Review: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

A couple of years ago, in 2005, the Fantastic Four were brought to the big screen in the aptly named Fantastic Four. It was a superhero movie that probably wouldn’t have seen the light of day had other superhero movies, such as Spider-man, X-Men and the resurrection of Batman, been so successful at the box office. The first Fantastic Four movie was good…not great, but good. It felt a little clumsy at times, but its very difficult to tell a good origin story without it feeling somewhat plodding. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer took all of the good aspects of Fantastic Four and improved them, thus creating a sequel superior to the original in every aspect. There are spoilers ahead, so read with caution. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer picks up where the first left off. The Fantastic Four are media darlings, and are world renowned for their personalities. Reed and Sue are still in a quest to get married, but their “stardom” keeps getting in the way. Johnny is just as brash, but he grows up in this movie (more on that in a bit). The Thing has gotten more comfortable in his rocky skin, and it seems that everybody is happy in the somewhat dysfunctional family. Their seemingly routine world is disrupted by the arrival of a “silver guy on a surfboard,” as Johnny so eloquently put it. Reed is tasked with finding out what he’s doing on Earth, and deal with him. This movie was really about Johnny realizing his place within the team, and how the four are indeed a team above being individuals. It’s hard to say the movie doesn’t focus on Johnny, because it does, but that’s not a bad thing. He’s definitely the most personable of the four, and every scene he’s involved in is hilarious. In the first movie, he was constantly being chastised for being rash. In this one, he’s not so much being chastised, but learning that his actions affect the other three, and he can no longer live for himself and the moment, because then he’ll be putting his friends at risk. Doom makes an appearance (ugh), and is played with the same vanity that he was portrayed with in the first one. Still a major complaint about Dr. Doom is that they didn’t use an altered voice to create some sense of, well, doom. Bad casting really hurts the character, but it’s the same shortcomings in the character from the first one, so no big surprises really. The effects for the Silver Surfer were great. Lawrence Fishburn was perfectly cast to provide the ominous “I’m the harbinger of your planet’s destruction” voice, and really added to the intensity of the character. Silver Surfer is such an underrated character; it was good to see he was portrayed with some sense of being a badass in the movie. Galactus is featured as the reason for Silver Surfer, which is fine. They do go hand in hand. One complaint is that you don’t actually see Galactus…he’s portrayed by a massive cloud moving through space and devouring planets. There’s one shot where he’s crossing Saturn that you see his shadow in the traditional Galactus form, so that wasa nice little nod to the fans. And it probably would have been a little cheesy to have him grab a planet, put it in his mouth, and eat it. In all honesty, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is a solid followup to the original. I really wasn’t expecting that much from the movie, but was there was enjoyable. The storyline really had no weak logic that often plagues movies such as this, and its running time is short enough that it’s briskly paced. It almost feels a little too short, but I don’t really see that they had that much more that they could have added to make it longer. I was happy, and I think if you go into the movie without expecting an Oscar winning performance, you’ll come away with a feeling that the movie is, indeed, fantastic. And, at the very least, you get the always hot Jessica Alba looking even hotter in glasses. Rating: 60 out of 100