17. It is determined, improbably, that it is not possible to rebuild the teleporter without Reed’s help. This, despite the fact that we saw the many iterations of plans and technical diagrams that were produced when the previous transporter was made, plus the fact that, you know, he’s an 18-year-old kid and America presumably has plenty of adult engineers who can remake things that have already been made once before.
18. But no Reed, no teleporter, and although the FBI, CIA, and NSA have picked up traces of him here and there, they’ve never been able to pin him down. And so, unable to track down an untrained teen, the U.S. government—which, again, has many highly specialized employees—finds itself in need of someone versed in “pattern recognition.” (I told you this would come up again!) So they ask Sue to find Reed, which she does by figuring out that his email server is a variant on “Captain Nemo.” (See? That early meet-cute scene was packed with important information.)
19. They find Reed in South America and bring him back to Area 57, Ben punching him unconscious in the process. (Reed: “You were my best friend.” Ben: “I’m not your friend. You turned me into something else.”) Reed feels very bad about everything that’s happened. He asks Sue, “ Do you ever wonder what life would have been like if you hadn’t come to the science fair that day?” Heartbreakingly, Sue does not give the obvious answer: “No, but I wonder what life would have been like if you assholes hadn’t drunk-driven our teleporter into another dimension.”
20. With Reed back, they build a new inter-dimensional teleporter and send a squad of soldiers back to the other-dimension planet. There, they encounter a weak, limping figure in a cloak whom they bring back to Earth. Yes, it’s Victor. Yes, he’s now Doctor Doom. No, he doesn’t have his classically cool battleship-gray riveted armor. Instead, the green goo has fused his spacesuit to his body, giving him a more zombie-skeleton-lich aesthetic. But, yes, he was faking his infirmity and it was (unsurprisingly) a very bad idea to bring him back to Earth.
21. Doom, who can manipulate objects in space like Magneto though without the metallic limitation (plus his eyes glow green), kills Dr. Allen and innumerable nameless Area 57 employees. He announces “If this world must die so that mine might live”—he means that alternate dimension-planet, of which he’s evidently grown rather fond—“then so be it.” Then he kills Dr. Storm, because that’s what happens to likable black supporting characters in movies such as this one. As Storm dies, he offers the kids one last avuncular nugget: “Promise me: Look after each other.”
22. Doom returns to the alternate dimension-planet and creates a wormhole that will suck in and destroy the Earth. (His motivations are rather obscure here, as it’s unclear why anyone would want to spend eternity alone on a desolate planet in another dimension. But to each their own.) Our heroes follow Doom and engage in a dull, visually unimaginative, and notably repetitive fight sequence. Ben worries that it’s hopeless—“We can’t beat him, he’s stronger than any of us”—before the always-brilliant Reed points out, “Yeah, but he’s not stronger than all of us.” The good guys win, and Ben gets to work out his childhood-abuse issues by yelling, “It’s clobberin’ time!”