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Monday, September 05, 2016 

Stan Lee admits he didn't like the 2005 FF movie

Well, sort of. International Business Times got some word from Lee that if there was anything he disliked about the first major Fantastic Four movie in 2005, it was its rendition of Doctor Doom:
Given how many movies based on Marvel comics have been made over the years, it stands to reason that creator Stan Lee wouldn't be a fan of every single one.
No, but you couldn't expect him to say so around the time these films were first released either. Much like he won't speak against usurpers like Quesada and Buckley, he's not going to speak against major Hollywood adaptations of his past work either. So to see he's now telling us what he really thought after a decade is certainly surprising, given how rare any negative commentary is coming from him.
Some films have gone down better with audiences than others but Lee's least favourite movie is one fans weren't all that keen on either. No, we're not talking about 2015's Fantastic Four which received a panning from critics and cinemagoers alike but we're not too far off-track.

"I was a little disappointed in the very first Fantastic Four (2005), because I didn't care for how Doctor Doom was portrayed," the 93-year-old admitted when asked about past installments.

"But other than that, I thought the movie was great. And the actors were terrific." he added, while talking to CBR at Fan Expo Canada.
Well in that case, it's not so certain he's actually admitting he disliked that particular film, because then he does a 180 and lauds the actors and come to think of it, the whole movie itself. Still, the part about Doom is correct - he was watered down from a totalitarian monarch in a fictional Balkan country (Latveria) to a businessman, and the 2015 movie wasn't any better.* But he probably won't admit he's disappointed with that movie, because it's far more recent.

He's not correct that the 2005 film is the first cinematic take on the Fantastic Four either: Roger Corman produced a shoestring budget film as far back as 1994, a movie that's pretty obscure, but still more the first live action FF movie than the 2005 film, which had a bigger budget, but not bigger talent.

In fact, even the 2005 film's motivations for Doom are pretty weak. First, though, is what they say about the original premise:
In the comics, the supervillain's main motivation for vengeance against the world is his slight facial disfigurement, which causes him to feel inferior to others. He subsequently becomes desperate to elevate himself above them in any way possible. It's also the reason for his armour and the mask which covers his entire face.
Wait, what's this? "Slight"? While Doom's clear facial state was kept concealed for many years, it was much worse than that. I think there was a story in the Silver Age where Thor went against Doom, first entering Latveria in his Don Blake guise because Doom was looking for a plastic surgeon, and either Thor or another character exclaimed in shock that it was impossible (which obviously didn't please the bad-tempered Doom one bit) because of how badly damaged it looked in their POV. "Severe" would've summed up the state of Doom's facial disfigurement far better. Now, what was the change made on the silver screen over a decade ago:
While the 2005 movie does touch on those elements, McMahon's Doom predominantly finds his anger and evil-doings being rooted in jealousy; as his ex-girlfriend Sue starts falling for former classmate Richards.
Ah, here's another pointless change to the origins. In the movie, Sue was once a girlfriend of Doom's, and he's merely jealous because she's left Victor for Reed. That's hardly the most clever plotting I've heard of. No wonder the movie's not well remembered today. They didn't mention, however, that Doom held Reed responsible in part for his disfigurement in the Silver Age because Reed tried arguing that some machinery he was building wasn't set up correctly, but Doom wouldn't listen.

So as we've discovered, this is a rare occasion when Lee is willing to make known a negative view he has about an adaptation of his past work. But he's still holding back on being really negative, and it shows.

* Nor in fact was the sequel to the 2005 production, released about 2 years afterwards, co-starring the Silver Surfer.

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FWIW, the idea that Doom had a "slight facial disfigurement" (that his vain and/or insanely perfectionist mind had exaggerated beyond all reason in his imagination) apparently got started in an interview with Jack Kirby. Jack implied that it was his original intention for the character, and that Stan Lee instead chose the simpler explanation that Doom was horribly scarred in the laboratory accident.

Actually, I rather like Jack's idea. It is at least a variation on a premise that had already been over-done in horror movies (Claude Rains in Phantom of the Opera, Vincent Price in House of Wax) and comics (Batman's villain Two-Face). But I am not convinced it was part of the character's original back story.

AFAIK, Doom's face was never shown clearly in the comics after the explosion, but, IIRC, captions sometimes described it as horribly mutilated. Marvel may have tried to reconcile the two versions in a flashback/retcon in a later Annual by saying that his face was only slightly scarred in the explosion, but that it was badly burned when he first put on his (still red-hot) metal mask shortly after it had been forged in a furnace.

I tend to believe that Kirby thought up the "slight disfigurement" idea years after the character was created, and his memory simply played tricks on him as to when he first thought of it.

Surprised you're not saying anything about the new Vision comic magazine out and that has become Marvel's version of "Breaking Bad":

I'm writing a post about it now. I was a little busy this past day, but I have some again now.

Almost forgot the word "time".

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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