100 Days of Superheroes- Day 68: Rise of Silver Surfer (2007)
Thanks but I'd rather have Incredibles 2 more than this.
“We need the Surfer’s board. It’s the only thing that can stop the destroyer.”
Where do the problems with this Fantastic Four film begin? You need only look at the title. As much as I am a fan of both the FF and Silver Surfer……even for me the title seems a little overly epic with a name like “Silver Surfer” in it.
Yet in all honesty Rise of the Silver Surfer follows the trend of many superhero films where the sequel ends up being even better than the original. Though that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. It does mean that it improves significantly over the first outing making it less painful.
Where the last film spent most of its time inside the Baxter Building doing nothing but listening to the main characters gripe, this one at least creates something of a plot. Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman are preparing to get married and leave the team when the Silver Surfer shows up and starts creating all sorts of negative incidents. Top of the list being resurrecting Doctor Doom and preparing to destroy the planet. Little things like that.
With their team dynamic again in jeopardy the FF saddles up to go and defeat their nasty shinny enemy.
The movie really does have some fantastic action pieces. The two most notable being the chase scenes between Johnny and the Surfer and later the Fantasticar and Doctor Doom. Some are really fun to watch but it isn’t hard to top the original, which was action deficient.
The main villain, Silver Surfer, is also a welcome addition as he is one serious badass. Hey Fox! Where is his spinoff?! Elektra gets one but not him? He’s also more interesting because people unfamiliar with the source material don’t know what he is after and what his motives are. Even if his CGI isn’t always great, he’s a fun character and a fairly good first adaption to the screen.
The actors all return to their respective rolls from the previous film and pretty much all the strength and flaws are exactly the same. The Thing is awesome. Alba is aweful. No….really. She literally wrecks the film and any team chemistry every time she comes on screen with her deadpan performance. The only notable improvement was with Johnny Storm. Where I had mixed feelings about Chris Evans performance and depiction of the character before, here he just feels a lot more likable. Is he still a bit of a douchebag? Yes. But at least this time the writers got it right and made him a relatable and likable one.
That being said his subplot of switching powers with other members of the team is kind stupid and only adds dumb shenanigans to the script while turning the climax into a one man show. Something that defeats the purpose and IDEA of the Fantastic Four.
Julian McMahan also returns as Doctor Doom who is menacing enough…..when he keeps his mask on. Every time it is off he just seems like a slimy corporate asshole rather than one of the greatest super villains of all time. Why you would ever want to take him out of his costume is beyond me. At least this time around he’s given powers to compete with his comic book counterpart (even if they are temporary).
The film actually does a surprisingly good job balancing three villains. Even Doctor Doom gets his time to shine in what is probably the best battle in the film. Yet as for the main villain (who shall remain unnamed to avoid spoilers). I have one piece of advice to any filmmaker making an intergalactic mega villain. Do not turn them into a giant smoke monster. This isn’t LOST. It doesn’t make them look more menacing…..it makes them look like a rain cloud.
I’ve said a lot of good about the movie, so where does it all go wrong. Well pretty much in the same area as the previous film. Bad supporting actors, bad Jessica Alba, and bad useless subplots and childish gags. Overwhelmingly stupid scenes still exist such as Mr. Fantastic break dancing drag it down quick. Also the multiple relationship misunderstandings don’t help.
With the cartoonishness of everything, I am still under the opinion that Fantastic Four would make a much better animated franchise than I could ever see it becoming in live action. Yet in the end it isn’t a painful film and certainly an improvement over the first. You can actually have fun with it at times and it’s pretty family safe in comparison to most PG-13 superhero films. Just don’t go looking for anything moving or memorable.
FINAL RATING: 4/10- (40%)
Previous DAY 67- TMNT
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