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In all its silliness and tongue-in-cheek disposition, the first
"Fantastic Four" movie wasn't really a landmark as far as comic book
films go. But it wasn't so bad either; it's just that after Marvel
Comics' recent domination of the film genre, it's natural for one to
expect that each of its characters having a shot at the big screen
would present something legitimately entertaining to the audience.
Something the first installment failed and the second struggled to
In "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," the four superheroes are back once again to help everyone solve their gamut of problems. Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd) is about to wed Susan Storm aka Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba). However, an unknown cosmic entity is causing a screw-up in earth's natural phenomena, prompting the couple to postpone the wedding, and work with Johnny Storm aka Human Torch (Chris Evans) and Ben Grimm aka The thing (Michael Chiklis) to find out the cause of the mysterious occurrence. They soon come face to face with the Silver Surfer (Doug Jones, voiced by Laurence Fishburne) and realize that the world's survival is hanging on the balance. In addition to this, Victor Von Doom aka Dr. Doom (Julian McMahon) returns and is intent on destroying the Fantastic Four.
Granted, "Rise of the Silver Surfer" has a greater scale than its predecessor. But for all this, it's still very... middling. The title and the trailers suggest something of a grand battle between the eponymous characters but aside from the chase sequence involving the Human Torch and the Silver Surfer (which, by the way, has been shown numerous times in the teaser trailer), nothing much exciting still happens. Not even the team's rescue attempt in London. The quality of the special effects are inconsistent and all the visual polish expectedly goes to the Silver Surfer. (And while I personally don't think it's an issue, I imagine how some fans of the comic book might sneer at how the characters of Silver Surfer and Galactus were handled.) Instead, director Tim Story and screenwriters Don Payne and Mark Frost opt to flesh out the characters more but the end result feels less natural and more repetitive. Gruffudd does an okay job with Mr. Fantastic but there's really no feeling of chemistry between him and Alba, who manages to adequately portray a tough yet vulnerable character. In contrast, Evans and Chiklis continue to generate an easy rapport between them and the two get majority of the film's most amusing moments.
"Rise of the Silver Surfer" barely does what it sets out to do. It fares a little better than its predecessor with a more serviceable story and a little more enjoyable action sequences. But taken on its own terms, the film doesn't present anything to its characters that has been done much better with other characters of their ilk. The movie is entertaining to some extent but in the end, it doesn't really rise to something special.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a comics reader who knows the source material, FF2 left me with a
great deal of reservations. The ending in particular disappointed me.
The new superhero movies always let us down when it comes to the cosmic
part of the original stories.
Let me be clear: I am not a purist. I don't demand that the movies should be slavishly faithful to the comics. It's fine by me that they change the story, as long as what they put in there instead is just as good. And this, of course, is the problem. In the X-Men movies, we never see the alien Shi'ar, even though that's where the X-Men got their super-science. In Spider-Man 3, we never saw the planet from the Secret Wars storyline, where the alien symbiont, Venom, came from. And now, in FF2, we don't get the huge back-story of Galactus. We don't even get Galactus as a defined character. In the movie he's just some sissy-ass cloud monster who, ridiculously, can be destroyed by his own servant, the infinitely less powerful Silver Surfer. No way. Does not compute.
Galactus, in the comics, is a force of nature. He can be stopped, and sometimes even reasoned with, but he can't be destroyed. His fate is tied in with the fate of the universe. If you like the science fiction part of superhero comics, the ridiculously diluted "Galactus" of this movie is a massive, massive letdown.
And unfortunately, there were a great deal of other problems with the climax of FF2, especially this:
- The power swapping. That kind of thing does not happen in the comics without a whole lot of proper explanation. Here: none. AND, after seeing that whoever the Torch touches will swap powers with him, how does it follow that he can just absorb all the powers of the other three, who are then powerless? It doesn't. But they just casually know that that's what will happen, and casually go ahead with it, making the fight and climax equally casual.
- The Surfer's allegiance. When exactly does he switch? Surely not before he sees Susan die (another stupid element - the comics Surfer does not go around resurrecting the dead). And yet, Reed and the others plan for him to stop Galactus even before Susan dies. Doesn't make sense.
And that was just the climax. We also have other problems: Why is Doom even in the movie? They tried to conflate several of the greatest FF stories of all time, but stuffing these plots into this storyline just makes it half-assed. There's none of the original impact here.
Another thing I wasn't too fond of was the comedy. It's okay to have a few funny scenes, but in this movie they just went on and on playing the powers for laughs. It detracts from the seriousness of the story; ESPECIALLY a Galactus story, for cripes' sakes! So, I have to say this movie was a big disappointment to me. I really liked the first one. I rated it an 8. This one only rates a 3. Considering my great expectations, this comes as nothing less than a cosmic letdown.
And to all those who claim that this sequel is better than the first one: Shyeah. What do you know.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As difficult as it was, I decided to view 'Fantastic Four: Rise of the
Silver Surfer' as a film, not as a chance for redeeming a franchise. I
thought this method might take away any fan boy predilections I had, in
anticipation of this second installment to 'The Fantastic Four'
universe. So, for a moment let's forget that the first film was without
artistic merit. Let's forget that the story about a family of
superheroes is arguably the most adored of all comic book properties.
'Rise of the Silver Surfer', opens with a planet light-years away, being obliterated. After the opening credits, we are on Earth getting ready for Sue Storm and Reed Richards to tie the knot. During the preparation, the scientist instead of concentrating on the details of his impending nuptials is busy studying a cosmic anomaly. We soon find out that this cosmic energy is in fact an alien on a surfboard zooming down to Earth to prepare it for destruction. These two story lines are the principle actions guiding the story. There are two other subplots. One is in regards to Dr. Doom being 'resurrected,' while the other involves Johnny Storm's selfish nature endangering his family.
Four plots that should make an epic film span a terribly short running time of 1 hour and 30 minutes. Did it work? Did they abandon the goofy nature of the first film and reinvigorate the franchise with an epic story about the fate of the entire planet. No on both counts. The humor is entirely aimed at children (which goes along with its PG rating.) 'Thing' is played for laughs without any degree of intensity. Johnny Storm's crisis of conscience robs all of the charisma established in the first (even if it wasn't much.) Sue Storm is more of a nag than an asset to the team. In addition, there is nothing to signify Reed Richards as the leader to a powerful team of superheroes. He comes off as a self-esteem deprived, blow hard jackass. There isn't one iota of chemistry between any of the characters. The wretched family dynamics are trumped only by Dr. Doom, who can only be described as the worst villain to ever grace the screen. Julian McMahon's portrayal of Victor Von Doom seems barely suited for a Sci-Fi cable channel movie, let alone a mega-budget studio film (not that they always choose the best talent, but come on!).
For a story such as this, the amount of claustrophobia throughout, borders on pure agony. It lacks anything even resembling 'scope of vision.' The only audience 'Rise of the Silver Surfer' is suited for is children between the ages of 5 & 10. Anyone over that age looking for an entertaining piece of escapism will run into a wall of condescension.
Now, let's look at it with comic-book eyes. As most may know, The Silver Surfer works for a planet-devouring villain, Galactus. The Surfer scouts out planets, using his board as a cosmic beacon for Galactus to follow. There is no definition, no rules; they just make them up as they go along. There is no Watcher, so we are told about Galactus through an unbearably cheesy heart-to-heart with Sue and The Surfer. There isn't a shred of genuine impending doom because they never establish what Galactus really is (in the press kit, under character description, it should just read-big damn tornado).
The director Tim Story and his band of screenwriters have once again broken the hearts of FF fans all over. They have no respect. They have no understanding on what makes the 'Fantastic Four' story work, or any story for that matter. I gave Tim Story a break the first time around, but not this time. He should'V looked back at the first one, compared it to the comic book films that work and just said, "Damn! I gotta sit this one out before I do it all over again!" However, he didn't do that. He looked at the numbers from the first one and assumed that money always equals success. Now as for the screenwriters; give them a Cartoon Network show and let them have at it. If they have any talent, it could be realized there.
However, FF2 wasn't a total failure. The Surfer is phenomenal (with the exception being Lawrence Fishburne's distracting voice). His entire body seemed to be in constant motion. I was mesmerized for every moment he was on screen. The special effects team did an outstanding job. However, what is perplexing about the look of the Surfer is what it did to the other special effects. Reed's ability to stretch looked even more unnatural than in the first. Sue's shield, Johnny's fire, everything else was sidelined. It was as if the team only concentrated on The Surfer.
I have been teetering on the edge of spoiling the end. I won't, but damn I want to. Any self-respecting Silver Surfer fan would scream! It is horrible. It makes no sense and it will enrage fans even more than Alba being cast as Sue Storm. I will only say this-Hollywood Cop Out.
No doubt, this movie will make money. I was shocked by the public's positive reaction to the first film. Audiences will be so dazzled by the effects that they will forget that they are watching a terrible movie.
I knew in my heart it would happen, but I had hoped our optimistic nature would pay off. I was wrong. I won't make that mistake again, no matter what the 'Fantastic Four' future may hold.
'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer' is a disrespectful, sleight of hand circus show devoid of any elements that make a movie a movie.
What is wrong here? You'd think the director and writer second time
around would get better right? Yea, you'd think but no such luck. Tim
Story directed this thing like a newbie while both writers could'not
seem to shake corny near senseless dribble. If I was Exec Prod, I'd be
one ticked off guy for spending more than 130 million on this. Hell,
for 10 million and real talent they could have done so much better.
I never felt taken away by this film in any way. No drama, sense of danger or urgency, even from the actors. Like eating spicy buffalo wings made of pink flavored bubble gum. Simply the whole film was a paper tiger of itself.
The best about this film... Every scene with the Silver Surfer and the magnetic Dr. Doom, Julian McMahon, whom was used far too less, made you feel like you were took along for the ride. They're the only charismatic, interesting and professional energies in this film.
Some effects, like in most fight, Surfer and earthly scenes were pretty impressive. However in the corny, "oh, let me stretch over here to get those papers" scenes, it looked like Barney Budget scale. And the unfunny cliché after cliché was embarrassing and frustrating.
And what's up with Alba's distractingly fake colored Lil Kim contacts? I mean, every time she was on screen, you'd have to fight being distracted from what's going on.
Or Mr. Fantastics gray hair changing density and shape with most every shot.
That the larger than life 'Thing' Ben Grimm is seemingly reduced to a pint size butterball party favor.
The interaction and perception of our hero's with the general public is tapered down like a cheap parlor trick leaving no sense of drama or superiority.
Ioan Gruffudd's acting was wimpy and stylized by director Tim Story as if he was in a day time soap opera.
Too bad the great possibilities for one of the best comic groups ever thought of, were laid to rest on such an incompetent team that possibly could have ruined it's chances forever.
I would have enjoyed myself better watching the animated series from decades ago.
I think it's safe to say that when it comes to special effects we have no more expectations, they all nail it these days. This movie was no exception, good graphics and pretty colors as another guy here said. Unfortunately, the moment the special effects kicked in the world of the movies, the good old script got a good kick in the nuts and can barely stand now let alone hold a whole movie on it's feet. This movie again, it's no exception. I have to admit, the plot was OK, the lines good, there was humor, romance, action, a reasonable balance to everything. Yet, I could not feel it taking me in; I remained a spectator, while the short dialogs even though containing the essence of the story, were still dry and well, short. No wonder the movie was a mere 92 minutes. Conclusion, a good PG movie, a bit better than the first one, but which still failed big time to impress, just like the rest of this summer blockbusters.
Like many other people, I was also thrilled upon watching the Fantastic
Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer trailer at the cinema. Similar to
numerous people who adore CGI, read the comic books when they were kids
and thought the first installment was decent enough to justify a
sequel, I was more than willing to get myself ready to be overwhelmed
by the mere strength of the eye candy and CGI effects within the film.
And then I watched it at a special press screening in Ramat Gan,
To make a long story short, FF2 is not a bad film. I was actually quite entertained throughout wide parts of the film (particularly at the beginning - but more on that later). Problem was, once I stepped out of the theater, I couldn't actually recall anything specific or special about what I have just seen (other than that cool CGI Silver Surfer, that is). It was just so mediocre in terms of plot, direction and acting (somebody really ought to give Jessica Alba some acting lessons a.s.a.p), that I didn't even care enough to remember it. Furthermore, while the original film required some suspension of disbelief, let's just say the plot in its sequel stretches this boundary one step too far, IMO.
As I've already mentioned, FF2 actually starts up in quite a promising manner. While Reed (Ioan Gruffudd) and Sue (Alba) get ready for their media circus wedding (think Tomkat style - but bigger), strange electronic and climatic disturbances occur across the globe. From here on out, you have this huge build up that pays off about half an hour into the film, continues with a bang and some dazzling CGI shots, and suddenly ends abruptly while the initial novelty of the Silver Surfer's appearance wears off. As usual, Chris Evans as Johnny Storm steals the show as the only character to truly evolve during this film, Mike Chiklis as Ben is seriously under-used, my 1.5 year-old nephew could play better than Gruffud's Reed and Alba isn't even that pretty anymore. Then you have all these villains (Silver Surfer is definitely not working alone, as implied in the IMDb official plot line) and some twists and turns that leave you feeling mildly entertained, but also incredibly under whelmed.
You see, if you're looking for mindless big-budget fun, this is the place for you and your bucket of popcorn. However, don't expect to find the heart of Spider-Man 3 or epic feel of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Don't even look for credible acting or intelligent plot. Only decent thing you'll find are some good looking money shots, and mindless action sequences. This formula of a film may work well as a matinée, but not as something you'll want to come back and watch again in the coming future.
Tim Story stays true to the roots of the 2005 film, keeping this sequel
fun and clean, while developing a new story with a couple new
characters and making our favorite 4 heroes grow even more. Fantastic
Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is better than its predecessor, and one
of the better sequels of recent memory.
Things appear to be going great for the Fantastic Four. Reed (Ioan Gruffudd) and Susan (Jessica Alba) are in love and ready to be married, Johnny (Chris Evans) is still on fire with the ladies, and Ben (Michael Chiklis) has finally found happiness with Alicia Masters (Kerry Washington). However, their happiness will be tested when strange occurrences around the globe point to one culprit: a mysterious being known only as The Silver Surfer (Doug Jones and Laurence Fishburne).
One of the biggest improvements 'Rise' has over the first film is the fact that the Fantastic work more as a team in this film. Yes, in the first movie they fought together, but it seemed as if they each were fighting different battles within one big one. Here, they take a different route and take on even the smaller events together. Also, the writing is much better, making Reed aka Mr. Fantastic out to be the leader of the Four, much unlike the first movie, which bothered me. Ioan Gruffudd really seems like a leader in this movie, which was a definite strength. Chris Evans also flexes some acting muscle, as The Human Torch is also well written this time around, giving him a wake up call and turning him into a more believable human character this time around. Alba and Chiklis are both good as The Invisible Woman and The Thing respectively. Doug Jones and Laurence Fishburne portray the Surfer brilliantly as body and voice respectively. Fishburne has this incredible ability to say the deadliest of lines (All that you know is at an end) with unbelievable ease and charismatic calm. He is the perfect choice as the voice of one of the most powerful comic book characters. I liked how they wrote the Surfer as well. He does become vulnerable in the film, but at the same time, you'll have no doubt that he is the most powerful character by the time the ending rolls around. Doug Jones always impresses me with how he captures and creates a character while doing so little, and after successful turns in Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy, Jones gives the Surfer life just as he did Abe Sapien in Hellboy. Kerry Washington and Julian McMahon are also good reprising their roles as Alicia Masters and Dr. Doom, McMahon especially. He's even better as the evil and manipulative Dr. Doom this time around.
Tim Story really did a good job with the atmosphere of 'Rise'. He really explores every corner of the planet, with action scenes in Germany, New York, China, outer space, and the heroes' kitchen. All the action scenes are well done and the special effects are used smoothly and effectively, even though it looks as though most of the increased budget was spent on The Silver Surfer and Galactus, who look amazing. They forgot to make Mr. Fantastic look as realistic as possible, because most of the time you can see the visual effects. All in all, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (PG) is a fun movie experience that anyone over age 11 or 12 should enjoy. There is some mild sexual innuendo, but it's not too bad.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wow. Where to begin. Let's start with the positives: The Surfer looked
excellent. He really did. I was impressed and excited when he first
Now, the negatives: Apparently Tim Story decided Stan Lee's work, which has lasted for years because it was a great story that stood the test of time, wasn't good enough for his motion picture. Apparently the Hollywood big wigs sat in a big executive board room around a large table and decided that they could come up with a better storyline along with changing the powers/abilities of various characters and basically murdering a storyline that was near perfect.
***SPOILERS*** Let's get a few things straight, people. I'm not one to hate on a movie because of a few nitpicky things. There were MAJOR plot flaws in this movie that were completely different from the original adaption. To begin with, and I want to be sure everyone understands this, The Silver Surfer DOES NOT get his powers from his board. There is no other way to say this other than "um, no, that's incorrect." About halfway through the flick Dr. Doom "discovers" that the Surfer gets his powers from his board, and you can obviously infer that at some point he is going to try and take it for himself.
In the comics, the Surfer is able to fly and use his powers all on his own; he only uses the board so that he doesn't expend the extra energy that flight requires (and very rapid flight at that - faster than the speed of light).
It's kind of like doing a Superman movie and saying that he gets his powers from his cape - Everyone would stare with a confused face and say, "Wha?" Once "de-boarded" The Surfer takes on an almost human-like existence (e.g. breathing heavily, fatigued, etc). Again, this is - what's the word? Oh yes - RIDICULOUS. I'm not trying to sound like some fan-boy, but it's just simply incorrect. Doing a Batman movie and making him a chimpanzee would irritate many who read the comics. The Surfer does not breath, eat, drink, etc. If you want an in-depth look at his abilities, use a search engine on the web and use a nice wik* site to explore.
Aside from these obvious blunders, at the end the Surfer apparently "kills" or at least "deters" Galactus from doing his work. This is kind of like saying that an ant got the best of Rambo in field combat. I can't stress this enough - it was storyline murder.
What made the Surfer stories so great is that they weren't just wham, bam thank you ma'am comics. They were very philosophical and contained a heavy amount of dialogue. In today's silver screen, most of the actors complain that they can't "act" enough in superhero movies. The unfortunate thing is, the creators of this movie had a great chance to appease both the fans and the actors by just simply FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL STORYLINE.
I'm not going to bore you any further complaining about this catasrophe. If you are still reading to this point, you obviously get what I'm trying to explain here. I'll sum it up like this: This movie, although visually appealing (while the Surfer is fully powered), is a complete nightmare.
If you want to read a very entertaining, thoughtful, and insightful story about a man who gave up his life in order to save others and his incredible journeys after this event, go to an online search engine and type up the word "parable" after the words "silver surfer." And a few last mathematics for you, according to the comics: 1. Galactus created the Surfer 2. The Surfer, in the comics, was far too powerful for the Fantastic Four (The Surfer alone is capable of destroying planets and stars, and has done so before), board or no board. The only reason he decided to help the Four was because he was touched by humanity and the goodness of the people on Earth (specifically the Fantastic Four). 3. In the Comics, when the Surfer tried to stop Galactus, he attacked him with enough force to destroy the solar system, and Galactus didn't even budge.
Now, hopefully you go and read the Parable story, so I won't ruin what happens for you. But using those guidelines, as for the movie...
How in the heck is the Surfer supposed to, if you are using the least possible scenario, DETER GALACTUS?!?!?! Give me a break. I know Stan Lee was a part of this movie, but it's widely known that the Surfer is perhaps his most favorite creation, along with most comic book fans loving this specific character. So why would he go and let Tim Story literally murder this character on the big screen? Well I have the answer, folks.
When you start getting old and senile, and someone hands you a big wad of cash, you pretty much stop caring about what's going on and what someone is doing with your most famous storyline.
Congratulations, Avi Arad and Tim Story. Thank you for nothing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Yes, if you liked 1 you'll like 2 and if you didn't, you won't (and you
won't like it if you expect to see the source material faithfully
reproduced without tweakage). And I didn't see any Galactus helmet
silhouette anywhere apart from a couple of points where I kind of
almost persuaded myself a bit that I might have seen something which
kind of reminded me a bit of what it might look like if it had been
there except maybe I was just imagining it.
But what of the film itself? Well, don't expect any deep themes - there's the underlying theme of family, of course, but it's gentle and understated. And don't expect profound subtext - there's Johnny taking on some responsibility when it counts, of course, and the Surfer fighting his "programming" in order to do the right thing, but these are simply part of the story, and not nailed up as an object lesson.
They got the group dynamic right in the first film, and that still holds strongly in this one - no messing with a successful bit of the formula. Doom - well, I simply have to get used to the fact that the Dr Doom in these movies is an entirely different character to the one in the comics. An OK villain, but a lightweight. And he doesn't speak with a Bela Lugosi accent.
Galactus - I can cope with the cloud. It works, in this context. The film has a cosmic menace, but it deals with it by reference to its effect on people. You get a glimpse of the cosmicness, but the people are the important thing.
The Surfer is nailed perfectly. They have captured the air of injured nobility, of tragic predetermination, in both Doug Jones' physical performance and Laurence Fishburne's voice-over. This is Norrin Radd, in every way. And for those who raised the Chrome Surfer criticism, that's dealt with too - he is indeed silver for much of the film, it's only when he's powered up that he becomes reflective.
Don't expect depth, expect fun - 92 minutes of action-packed Fantastic Four comic. This is EXACTLY what I would expect a comic movie to give me. It is much more entertaining than the overly angst-ridden Spidey 3. My parents, who rated FF1 very highly (more so than the Spidey movies, and on a par with the X-Men movies) will love it, my son (23) loved it, and I loved it too.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I must say I was pleasantly surprised that the sequel out shined the first one. First one was...all right but it was slow paced and every character needed to get developed. Some say it was down right horrible but I don't think so. The second installment once again lacked in the story/plot department. It was definitely very comic book like but even comic book motive can be identifiable outside the movie realm. The dialog was par but had some cheesy moments as well. I think the F4 can never really be compared to X-Men or Spider Man. With no disrespect the F4 are no match for them at all. It's like they are their own genre/film and they are going to have a pattern with each film. Back to the movie, dialog, all right, special effects amazing. Character development was much better, the viewer gets to see some change within each character. I am a tad disappointed that Galactus was just an enormous cloud planet eating spectrum. Oh well, it was an effort. Over all this movie is just flat out fun and entertaining. Don't have high expectations like Spider Man 3, then you will just think the movie sucks in general. Although I have to say this film surpasses spider man 3...shockingly enough. If you go to this movie, have no expectations and just sit back and enjoy the flick.
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