Across three Fantastic Four films, we’ve seen everyone’s favorite superhero family adapted and portrayed in different ways. With the acquisition of Fox by Disney, it’s quite likely that we’ll get yet another reboot in the near future, this time as part of the MCU. Fans have thought about this and you’re likely to find suggestions for the cast. Recently, John Krasinski expressed interest in being part of a Fantastic Four reboot, should the opportunity arise. Almost immediately, passionate fans began talking and photoshopping, which is why you’re bound to find images of Krasinski as Reed Richards and his wife, Emily Blunt, as Sue Storm.
Judging from their latest film, A Quiet Place, there’s no doubt they’d be awesome at playing a superhero couple. However, the bar hasn’t been set very high. To show you what we mean by that, we’ve ranked all the actors playing notable characters from Fox’s Fantastic Four films. So we are drawing from 2005’s Fantastic Four, its sequel, Rise of the Silver Surfer and the 2015 reboot. (We are not including the Roger Corman movie, since it was too good for this world.) We’re also only looking at how the actors’ portrayals of their respective characters, judging based purely on talent and skill.
15. JESSICA ALBA AS SUE STORM
Who here is actually surprised about this one? As talented as she is, Jessica Alba was a far cry from an acceptable Sue Storm. Despite the script clearly making Sue the emotional hub of the group (which was a poor decision for multiple reasons), Alba wasn’t able to convey any of the emotions necessary for her scenes; at least, not in a believable way. Tension, frustration, rage, it was all conveyed more through exposition rather than Alba’s expressions, which all pretty much fell flat.
Alba herself isn’t proud of the Fantastic Four films and often attributes her reluctance to continue acting to their failure. She was limited under the direction of Tim Story, reportedly being berated for being too “real” or intense at times. Don’t get it twisted, this was not a successful franchise for good reason, but it wouldn’t be fair to say that that’s on her as an actress.
14. TOBY KEBBELL AS VICTOR VON DOOM
First things first, let’s talk about that accent. Kebbell clearly has to work on his American twang, whichever one he was trying to pull off. After that, he can work his portrayal of a powerful villain imbued with other-worldly energy. The “arrogant and naively nihilistic juvenile act” was just barely acceptable in the two acts of the film. After Doctor Doom becomes a monstrous metallic creature with violent telekinetic abilities, Kebbell fails to make any kind of change. The special effects and script are doing all the work.
Kebbell’s glaring acting skills in 2015’s Fantastic Four shine through the CGI like the green lights highlighting that cover the character’s poorly designed mask. The only thing keeping him from being the absolute worst actor in the Fantastic Four films is the fact that his portrayal actually sort of fits into that world.
13. BEAU GARRETT AS CAPTAIN RAYE
Who? Captain Raye! She was in Rise of the Silver Surfer. Frankie Raye was a captain in General Hager’s team, which worked alongside the Fantastic Four to find a way to stop the anomalies brought by the Silver Surfer’s arrival. As a supporting character, she had a relatively large role that actually impacted the journey of one of the main characters. There was a lot of potential here and while a lot of the issues with the character can be attributed to poor writing, ultimately it was Garrett who failed to bring the character to life.
Garrett tried to portray the character as a stone-faced soldier who takes her duties seriously in stark contrast to Johnny Storm, whom Raye ends up deeply influencing. The troubling thing about Garrett’s performance is that it was extremely inconsistent and because of that, while it wasn’t terrible, it was largely forgettable.
12. TIM BLAKE NELSON AS HARVEY ALLEN
You might remember that Nelson played Dr. Samuel Sterns in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. Despite playing a similar character in 2015’s Fantastic Four, Nelson wasn’t able to bring the kind of enthusiasm and energy to the role. He plays a scientist but because of Nelson’s creative choices, he seems more like a generic government agent as opposed to someone who might understand the world.
We know he can do better, having seen him shine in other supporting roles, but his heart just wasn’t in this role. That much was painfully obvious, despite his obvious attempts at masking it. His was not the worst portrayal we’ve ever seen, but it could have been much better. They were exploring another world, after all! He should act like it.
11. ANDRE BRAUGHER AS GENERAL HAGER
Braugher has definitely got the voice of a general and judging from his role as Captain Holt on Brooklyn Nine Nine, he can definitely pull off the demeanor of an authoritative figure. His skill as an actor just wasn’t as focused when he did Rise of the Silver Surfer. His voice was just as commanding in that film, but his expressions and mannerisms were a little exaggerated at times. It was, at best, inconsistent.
Sometimes he was the stern, exprienced general, fighting the herald of Galactus with a no-nonsense attitude, other times he was a little more lighthearted, finding time to smugly insult Reed for being something of a nerd. That’s partly because of the script, but it there were other ways for Braugher to say it without coming off as being slightly out of character.
10. KERRY WASHINGTON AS ALICIA MASTERS
It’s more difficult than it appears to play a blind character, but Kerry Washington was able to pull it off almost perfectly across two films. She plays the role of Alicia Master with just the right amount of humanity and understanding. At times she seems like the most real of all the characters, which is why it’s such a shame that she didn’t have more scenes.
If she was able to be more than just the Thing’s squeeze in the films, we would have been able to rank Washington higher; unfortunately, with what we got, it wouldn’t be right. There was definitely a lot of potential there, but Washington was unable to break free from the limitations of the screenwriting. Other than the bar scene in 2005’s Fantastic Four, she didn’t really have a chance to show us more and remained tragically unnoticeable.
9. CHRIS EVANS AS JOHNNY STORM
Johnny Storm is immature, reckless and lively. Evans was able to bring that to the screen with ease. When he had to bicker with his sister, he performed perfectly. When he had to tease and taunt Ben, Evans displayed the kind of childlike sense of humor you’d expect. The reason why he’s ranked at number nine on our list is because, when it came to emotion, the passion or emotional depth just wasn’t there.
We know that he can do it now. He’s been playing Captain America for the past seven years and that character is a mineshaft when it comes to emotional depth. Johnny Storm had a few moments that should have been more powerful than they ended up being. So while we definitely enjoyed the performance, Evan’s skills in those films were far from the best.
8. MICHAEL B. JORDAN AS JOHNNY STORM
We know many fans are probably getting their pitchforks ready, but hear us out first. Jordan made the character his own. When he said his character’s iconic phrase, “flame on,” it felt organic. He could play the hotheaded Human Torch without going over-the-top on screen, which is why Jordan’s performance in that god-awful film was both entertaining (or as entertaining as it could be) and believable.
The emotions were all there. When he was frustrated and arguing with his father,his anger was conveyed with a gravitas and realism that belied the rightly derided film. He was relatively down to Earth and it never felt like he was reciting lines from a script. It wasn’t perfect, of course. There were moments that fell flat, but all in all, it was a pretty darn decent portrayal.
7. JAMIE BELL AS BEN GRIMM
The ill-fated 2015 Fantastic Four movie gave us a slightly different origin story for the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing. In the film, his rough personality was shaped by a rough childhood. He was often the target of his older brother’s abuse. Thankfully, Ben grew up to be a better person; loyal, courageous and humble, the Thing is a character based around struggle and strength.
Jamie Bell does a pretty great job at portraying someone who has been through enough to know the value of friendship and compassion. He’s also able to walk that fine line between intimidating brute and warm friend, even before his transformation into the Thing. He might have ranked even higher were it not for the fact that much of his portrayal is buried beneath the use of CGI.
6. MILES TELLER AS REED RICHARDS
He’s not the Reed Richards you’d expect, but considering that this is a much younger version of the elastic scientist, Miles Teller suits the role. Everything about him from his fast-paced style of speech to the occasionally awkward mannerisms makes him believable as the archetypal focused, socially oblivious scientist Reed Richards.
It’s far from the perfect portrayal and there are definitely quite a few moments where he seems to be unsure of how to say something. Take the final scene, for example, when he tries to organically build up to coming up with the group’s superhero team name. Those moments just don’t seem to work but for the most part, it’s a relatively good performance, especially when compared to the lacklustre performances of the other actors in 2015’s Fantastic Four.
5. DOUG JONES AS SILVER SURFER
If you’ve seen any of Guillermo Del Toro’s major films like Hellboy and its sequel, Pan’s Labyrinth or The Shape of Water, you’ve seen Doug Jones’ ability to bring depth and realism to all manner of supernatural beings. He brings that same skill to the relatively simple Silver Surfer who was enhanced with a layer of CGI. His movements add an undeniable level of believability to the herald of Galactus.
It’s most clear when he’s strapped in the military base in the final act of Rise of the Silver Surfer and Jones relies solely on being able to convey powerful emotions through subtle facial expressions, which seems simple until you see how other actors often struggle with it. Of course, while this is about Doug Jones,a we have to give some credit to Laurence Fishburne, who lent his deep and resonant voice to the character and added significantly to Jones’ performance.
4. JULIAN MCMAHON AS DOCTOR DOOM
It would be easy to depict Doctor Doom as your run of the mill evil genius, especially with a name like that. Julian McMahon went a different direction. Yes, he’s unlikeable from the very beginning: he’s condescending, arrogant and selfish but there’s still that element of humanity that gradually disappears as the character transforms from Victor to Doctor Doom.
McMahon is able to convincingly give us hints throughout his appearances as the supervillain that there’s a monster beneath that cool, confident facade, which is exactly what you’d need for a character like Victor Von Doom. It’s why the character worked in that film even with a script full of cliched lines. In fact, given the way Doom’s sanity seems to slowly deteriorate, those maniacal, cheesy lines even seem in keeping with the character. McMahon just makes it work.
3. KATE MARA AS SUSAN STORM
Ignore the script and production problems, and just focus on Kate Mara’s performance alone. You’ll start to see why she’s actually a great Sue Storm. In 2015’s Fantastic Four, Invisible Woman is intelligent, a little sarcastic at times and slightly uptight but not in a way that can be perceived as being over the top, at least, not the way Kate Mara plays it. She can be emotional and she can be stone-faced when it suits her, but it never seems inconsistent.
You have to give her credit for being able to pull it off in spite of the script. She also deserves praise for the fact that she doesn’t portray Susan Storm with any of the futility to her intelligence that has marred past depictions. She plays her like someone who’s there for a reason. It’s not just expositional dialogue that tells us she’s a scientist, she actually acts like it.
2. IOAN GRUFFUDD AS REED RICHARDS
There’s something incredibly convincing about the way Ioan Gruffudd recites the scientific mumbo jumbo you hear in Tim Story’s Fantastic Four films. He speaks with conviction and with the kind of passion and commitment you’d expect to find in real scientists who’ve devoted their whole lives to their research. He’s serious about it, but not so much so that he comes off as being dull.
There’s also the maturity that Gruffudd brings to the character, which, combined with the mask of intelligence, allows us to believe that he really would be the leader of the group, even if he isn’t the most powerful or even the most authoritative. He checks almost all the boxes: he’s got the right amount of charisma, he’s got all the emotions and he even did a reasonably great job at masking the accent. If it weren’t for the skill of the next actor, Gruffudd would be number one.
1. MICHAEL CHIKLIS AS THE THING
The Thing is the Fantastic Four’s most tragic member so you have to expect that whichever actor plays him will have their dramatic work cut out for them. Ben Grimm was turned into a monster, his wife left him and despite the fact that he has helped save plenty of lives, the people around him still flinch in fear of him. That, and everyday tasks are made so much more difficult in his new form.
Michael Chiklis can be the tough guy and the sweet guy, both being integral to the character. You believe the pain in his voice and in his expressions and most impressively, you believe that emotion through the bulky looking costume. That’s how Chiklis proved that he was the best. Acting with that much energy with those kinds of restrictions takes serious skill and it set him apart from all the rest.
Who did you think was more/less talented out of the cast of the Fantastic Four films? Let us know in the comments.
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