Welcome back! Let’s continue with Part 2 of my Fantastic Four Movie. The previous part was more script like, but this time we’re getting loosey goosey with it since we have a lot of movie to cover.
After two different universes leading to the deaths of our favorite quartet, what can we expect this time?
New York City. The Baxter Building. A glass behemoth in the heart of downtown Manhattan. Ostensibly a think-tank, it has more in common with Edison or Tesla’s labs. The Baxter Building is home to more geniuses per captia than any other building in the world. One of the many organizations, corporations, and non-profits to be found there, the Future Foundation was founded by thinker and dreamer Reed Richards and the suave, ambitious Victor Van Damme. Reed is testing out his new holographic teleconference device with Victor and some distant financiers when Victor abruptly ends the meeting.
Victor is younger, but much the same as we last saw him. Again we have the slicked back hair. Again we have the black attire, but this time it is more simple. Steve Jobs by way of Armani. Reed is older, just graduating college. He is wearing a sweater vest because he is absolutely adorkable. He is more confident but still has enough of his head in the clouds that Victor can easily walk all over him. In this relationship, Victor is the Jobs and Reed is the Wozniak even though they appear to have the opposite roles. But Victor is anything if not ambitious. He sees this start-up turned success becoming a major player in national and then world affairs. He wants power. He wants a seat at the table, something his long lineage of runner ups and also-rans could never accomplish in his native Latveria.
“We’re ready to make our break,” Victor says.
They are this close to getting into applied sciences and marketing Reed’s inventions to the world. Better energy, advanced communications, new radiogene therapies, they have the beginnings of a new scientific revolution in their hands if only Reed would quit getting distracted by his latest (but really oldest) pet project. Reed thinks he will one day be able to detect and observe other universes. But it is too heady for Victor who wants Reed to keep churning out clever apps and better gadgets to bring to market.
“You’re the rock star here,” Reed likes to say.
“I’m not the rock star. I’m the engineer. I take the ridiculous flights of fancy you call science and I ground them in the real world. The flying cars, the supercomputers, the meta-materials, I bring them to LIFE! I have the worst job here, not the best. You think because I’m the face of the company I have it easy? You’d still be in that rat hole university coughing up chalk dust while you scribbled your life away on theories and what-ifs and maybes if I hadn’t sweat and bled to get you here.”
“Okay I get it.”
“I burned my hands clean off in the furnaces, hammering your ethereal notions into solid matter. You think developing a fusion reactor is hard? Try building one!”
“No more metaphors for you, Victor.”
Here we see the comical side of their relationship. Victor’s over blown verbiage and Reed’s down to earth amicability. They really care about each other and Victor really does want Reed to succeed, though he has an odd way of showing it. But there is a dark edge to Victor, a temper and an ego that will blossom into something more later on, but for now they are friends and colleagues.
Reed retires for the night while Victor goes to his study. Reed can’t sleep though. He decides to tinker with his pet project; a transdimensional probe. As he works, we see him stretch around the room, gathering what he needs without leaving his seat. He is already powered! Green words appear: MATCH FOUND.
The next day Victor and Reed are called to task by their Baxter Building investors. Q4 is looking grim and they need something big to turn things around. Victor mentions that Reed is working on a couple of things but nothing solid yet. The investors aren’t satisfied. They want more. Victor spills that Reed is working on a transdimensional probe. Reed is stunned. He never told Victor about it. The investors seem pleased with that as tons of military and scientific bodies would pay out the nose for something like that.
After the meeting, Reed wants a word with Victor, but he says there is no time as they have a full agenda. Reed is insistent.
“The ahead of schedule projects, the advance notes, the overnight breakthroughs, it all makes sense now. You’ve been spying on me,” Reed accuses.
“I gave you what you wanted. You want to work on this so badly and now you’re getting paid to do so. How about a thank you?” Victor says.
“Have you been spying on me or not?” Reed asks. Victor looks at him knowingly. He is obviously not revealing everything.
“Reed, you are so distracted. Sometimes you even leave your door open at night,” Victor says and leaves it at that. “Come now, we have an interview.”
“An interview?” Reed asks.
Waiting in the lobby is Susan Storm. She wants to join the Foundation because she believes in their work. When she sees Reed she clams up, not realizing that he is one of the founders, Reed’s public profile is that low key. They know each other from before. But where? The interview goes well enough but things are obviously awkward. Victor picks up on it.
“Ms. Storm wants to join up. I thought we could use an intern for a while until we figure out what to do with her,” says Victor.
“Intern? She’s a brilliant biologist. She knows more about living things than I do about non-living things. You’d waste her talents making her an intern. Tell me it’s not a money thing.”
“We can afford her, I just don’t know what way to best channel her potential yet. She could be the thing we need to get our foot in applied sciences, since you’re going to be busy with your probe.”
Reed and Victor agree to take her on as a temporary researcher until she passes a background check and signs all the necessary non-disclosure agreements. Reed gives Sue the tour. When she’s sure they’re alone, Sue backs Reed into a corner.
“When are we going to talk?” she asks.
“About what happened to us.”
“Not so loud. I don’t think anything we say here is private,” Reed says.
In a whisper, “I can make forcefields now.”
“You what?” Reed asks.
“Try to touch my face.”
Reed does so, but his finger is stopped mid-air.
“Whoa. How are doing that?” he asks.
“How are you doing this?” Sue asks, pulling Reed’s nose out a foot from his face.
“Ow, stop that!”
“Ben is MIA, and Johnny… he’s one gas leak away from blowing up a city block. We can’t stall forever. We need to figure out what this is. I know that you know more about this than you’re telling me.”
“I have ideas. I have theories. But that’s it. I don’t know what to test for. I don’t know where to begin. I could puzzle through it if I had a starting point but I don’t. I don’t have anything. I’m useless to you right now,” Reed says despondently. Sue touches his face.
“You’re not useless. Not completely,” she says with a grin. They lean in for a kiss when Johnny Storm shows up.
“Ew gross. Put your boner away, sis.”
“Johnny, what in the hell?” Sue asks.
“I came to check on you. See how everything went. Reed? Is that you?” Johnny asks. Reed nods. “Didn’t recognize you with your virginity on,” Johnny says, motioning to the sweater vest.
Johnny is a highschooler. Young, brash and impulsive. While the last Johnny looked like a buff high school senior, this one is thin and lanky. He wears a wool beanie cap and lots of denim. His big headphones are loudly playing Nirvana’s cover of Love Buzz. He for sure has a hacky sack in his pocket.
After a brief exchange, Johnny reveals that he thinks he can maybe fly if he concentrates hard enough. Reed is fascinated but Sue tries to get him to focus on the question of all of their powers. Share anything. Anything at all. Reed scratches his neck.
“Does the term Cosmic radiation mean anything to you?” he asks. The building shakes. Earthquake? Another shake. No. It sounds like footsteps. Godzilla?
They get to the stairs. Other people are making their way down as well. No panic yet, but the shaking is getting worse. At ground level, the cement cracks, the ground splits and in a rain of dirt and sewage, a great beast escapes from Earth. Now the panic starts.
It is monstrous and green, it’s milky white eyes blinded by sunlight it has never seen. It roars in pain at the intensity of stimulus surrounding it and goes on a blind rampage. Nearby, a trench coat wearing figure in a wide brimmed hat hears the commotion.
“What in the ever loving heck is going on?” the figure asks himself.
He goes to investigate. He finds a big hole in the ground and a huge green monster chewing on a city bus.
“Whoa. That’s new. Okay, ugly, it’s time to get clobbered!”
The figure rushes toward the monster, his booming footsteps catching the beast’s attention.
Reed, Sue and Johnny make it ground level, rushing through the chaotic lobby, they make it outside only to see the thing from beneath the earth.
“What in the hell is that?” Reed asks.
“I don’t know, but it ain’t from around here,” Sue says, pointing to the giant hole in the middle of the street. Johnny hears a familiar voice.
“Ben? Is that you? God, what have you become?” Johnny laments.
“That’s not Ben,” says Reed.
“I know he’s your friend but there’s no point denying it. He’s turned into a giant green monster. The merciful thing to do would be to put him out of his misery,” says Johnny. Reed grabs Johnny’s shoulder and points. Johnny then sees Ben being tossed around like a rag doll. “Oh thank god. I’d just gotten used to the orange.”
The Four team up and take out the monster, which slinks back down below. They peer into the darkness from which the beast came.
“So, we’re going down there, right?” Johnny asks. Police helicopters are circling and Sue suggests if they’re going to do something to do it quick. They begin their descent.
Victor locks himself back in his office. He turns on what looks like a modified version of Reed’s holographic projector. A cloaked and hooded figure appears. The silhouette is very Doctor Doom in appearance.
“Sorry about that. Had a bit of a quake over here,” Victor says.
“Mole problems?” the figure asks.
“Something like that. Anyway, I managed to get the board to fund Reed’s research. We wont have to wait long for a working prototype.”
“Excellent. Soon enough we can establish a connection. Soon, very soon, I will show you how to bring me into your world.”
“Then, we can make history,” says Victor.
The Four finish their descent. It is intensely dark. Johnny lights the way.
“Finally, you’re useful for something,” says Ben.
They explore the immense cavern. No sign of the beast, but there are weird structures and signs of debris everywhere.
“The earth’s a lot more hollow than I thought it was,” says Sue.
They stumble into a cache of ancient artifacts that look Egyptian but not quite, just parallel to a real world ancient civilization. Just as Reed realizes what they’ve found a voice echoes in the cavern.
“Impressive, no? They’re from a long lost city that sunk beneath the waves long before anything we call civilization first appeared.”
A short man wearing rags and high tech goggles walks in with a cane.
“Who the hell are you?” Johnny asks.
“I’d ask you that question, Mr. Torch Man,” the man says.
“That’s not my official name. No one repeat that,” Johnny demands.
“Who are you?” Reed asks.
“You mean the great Reed Richards doesn’t recognize an old colleague?” the man asks. Reed seems puzzled. There’s something familiar about the man but nothing he can place. “The gods have come down from Olympus to see their poor brother in the underworld and yet they know not his name. Funny how a guy can be so easily forgotten by an entire building full of people with eidetic memories.”
“Wait… Arthur?” Reed asks.
Arthur Molekevic explains his situation. Many months ago, the incident that gave the Four their powers also blinded Arthur and the results of the experiment resulted in his banishment from the Baxter Building. Then he discovered the beasts of the underground while slumming in the subway. They naturally gravitated to him and he now commands an underground empire.
The Four refuse to bow to him so he sicks an army on them. The Four dispatch the army and attempt to capture Mole Man but he escapes.
The Four get back to a subway tunnel and sneak back into the Baxter Building where Reed goes back to his notes following the incident. Sue realizes the extent of the accident reaches much farther then they all thought. Reed agrees. Johnny finds three experimental impact suits.
“What are these?” Johnny asks.
“Oh those are not finished yet, leave that alone please thank you,” Reed replies.
“Did you make us costumes?” Johnny asks.
“No! They’re not… they’re designed to protect and contain.”
“Contain?” Sue asks.
“Travel across a dimensional threshold would necessarily cause a wide variety of stresses and making sure everything stays where it belongs,” Reed says, motioning all over his body, “is important.”
“Travel? Are you saying…”
“Nothing definitive yet. I’ve been working on a way to bridge our universe with others. It’s been something of a passion project of mine but I’ve only ever been stuck in the realm of the theoretical. I’m almost done working on something that will be able to let me see across the dimensional divide. With the data collected with that, constructing a gateway should be easy.”
“Oh sure, easy. It’s just a dimensional gateway,” Ben says sardonically.
“I think mine looks good,” Johnny says, trying one on.
A familiar face appears. General Storm, the DOD liason of the Baxter Building is there to make sure the earthquake wasn’t one of their ‘experiments’ gone wrong. The Big Wigs and heads of the different Baxter entities gather for a stern talking to. After what happened last year, no more screw ups can be permitted. Those military contracts are juicy and they can’t afford another incident.
Over the next few weeks, Reed continues working on the communicator while Sue does her own thing in the Future Foundation, but she keeps imploring Reed to look into their conditions. There’s still so much they don’t know about what they can do and Ben really wants to be changed back. Reed says his work is connected to their plight but he won’t know for sure how effective it’ll be in curing anyone until much later in development.
In another location, Victor watches Reed working on his device from a hidden camera. Behind him we can see a similar device, but it is supplemented with designs sent by his mysterious benefactor from another dimension.
Johnny and Ben are bored out of their freaking minds and decide to have a day about town.
Enter the Sub-Mariner!
A man is killed near the docks by a mysterious stranger. He is looking for lost Atlantean artifacts that he believes are in this primitive city. His sudden appearance causes a stir and Johnny and Ben intercept him. He easily dispatches with them. When he sees the glass façade of the Baxter Building he automatically assumes it is some sort of shrine. When Johnny and Ben warn him not to go near there his assumption of its importance is confirmed.
As the unnamed stranger walks down 42nd Street past the United Nations building, Johnny contacts Sue and warns her of the danger. The building is put on lock down. Reed and Sue descend, dressed in their new duds, to meet this stranger. He announces to those gathered in front of the Baxter Building that he is Namor! King of Atlantis!
Victor gets a call on the multiversal communicator. Time has run out. The hour is at hand for universes to meet and Victor must hurry if the city blocks around 42nd and Madison have any chance of surviving.
Tune in next time for the exciting conclusion and dramatic reveals at the climax of this tale! Share thoughts, casting ideas, critiques or whatever in the comments below.