Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER
Review by Gnoll
One thing that seems to be a common observation about the first Fantastic Four movie was that the previews looked cool, but the movie sucked ass. When trailers for the second installment started popping up, people all over the world talked about how cool it looked, but I knew that much like its predecessor, it was going to be a flaming pile of shit.
Sometimes I hate it when I’m right.
I’m almost willing to admit that it’s better than the first one, only because they got the Silver Surfer character down pretty well and because they toned back Johnny Storm a little in this one. But that’s still not a very ringing endorsement for the second movie.
The script is horrible. Worse, in fact, than the first one. A few positive comments about the tone of the first one must have given the writers carte blanche to make this one even more goofy, but roughly half the dialogue in this one will have you rolling your eyes. The action sequences are pedestrian — nothing to really grab you, but nothing too offensive either.
The performances haven’t improved much either. Jessica Alba tries to emote as the sympathetic one to the Surfer’s plight, but does little to convince us. Chris Evans is still that generic twentysometing that he always is. Ioan Gruffudd still can’t cover his accent to save his life, and Julian McMahon will always be a horible television villain, and shouldn’t be anywhere near the Dr. Doom mask. Michael Chiklis is the most talented guy in the main cast, but the studio must have paid a lot for him, because they use every excuse they can find to take his powers away for a while to give his uncovered mug some screen time.
And I can’t forget to mention that there’s a superhero dance scene that will make you long for the days of Peter Parker’s jazz club tango from last month’s Spidey flick.
A common complaint from comic faithfuls dating back months before the film was even screened stemmed from the changes to the planet eater Galactus. My beef with this wasn’t as strong as most, because you have to face it — A planet-sized being wearing blue spandex and a giant purple gladiator helmet would look pretty ridiculous on the big screen. Besides, if you know anything about the character, he’s not actually a giant humanoid — he’s perceived that way by the Surfer and other humanoid characters, and in reality is an abstract unknown shape. For that reason, the cloud didn’t bother me. The reason it did bother me was because it just didn’t do anything to make Galactus seem menacing.
And while I understand that we should suspend our disbelief just a little when we’re looking at anything in the science fiction realm, and particularly in a comic book movie, it really wouldn’t have hurt to explain why Norrin Radd from the planet Zenn-La not only speaks fluent English, but also does so with a stoic American accent. And not only does he do it while speaking with American English speakers like Sue Storm and Reed Richards, he also holds conversations with his master Galactus as well.
If I have to say something positive about the movie, it’s that it has the best Stan Lee cameo of any Marvel movie to date. But really, when the highlight of your film is a line uttered by an 85-year old man, there isn’t much else to brag about.
A decade ago, comic fans were chomping at the bit for adaptations of their favorite funny books. Now, they’re probably wishing that the trend would slow down. Not even halfway through 2007, and we’ve already seen three Marvel Comics adaptations hit theaters. Two (FF2 and Ghost Rider) were awful, while the third (Spider-Man 3) was a huge step down from previous installments. Marvel has expended their iconic characters within a few years, to the point where they’re already remaking the four year-old Hulk. Iron Man and Thor are on their way, and that leaves Captain America as the only truly iconic character from Marvel to not yet have his own movie in the last few years. Even Ant-Man is getting his own treatment for the silver screen soon, fercryinoutloud.
You may have heard the comment that Rise of the Silver Surfer is a non-movie. And really, that’s a pretty fair assessment. Hero characters go about their daily lives until new antagonist appears from outer space. Battle ensues, but antagonist is misunderstood, and later redeems himself. In essence, it’s every episode of Smallville from the last five years.
The difference there as that at least Smallville has Superman going for it. All this has is Michael Chiklis in rubber suit.
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