Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer
Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Kerry Washington, Laurence Fishburne
Direction: Tim Story
Rating: * * *
This fantastic piece of silvery alien junk that flies about on a silvery surfboard is out to destroy the earth. Since Superman is vacationing in between sequels, and Spider-Man is still drywashing the last black stains of Venom from his torn tightsuit, get the Fantastic Four going. Anything to keep the moolah pouring in, in these lazy months of school holidays.
So, Jessica Alba in figure-hugging tights (plus her three Fantastic cronies) it is, to stop yet another super baddie from fupping the world up. Seriously, at the rate these superheroes are saving our planet from destruction of late in recurring sequels, the fight for next year’s Nobel Peace prize should be a tough one. For all his environmental concerns, looks like mere mortal Al Gore will absolutely stand no chance.
<B1>Back to the film. High on Dumb Quotient, Fantastic Four however regales. The idea is one-point — for some instant kicks, give sci-fi an irreverent MTV sock, let snazzy special effects do the rest. The first film in 2005 very honestly set the template — Fantastic Four as a series is sort of X-Men with a teenybopper twist. The second film lives it up in every way, though the product this time has been smartly sexed up.
For those who came in late, the Fantastic Four are Mr Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd), Invisible Woman (Alba), Human Torch (Chris Evans) and The Thing (Michael Chiklis). Their super powers: elasticity, invisibility, fire power and brute force, in that order. And no, unlike other superheroes, these guys don’t hide under a mask. As the film opens, the quartet is happily posing for photo-ops with ‘fans’.
New York tabloids are gripped with frenzy — Mr Fantastic (Reed Richards in real life) and Invisible Woman (her alter ego being Sue Storm) are about to wed. Johnny Storm (or Human Torch) is on a merry endorsement spree. Talk of super(star)heroes!
But as Reed is juggling two sexy girls on his elastic limbs at his pre-marriage bachelor party, there’s trouble in the skies. The Silver Surfer (voiced by Laurence Fishburne) has arrived to destroy the world, on orders of his inter-galactic villain boss, Galactus. At the same time, the Four’s archenemy, Dr Doom (Julian MacMahon), returns from the dead — he has his own sinister plans for our heroes.
Director Tim Story doesn’t have much of a story here. Rather, he plays the field with FX razzmatazz and some juvenile jesting. The mush track between Mr Fantastic/Reed and Invisible Woman/Sue is a cunning one — it easily connects with the target box-office. Thankfully, you are spared of dark, philosophical rants about good and evil in this film, unlike what most comicbook sequels do of late.
It’s easy to dismiss Fantastic Four 2 as more of the same. But then, I guess that’s what the new-age dictionary definition of ‘sequel’ has come to be. Look at the brighter side — this is one sequel that definitely works better than the original.