Director: Tim Story
Cast: Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis and Laurence Fishburne (voice)
The 'fantastic' is made 'average' in a film that fails to capitalise on one of the most prestigious comic book legacies of all time.
Now a world-renowned superhero group, the Fantastic Four are preparing for the joyous wedding of Susan 'Invisible Woman' Storm (Alba) to 'Mr. Fantastic' Reed Richards (Gruffudd). However, disastrously strange occurrences begin happening around the globe, including someone pulling the plug in the River Thames, and the attention of Reed & co. is diverted towards finding the culprit (much to the frustration of the bride-in-waiting). Enter the Silver Surfer, a surfboard-wielding intergalactic herald of planet-eating phenomenon Galactus.
The underlying problem with this film is it's aimed at kids. Some kids' films, such as any of Pixar's efforts pre-Cars, are extremely watchable, but here is a completely tank script that's hoping the little kiddies won't notice because they're too busy shouting 'Yay, Johnny Storm! Yay, The Thing! Mommy, why does Silver Surfer have no wiener?' etc. Well, in one way, they're right. This film has already done the business at the box office. It's content to merely herald the bigger summer blockbusters to come (on a side note: yippee-ki-yay). A moving, rousing screenplay should be the core of a film like this but, by not even trying, Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider etc almost deliberately prevent themselves from reaching the financial and critical heights of the Spider-Man and Batman films.
And poor writing won't inspire even the most capable actors, which is a shame because this is an adept cast. It makes me wish Michael Chiklis' ruthless bent cop from TV series The Shield were in the film instead of his kiddie-friendly lunk, so he could kick the shit out of something. Alba is gorgeous as always, repeating the best part of the first film when she appears faux-nude, yet displays a smaller number of facial expressions then the smilies on your mobile phone. Chris Evans is far and away the saving grace of the film, making the best of what he's got in terms of dialogue and displaying the strongest character moments in the movie. Gruffudd is well, Gruffudd. Unfortunately I cant admit to watching a lot of his films so I've never seen him play any character other than Mr. Fantastic. Hornblower anyone? Other highlights include the London Eye getting wrecked, which was hilarious, and the CGI set pieces - if only they hadn't shown the best bits in the teasers.
Other Random Musings:
- Somehow there was more sexual chemistry between Jessica Alba and Chris Evans (who play siblings) than there was between her and Ioan Gruffudd. I guess if she was my sister... never mind. Besides, SHE'S LATINO and Chris Evans isn't! How the hell did that casting happen? Probably explains the fake-looking blonde hair and scary blue eyes - she looks like a poster child for neo-nazism.
- There was one really cool bit when some dude dies in a really gross way. Damn it was good. It was an actor I liked as well.
- I'm sure Julian McMahon is fantastic in Nip/Tuck but I just get the feeling someone more menacing should be playing Dr. Doom. He's supposed to be a booming voice BADASS.
- Lastly, those of you who spotted that the words Fantastic Four dont appear in the title of this review... Yes, the actual title is a numerical digit '4' followed by 'Rise of the Silver Surfer' as commissioned on the BBFC certificate.
I'm ashamed to admit I know my Marvel publications, and although I'm not a complete fanboy of the Fantastic Four's particular lineage I'm still aware of how important they are and that makes me particularly disappointed more was not done here. They're revamping the Incredible Hulk for another shot with a stellar cast, Iron Man's calibre looks impressive, so why not the freakin' Fantastic Four? Well guys, as long as you keep paying money to see it, they're gonna keep make more of this sub-standard product that doesn't do the source material justice. So here it comes, Fantastic Four 3 - Rise Of Meh.