Every sane fibre of my being would have kept me away from watching this. I haven’t seen the first one because it looked like it’d be a gaudy, silly child’s film. But, my situation as a cold, tired traveller in a wet Copenhagen propelled me into the cinema, and this was the only real choice. And yup. It was a gaudy, silly child’s film.
However, that doesn’t mean it didn’t pass the time in a reasonably enjoyable fashion. It’s bright and colourful with good effects and a sort of likeable bunch of characters. The Human Torch (Chris Evans) is amusingly cocky. The Thing (Michael Chiklis) is fascinating to watch after getting through a few series of the Sheild (it’s baby-faced brutal cop - covered in stone! When’s he going to hurt someone…?) Mr Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd) is a little naff but dead stretchy. And then there’s The Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba). She’s just plain scary. Her eyes are the most weirdly CGI-enhanced plastically creepy eyes I have ever seen. Couple them with massive lips, skinny face and unnatural blonde hair, and she resembles a creepy version of a creepy plastic doll that’s got all warped in the sun. It’s a shame they had to “enhance” Alba in this way (she avoids my hate-list somehow, probably because she’s not yet smug like the Johanssons and Knightleys) but it does sort of add to the comic book feel.
The film revolves around the Silver Surfer, and his big boss who actually eats planets. Pretty cool, really, yet any hint of darkness is constantly washed away with slapstick moments, or silly jokes, or camels. But hey - FF is not a dark comic, and this film matches the mood perfectly. Characters behave in laughably stupid ways (hey you’re evil, I’m not trusting you. Now wait in this room filled with useful tools while I turn my back. Don’t do anything evil, though.. I’ll just be over here..) And the baddy, Dr Doom (the lovely Julian McMahon from Nip/Tuck) is ham-tastic. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they’d added comedy sound effects during the fight scenes. Maybe little animated birds twittering round someone’s unconscious head. Or Mr Fantastic slipping on a banana peel.
It’s all very silly and a bit throw-away, but not half as horrendous as DareDevil. The Danes certainly enjoyed it, though I suspect their subtitles had better jokes (there was a lot of laughing in the cinema at jokes that weren’t overly funny.) I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend this, but it didn’t rate too highly on my scorn-meter. Therefore Fantastic Four comes in with a CF-1. Not Fantastic, but not Four-king awful either (that’s about the level of humour you can expect. Minus the swearing.)