and Susan have a sweet relationship. This isn’t much of a spoiler, but I’ll warn you anyway: He and Susan do get back together, and get married in the second film. But the absentminded scientist just doesn’t do it for me – like in The Time Machine or The Nutty Professor (Or is it Flubber? Or is is The Absentminded Scientist – is that a movie?)

I love how Susan doesn’t love anyone but Reed, and she’s the hottest thing around, but Reed often enough puts his science before her. She only left him because he didn’t want to take the next step (move-in together).

The sensible Susan is a much better match for the rash and charming Johnny, n’est-ce pas?

Caroline:”You know, Stefan, I’ve been thinking – we’re like two puzzle pieces that fit together, and I don’t mean that as a sexual euphemism” Stefan: “But there will be sex, right?” Caroline: “Well, duh.”

As has been my Vampire Diaries philosophy recently: opposites match, bring balance. Obviously, two people with nothing in common aren’t going to make it work. But I believe in the compatible opposite.

“You know, Elena, I’ve been thinking – we’ve got wicked chemistry and we should just get it on already. And I mean that as a euphemism for sex.” (Also, I’ve been wondering what you’d look like with blond hair.)

How does Johnny feel about Reed? Well, he likes him. Or does he…(duhn duhn duhn)? Well, let’s have a little fun with our shipping goggles on. Obviously, Johnny isn’t the type to treat anybody with respect. He makes fun of Ben mercilessly. But that’s the type of relationship that he and Ben have/develop.

Johnny: “I don’t have anybody.” Ben: “Well, you got me, kid.”

(Truthfully, the have one of the best friendships around.) But Johnny also makes fun of Reed, only in a rather more pointed way. Johnny tells Reed that Susan has got something good with Victor Von Doom. Maybe Johnny wants her with Victor because he knows she doesn’t love him – more Susan for Johnny, eh?

Johnny eventually embraces Reed. But Reed is such a nice and likeable guy, how could you not?

(After Johnny stands up to the overbearing General (?) Hager, Susan announces that she is “so hot” for him right then. Johnny echoes her sentiment. Threesome?)

In the second film, Johnny blackmails Reed into attending his own bachelor party. Then he throws some ladies Reed’s way. Maybe he was trying to drive Reed and Susan apart?

Or maybe he can just love Susan without being jealous of Reed. I just feel like Reed isn’t the type of person you feel jealous of, although as a girl it’s hard for me to say. He’s brilliant, famous, has superpowers and a really hot wife, so maybe he is the type of person you feel jealous of.

When a reporter asks Johnny whether Mr. Fantastic can expand all the parts of his anatomy, Johnny laughs and admits that while that may be true, he’s always found Reed to be rather “limp”. Ha! That might be the closest thing to evidence we’ve got.

So, on to the nudity (woohoo!). When Johnny first discovers his powers, he accidentally burns all of his clothes off. Understandable. But first thing he does is run and find Susan (and Reed), with a pink snow-jacket held around his private parts. That man is ripped!

hmmm…

Susan: “Is he still naked?” Reed: “Yeah, he’s still naked.”

He continues to wear that and only that for the next couple of scenes.

?

“Now, imagine this…”

“…but everywhere!”

“I’m listening.”

Susan: “Maybe you should show me.” Reed: He is such a ham!

“Let us in! We need this room! We need it for very important…scientific experiments!”

“We could do it there, I guess…”

“How dare you suggest that! We weren’t doing anything…”

The next day, they get involved in a major traffic incident. Susan uses her invisible powers to get closer to the action, but she’s not really invisible unless she’s not wearing any clothes, so she proceeds to strip down right then and there.

As if Johnny wasn’t troubled enough by that, she still doesn’t have her powers totally under control so she accidentally turns visible again.

(Johnny notices – looks away with a groan – and then looks back!)

She’s still there, Johnny!

She manages to go dark again, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tell that she’s taking her bra and her panties off.

Poor Johnny – “I’m gonna need therapy.”

“So wrong…but I can’t help but watch. I forget it’s my sister because she has no face.”

She leaves her clothes there in a pile – guess who’s the one to pick them all up? Yep, Johnny. He then puts them under his jacket for some reason. I guess he didn’t want to drop any pieces, but that’s not the vibe I got.

They all move in together at Reed’s place so that they can be studied. Close quarters = fun imaginings.

“So, Reed, is that stuff edible?”

While testing Johnny, he goes super hot and again burns off all of his clothes. They have to extinguish him, so he’s covered in foam, but he’s naked under that foam.

Johnny thinks they’ve got a problem. I disagree.

It’s rather disappointing when they decide to go back to wearing those suits. No more naked hijinks.

At least not in the first movie. =)

Johnny doesn’t like being sequestered at Reed’s place, so he leaves in a huff.

At first he just does a public stunt. It gets him and Ben into a fight. Susan intervenes. She uses a force field to stop Ben, but she only puts her hand to Johnny’s chest. I guess she knows her touch will be enough.

Susan: “Oh My God, Torch, I’m your biggest fan!”

Later he tries to leave for a longer period of time.

“Nooooooooo! Don’t gooooooooo!”

Susan tries to convince him that the public doesn’t love him (like she does, I add) – that he’s just a fad to them, but Johnny isn’t hearing it.

He tells her that she’s not their mother, and that she should stop treating him like a little boy. (Reminds me of Elena and Jeremy, which you’ll be hearing about soon).

She’s a lot more affected by their fight than I would have been – he’s just being a guy.

But she looks very sad. I think she’s afraid of losing him. The best part of their fight is when he says: “Let’s try something new. You live your life, and I’ll live mine.” It’s kind of ironic that he says that, given what happens in the second movie. But the important thing is not that he said it – he was mad, after all – but the insight that it gives us into their relationship: they’ve been living one life. Delightful! They’re way more codependent than they let on.

Susan looks so happy when he comes back!

Johnny and Susan get two big moments in the second film, both of which are much bigger than anything they got in the first one.

Their first big moment comes early on, at the wedding of Susan and Reed that wasn’t to be. Did anyone else get uncomfortable watching this part?

Ben escorts her out, and Johnny makes a joke about her being the bride of Stretchy-man because he’s too immature to handle the moment. She becomes sheepish. Ben and Alicia leave.

Susan then gets this look on her face, like she knows he’s going to say something and it makes her nervous, but she’s also inviting him to say something. It’s the equivalent of dangling your keys outside your door after a date, waiting to be kissed.

“You know, you don’t look completely ridiculous in that dress.”

Johnny finishes his drink and sets down the glass – there’s so much language to these gestures.

What does he say next? “You know, you don’t look completely ridiculous in that dress.”

?

That’s the way you talk when you want to compliment someone, but it’s awkward. Why should it be awkward for him? In fact, by doing it in a roundabout way, he’s actually drawing more attention to the fact that he’s complimenting her looks. It’s natural to tell someone they look beautiful in their wedding dress – in fact, it’s customary. But the way he goes about it is so intense!

“Is that obnoxious brother talk for ‘you look kinda nice’?” she asks, knowing him so well.

He could have just told her that she was right, but he went ahead and did the compliment again in normal language, and again with intensity.

This image is brought to you by the letter P. P is for Predatory. Prurient. Peeping Tom.

Um, are you looking at these pictures? Do you see the way he’s looking at her? Put it next to ‘predatory’ in the encyclopedia.

She’s looked away, because she’s embarrassed that she wants a more genuine (she thinks) and more straightforward compliment.

But when he says, “you look beautiful”, she looks at him sharply, touched and surprised that he’s given her what she wanted.

She thanks him.

There’s so much love in this scene!

He walks over to her, and she closes her eyes and looks down – western body language (perhaps universal) for modesty. Modesty!

And then she swallows. Swallows!

She’s jittery, and it’s not because she’s getting married.

So, Johnny proceeds to stare at her and look her up and down for an uncomfortable length of time, before finally telling her that their dad would be proud. Way to ruin the moment, Johnny (!).

Then they hug. Awwww!

End scene. For us, anyway. I imagine all sorts of things happening before we see them again.

Johnny gives her away, which is super sweet. I also like that it gives him symbolic possession of her. He smiles as they walk down the aisle, but I see some melancholy when he finally releases her hand.

Unfortunately for Susan and Reed, the wedding was not to be. Enter the titular Silver Surfer. He’s been surfing circles around the planet and creating giant holes. The Fantastic Four are brought into it. Johnny, being the only one who can fly, chases after him, but the Silver Surfer is much stronger. Johnny falls to his near-death, but not before being altered by more space-storm energy.

The Silver Surfer is voiced excellently by Laurence Fishburne, and played by someone who has been mentioned before on this here blog – Doug Jones.

That’s right – Abe Sapien is back, and he’s silver. And sexier. So, while I resent him for trying to tear Nuala from Nuada, I totally dig the connection between Susan and the Surfer.

“He’s not feeling well…on the other hand, he looks FINE.”

Johnny’s mutation from his encounter results in him switching powers with the others when they touch him/he touches them. Big surprise that this happens first with Susan. After noticing that Johnny is not acting himself, she follows him outside.

She reaches over to measure his temperature with her hand (awww) only to accidentally switch powers with him.

She flames on, against her will, and floats around uncontrollably, while Johnny goes invisible.

Susan was not wearing her uniform (yippee!) so her clothes burn right off. Johnny touches her again and she falls to the ground, butt naked.

Ow. Cement burn. As if I hadn’t already had enough burning.

Whatcha looking at, eh Johnny?

Johnny is conveniently too busy making sure he’s got his powers back in order to observe, but there’s a point at which he looks down and it’s not at all for sure what he’s looking at.

Unfortunately, this represents the end of the naked hijinks.

“What about Johnny? Oh, and Ben, of course.”

Susie doesn’t like being in the middle of a media circus. I like that she wants to raise a family and have a normal life, but you have to admit, it’s pretty selfish of her. Reed temporarily decides he agrees, but he is not to believed because that’s just not who he is. If I remember correctly, this scene makes it clear that Johnny continues to co-habitate with the couple. Ben may live there as well, although he’s got Alicia.

Susan is getting so excited by normal-life that it takes her a second to remember Johnny and Ben. She asks Reed what to do about them.

Reed, in his typical fashion, misses the point. He says that Johnny was always sort of a one-man show anyway.

“It’s obvious I’m eavesdropping because of how I’m standing.”

Well, Johnny is eavesdropping, and he doesn’t agree. In fact, I was surprised how hurt he was. Of course, I choose to believe he’s more upset about being separated from Susan than he is about the FF breaking up. After all, more fame for him, right?

            I wonder if Johnny is in the habit of listening to Reed and Susan’s private conversations? Or private other things?

Susan suggests to Reed that they not tell Ben and Johnny. Maybe she knows that Johnny will flip out, or maybe she’s still undecided.

Susan: “Johnny can touch me if he wants to. You ain’t my husband yet.”

            Johnny immediately tells Ben, who shares his indignation. It leads to their next battle not going particularly well. Susan gets hurt, and Johnny rushes to her, only for Reed to put his hand up to stop him, telling him not to touch her.

Johnny not being able to touch Susan really puts a damper on his spirits.

            Von Doom is back, after being temporarily defeated in he first film. I don’t think Victor was handled very well – his motivation is never really clear. He just seems to be a little crazy. Hot, but crazy. He and the FF come up with a plan to separate the Surfer from his surf board, the source of his power.

This leads to some nice scenes between Susan and the Surfer.

She’s awfully quick to believe he’s not a bad guy, and he’s awfully quick to help her and the FF even though it’s against his interests in a life-or-death way (on a big, big scale).

Everyone wonders why the Surfer is so willing to help Susan. But Johnny knows right away: “Maybe he’s got a crush on you.” And of course, Johnny’s right. I’m sure its easy for someone to understand. He seems a little put out about it, too. I guess sharing her with Reed is hard enough.

Doc Doom gets a hold of the surfboard, and Johnny has to absorb everyone’s powers in order to defeat him. It’s pretty awesome. I love that Johnny gets to save the day. Susan played her part, inspiring the Surfer to turn on the one he serves, aka the-cloudy-vortex-of-planet-eating.

Nom nom nom, yummy planet, nom nom

Susan takes a pipe to the chest, protecting the Surfer. (Norrin Radd is his name. He actually does have a name). I guess she didn’t get her force field up in time? She dies in Reed’s arms. I like the picture – it could be Johnny (if I didn’t know otherwise). Reed looks, naturally, very sad. But I like Johnny’s look – like he didn’t understand himself or the world anymore, like he was confused because the pain was simply too much to contemplate.

Norrin brings her back from the dead almost immediately – nice guy, that one.

Johnny gives him a boost into the-cloudy-vortex-of-planet-eating.

Evil is defeated, good wins.

Johnny lands, and Susan is back on her feet, leaning on Reed’s shoulder.

And this is the second big moment for them, another which made me a little uncomfortable, like I was a voyeur for watching.

They see each other, and then take off running for each other. And they hug tightly, and for a long time. He does the controversial hugging-your-sister-neck-kiss which Jeremy Gilbert recently took some flak for (again, you’ll be hearing about this soon).

When they pull apart, she’s got her hand around his neck.

?

Yeah, you read me right.

It’s got to be seen to be believed.

            I can understand him needing to hold her, but her eagerness to hug him is not exactly mystifying (we are talking brush with apocalypse here), but delightfully dramatic.

Reed and Susan realize that the FF work as a team, and the world needs all four of them.

Susan and Reed finally get married.

And Johnny, who has been realizing throughout the movie that maybe monogamy is a good thing, burns bride-Susan’s bouquet before his military girlfriend can catch it. He says it’s just a reflex, but I think he’s nowhere near ready to commit to her. Especially not when he’s already committed to Sue.

You don’t agree? Well, whatever.

So, I love these movies. I’m not going to say they’re great, but I definitely think that they are more than adequately entertaining. They’re funny, the special effects are cool, and there’s plenty of pretty. And if you’re like me, the brother-sister relationship is not to be missed.

And now, some more pictures to amuse and delight!

I don’t know what this movie is from, but I want to see it.

I can sit sexy, just like Julian McMahon – there’s even red in my photo.

Someone used up a whole roll of a film this day

“I’ve got my eyes on you, Surfer! Keep your silver mitts off my girl. I mean, off my sister.”

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2 Responses to On Fire: The Fantastic Four, or better, The Fam-tastic Two

  1. James says:

    As a huge Sue/Johnny shipper in the comics I’m not totally feeling this one. . First of all, Sue is supposed to be at least 5 or 6 years older than Johnny, enough distance to imply that she was basically the one who raised him (since they were both orphaned at a young age), which I love because of the implied co-dependence. Chris Evans is only three months younger than Alba -which actually surprised me, since I assumed he was actually older than her before I looked it up. He looks older than her, at least. Second of all, the most ridiculous thing about these movies is that it says the two are siblings despite the fact that they are obviously different ethnicities Jessica Alba is clearly Hispanic, while Evans is clearly completely Caucasian. How on earth could the two be biological siblings? It just seems too weird and fake, to me. It kinda seemed like a betrayal to me, totally different than the totally shippable Sue/Johnny from the comics, This is especially true since it’s clear that Sue and Johnny are to some large degree co-dependent in the comics..For example, during the Marvel “Civil War” storyline, Reed was being a total jerk (as usual, but at least it was acknowledged this time) and supported mandatory superhero government registration, Sue and Johnny disagreed with him, leading to Sue separating with Reed for awhile and going on the run with Johnny (because Johnny, of course, immediately agreed with and followed his big sister because he loves her so much, despite any potential legal repercussions towards him) Sue and Johnny basically went into a “Superhero witness protection program,” and for awhile they had to pretend that they were husband and wife. Sue pretended this act was gross, of course, but deep down (according to my shipper goggles, at least) she clearly loved it since Johnny has always very clearly loved her and supported her more than that jerk Reed ever has.

    • Shipcestuous says:

      fjkjakfjdsja

      I had no idea that that happened in the comics! That’s adorable. My only Fantastic 4 experience is with the movies (I’m sure I stated that in the entry), though I vaguely remember an animated TV. Sue seemed middle aged in that, though, but Johnny almost seemed like a teenager, I recall correctly. I guess I figured it was kind of the same in the comics. Six years can be a lot, but it can almost be essentially nothing, depending on the circumstances. I’m glad to hear you ship them from the comics.

      It’s true that Jessica Alba looks nothing like Chris Evan’s sister, but they dyed her hair and gave her contacts to help with that. It didn’t bother me, but I can certainly understand how it would take someone out of the moment. Every time we had a close up on her face, I noticed her blue contacts which made me think about the fact that she was wearing them, so it happened to me a little. I really can’t complain about them appearing closer in age, but since it was different in the comics, I can see how that would bother you.

      I can understand someone who shipped them in the comics being disappointed with the movies. That’s inevitable, I guess. I would have liked to see them more co-dependent. Their relationship was strong, but it could have been much stronger.

      I think we need a third movie where Sue and Johnny run off and pretend to be husband and wife.

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