Movie Review: Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
WARNING: IF THIS BE SPOILERS...
SCENE: Upper floors of the Baxter Building, New York City.
TIME: Hours after the Silver Surfer has destroyed Galactus, destroyer of worlds, and saved the Earth.
ENTER: Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffodd), Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis). They’re weary and battered and three of the four slump into whatever furniture is available, while Reed Richards stands.
REED: Alright, I know we’re all tired. But now that Galactus and the Silver Surfer are gone, and the Earth is safe again, what are some of the lessons we learned from this latest adventure? Anyone?
[Pause. Everyone looks around.]
SUE: Well, I learned that with great power comes great responsibility!
BEN: Uh... Isn’t that Spider-Man’s thing?
SUE: OK, so not in those words. But ... you know. Like before I was worried that Reed’s and my fantabulous wedding would be too much of a media storm and would affect our lives, and our eventual kids, and we wouldn’t have normal lives? And I wanted Reed to settle down and be a professor and me a housewife somewhere far, far away? After we saved the world, I realized we couldn’t run away from all that!
JOHNNY: Actually, sis: First, you worried you wouldn’t get married. Remember? Only when you were about to get married did you worry about getting married.
SUE: Oh, right.
JOHNNY: That was kind of a drag, to be honest.
BEN: Plus we didn’t save the world, Susie. Surfer dude did.
SUE: I did my part! If it wasn’t for my big blue eyes and full lips, and the love Reed demonstrated for me, Norrin Radd wouldn’t have been reminded of his love for his own woman ... Shallow Bal?
REED: Shalla-Bal. But I don’t think he mentioned her name in this—
SUE: The point is ... Because of me, he was reminded of her, and so he decided to save us. Without me and her, that saving-us part wouldn’t have happened.
JOHNNY: Can I just say: Surfer? Surfboard? Hello! It’s not 1965, people.
BEN: People still surf.
JOHNNY: But it’s so dumb. Just because Jack Kirby read an article about surfer dudes back in 1965 and created this guy doesn’t mean we gotta keep going with it. I mean: surfing outer space? What the hell?
BEN: Me? I just didn’t like how he totally stole our thunder. We didn’t even need our super-powers to save the world. Just Susie’s big eyes.
JOHNNY: Which look totally fake, by the way.
SUE: They do not!
BEN: King Kirby and Stan the Man, back in issues 48 through 50, they let us stop Galactus. Here we’re like walk-ons in our own freakin’ movie.
REED: Plus, if the Silver Surfer could actually defeat Galactus, why didn’t he do it before? How many worlds has he helped destroy along the way?
BEN: I never understood what people see in that guy.
JOHNNY: I never understood why we kept switching powers.
BEN: That was weird, wasn’t it? And of course in the end—poof! Gone.
REED: I think the rationale behind the power-switching was three-fold: One, it allowed for comic relief and hijinks in the middle of the adventure...
BEN: Comic relief when the world is ending?
REED: ...Two, it gave Chiklis face time, which he needs.
BEN: True that.
REED: ...And three, it gave all the fanboys in the crowd a chance to see Sue naked.
JOHNNY: He’s right, sis.
BEN (laughing): Remember what you said, Susie?
JOHNNY (in high-pitched voice): “Why does this always happen to me?”
BEN (laughing): Why does this always happen to me? That’s a good one!
REED: Sorry, Sue. Fanboys want wish fulfillment, and that’s where Johnny and Ben come in—and me, to a certain extent—but...
BEN: But they also want to get their rocks off.
JOHNNY: And that’s where you come in.
JOHNNY: Yeah, like that. But deeper. More chesty.
REED: OK. Any other lessons learned?
JOHNNY: Well, I learned that, sure, being a shallow, hotshot celebrity with hot chicks and a cool superpower is all well and good. But at the end of the day, or the end of the world, whichever comes first, you really want that special someone to cuddle with.
REED: With whom to cuddle.
JOHNNY: Whatever. So anyway that’s why I’m going for the hot military chick.
REED: What’s her name again?
JOHNNY: You know... hot military chick. Captain Something.
BEN: True love.
REED: What do like about her?
JOHNNY: I don’t know.
REED: What do you have in common?
JOHNNY: I don’t know. She’s... She was there at a time when I realized that boffing girls isn’t, you know, fulfilling.
BEN: Poor you.
REED: Didn’t you also learn something about being part of a team, too?
JOHNNY: Yeah. That was weird. Kind of tacked on. And wasn’t that Sue’s lesson?
BEN: What about you, Big Brain? You learn anything?
REED: Well, I learned that some of the officers in the U.S. Armed Forces aren’t very nice.
JOHNNY: Totally! That dude was a major asshole.
BEN: General Asshole.
JOHNNY: He asks for our help and then insults us the whole time?
BEN: He got you so mad you had to brag about yourself. (Laughs.)
JOHNNY: Oh man, that was dumb. I was so embarrassed for you.
SUE: Right, right. The whole “I’m the quarterback and you’re the nerd.” “Well, I’m the nerd with the hot chick and you want my help.”
REED: I know, I know.
JOHNNY: Wait, what was that other line? The lamest line of them all?
SUE: “It’s 15 years later and now I’m one of the greatest minds of the 21st century!”
JOHNNY: That’s the one!
[Everyone but Reed laughs.]
REED: I know, I know. But I couldn’t stop myself. It was as if someone really, really stupid was inside my head making me say those words.
SUE: I know the feeling.
JOHNNY: Me, too.
REED: It’s odd. The whole thing. [He looks around.] It’s as if someone really stupid made us these narrow caricatures, then had us realize we shouldn’t be narrow caricatures. You know. Johnny’s shallow and flip so he has to get serious. I’m too serious, so I have to dance with models and brag about my brain. Sue wants to end the Fantastic Four because of what snarky girls say about her on TV, so...
JOHNNY: God, that was dumb.
REED: I mean, those are our lessons? While we save the world?
BEN: While we watch Surfer dude save the world.
JOHNNY: You’re right, Reed. And the sad thing is, at the beginning, it felt like it was supposed to be our greatest, most epic adventure. Yet it turned into our lamest adventure.
BEN: Probably our last one, too.
SUE: No, Ben. I learned my lesson. That we’re all in this together. Remember?
REED: I think he means something else, Sue.
JOHNNY: We’re getting the boot.
BEN: The re-boot.
REED: Eventually. When the taste of this one has finally left people’s mouths.
JOHNNY: Which should be in about ... 10 years.
BEN: What a revoltin’... shame.
SUE [mockingly]: “I’m one of the greatest minds of the 21st century.”
REED: I know, I know.