The Best Fantastic Four Movie Has Nothing To Do With Marvel

By Zack Zagranis | Published

Fantastic Four
  • Fantastic Four is about a family with superpowers just like Pixar’s The Incredibles.
  • Fox’s first Fantastic Four movie had to change entire scenes because of The Incredibles.
  • In terms of box office, Fantastic Four has come nowhere near The Incredibles total.
  • Fantastic Four was the first Marvel superhero team, and The Incredibles is a heartfelt tribute to the First Family of Marvel.

It won’t be hard for Marvel’s new Fantastic Four movie to be better than all the other big-screen FF adaptations. The best of the worst is easily 2005’s Fantastic Four, and even that’s mediocre at best. No, the real bar for adaptations starring Marvel’s first family was set by The Incredibles (2004)—a movie that had nothing to do with Marvel whatsoever.

The Incredibles Is A Love Letter To The Fantastic Four

It might seem odd at first to compare the two franchises. On its surface the Incredibles more resembles Watchmen, what with superheroes being outlawed and all—to say nothing of the “death by cape” motif. But look a little bit deeper, and it becomes clear that the Pixar classic is, in many ways, the best Fantastic Four movie to date.

The Characters Are Homages

The comparison begins with the Parr family itself. Father Bob, AKA Mr. Incredible, is strong and durable like the Fantastic Four’s Thing. Even the name “Mr. Incredible” is reminiscent of FF member Reed Richards and his superhero moniker, Mr. Fantastic. Richards’ powers, meanwhile, are represented by another member of The Incredibles, Elastigirl.

Helen Parr, also known as Elastigirl, has the power to stretch any part of her body as if it were taffy, just like Mr. Fantastic. Her name, however, pays homage to Invisible Girl, the original superhero identity of Sue Richards. While Helen may have gotten her name from Sue, it’s her daughter Violet who has her powers.

Dash Captures The Spirit Of The Human Torch

Violet can turn invisible and create force fields—a super-specific powerset that, unlike stretchy powers or super strength, originated in the pages of Marvel’s Fantastic Four comic. Dash, the Flash-like speedster of the family, is the only outlier. He doesn’t so much embody the powers of the Human Torch as he does Johnny Storm’s bratty younger brother energy.

Powers Don’t Make Them Fantastic

So The Incredibles stole a bunch of powers from the Fantastic Four, but that’s not enough to grant it “Best Fantastic Four movie ever” status. 2015’s Fant4stic had the actual Fantastic Four in it with all of their actual powers, and that movie was so bad, we’d rather watch the unreleased Roger Corman movie with it’s $1.99 special effects budget.

It’s All About Family

fantastic four gender

No, what makes The Incredibles such a good Fantastic Four movie is the way it depicts the team as a family first and foremost. The Fantastic Four aren’t called Marvel’s first family for nothing. While other superhero teams, such as The Avengers and the Justice League, would probably describe themselves as a family of sorts, no other group comes close to the Fantastic Four’s household dynamic except for maybe the X-Men.

The Family That Fights Together Stays Together

That’s because, much like the Parrs, the Fantastic Four don’t just come together in times of crisis; they live together, eat together, and constantly get on each other’s nerves. As a result of their familial bond, the team—despite having only four members—operates like a well-oiled machine on the battlefield. Watch the way the Parrs interact during the third act of The Incredibles, and you will get the perfect picture of how the Fantastic Four fight.

The Next Generation

There are other similarities between the two teams, like the use of an adjective in their team name, a largely tech-based arch-nemesis, and the fact that Reed and Sue and Bob and Helen both have a child that is more powerful than all of them combined—Franklin Richards for the Fantastic Four, Jack-Jack for the Incredibles.

The Incredibles Captures The Spirit Of The Fantastic Four

Ultimately, though, it’s the team’s family dynamic that defines the Fantastic Four, and so far, the only movie that has captured that dynamic perfectly is The Incredibles. Hopefully, Disney will look to the Parrs for inspiration when they start shooting next year’s Fantastic Four reboot and ignore all the other big-screen adaptations. Especially Fant4stic!