The Fantastic Four Silver Screen Suffer
Jun 27, 2010 (Updated Jun 27, 2010)
Review by Jason Haskins
Rated a Very Helpful Review
User Rating: OK
Pros:Some okay SFX, the Silver Surfer was a good idea, some good moments
Cons:Dr. Doom, Galactus, terrible story and dialogue, predictable, stupid
The Bottom Line: I'd recommend this for kids as its not too violent or brooding as other comic films, yet it has enough substance to keep them entertained over a cartoon.
Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
Recommend this product?
Who in their right mind, at the end of the first Fantastic Four, had the urge for a sequel? In 2007 the second film in the now rebooted franchise came out to much confusion because it was perhaps one of the most random sequels of all time. Who wanted this? I didn't. Shoot. Anyway, so it came out with a PG rating no less (the first was modestly PG-13) and it made a ton of money recouping its budget that was slightly higher than the original's. However, would I call this a success? Meh, I surprisingly dug it more than the first one because there was actually a loose plot and some cool action involved--not lengthy and boring introductory work.
The fab four are a group of people who were radiated while in space (long story) who gained superpowers in the first film. Now they are celebrities with endorsements (which Johnny aka Human Torch) takes advantage of and a great budget for Reed Richards' (Mr. Fantastic) scientific work as well as the Invisible Woman's (his wife's) massive cosmetic work. Ben Grimm (the Thing) could be a bit happier. Despite him being with a blind woman, he still wants to be back to his normal self--not some thick, orange rock-skinned creature.
Either way, so they're all famous when a mysterious being shows up and starts putting the earth off kilter. The US government calls the Fantastic Four for help as this being, the Silver Surfer, is causing some destruction everywhere he goes. Wouldn't you know it but Dr. Doom (the bad guy from the first film) resurfaces wanting the power that the Silver Surfer holds. What ensues is a formulaic and straightforward comic book movie.
Dr. Doom is like a third-rate Green Goblin in this movie and I was really disappointed with the treatment he got here because he's ultimately one of the cooler and more powerful super villains in the Marvel universe yet he never got to truly shine. A bigger indecency is switching Galactus from an awesome god of sorts...to a gas cloud. Not to give too much away, but the Silver Surfer is Galactus' forced agent who leads the being to each planet to harvest its energy leading to its destruction. This is where the movie's pretty cool because the story is actually suitable for a Fantastic Four film and it was a good idea to bring along the Silver Surfer onto the cast (with Laurence Fishburne's voice attached.
The cast is more comfortable this time around as well. A big problem I had with the original flick was that Reed Richards (played by Ioan Gruffudd) seemed awkward the whole movie. He has more chemistry with the rest of the cast this time around and I actually found his performance much better. Then again...the whole relationship thing with Jessica Alba as the Invisible Woman is pretty ridiculous as they don't work well together.
On her own, Alba is horrendous in this movie. First of all, her makeup and wardrobe make her look glossy; like an alien doll. I mean that in the worst way possible. Too much makeup, hair extensions, and glass looking eyes (weird contacts) all make her look...weird. I can't explain it but she was distracting. There's more of what I enjoyed about the first movie here with Human Torch and the Thing interacting and giving each other a hard time. There are points in this film where the Surfer makes it so that the group has the ability to trade powers and that was a fairly intriguing premise.
I have to say the special effects are much better this time around. They still aren't up to par with the rest of the CGI that's been achieved in recent years, but they're still manageable. There's a lot of action in Rise of the Silver Surfer regarding, you guessed it, the Silver Surfer and he's made up entirely of CGI. There are points, however, where he actually looks tangible--as if the actors could actually touch him and that impressed me...then there were other points where he looked like something out of an Xbox game. Either way, there are some pleasing moments concerning this character later in the movie and overall this one is more exciting than the first outing because there's more for the characters to do. When I originally saw this a few years ago I couldn't STAND it. How shocked was I to discover that I enjoyed this more than the first?
HOWEVER, that said--Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer still...sucks to a certain degree. Being PG the script is dumbed down to kid level at some points, but then reverts to things that are very sexually suggestive for a young audience. There's some romance between Alba's character and Mr. Fantastic, but there isn't any sex scenes (or kissing for that matter)--but she does become nude in this film albeit not shown. There are also a few awkward moments that made me weirded out that this wasn't a PG-13, but I can't explain it. The dialogue is just ridiculous with "Crap" this, and "Crap" that--along with stupid humor of the "...MY BAD" caliber (if any of that makes sense). This movie was clearly going for the children fan base and while doing so they completely omitted any substance that might've worked for older audiences.
I can't really put my finger on it, but this movie isn't really good. It's pretty skippable in the large part of things. If you've seen the original then you have nothing to miss here. It's more of the same, but offers a little more action and minor development of the characters. The climax is weak and the overall script doesn't hold the weight of, say, Spider-Man 2. You'd think they would have upped the ante for this one being that it's the second film in the franchise, but this one just felt like an addition to the first film. This one suffers from a bloated budget that was obviously used too much on eye candy than script management and while the SFX are better this time, the actual props and costumes still look...like props and costumes. I was distracted by the mediocrity all the way through especially with their identity crisis at wanting to be taken seriously up to the big leagues of a Spider-Man-type film.
I wouldn't say I was disappointed because the first movie set such a low bar, but this one still left a sour flavor in my mouth. Admittedly there were some good parts and it was, overall, better made than the original, but it's also very dumb, too--with a bad script and idiotic direction by Tim Story (Barbershop). It's a good thing this is getting a reboot as it has the potential for greatness...this just couldn't cut the bacon and despite making a good amount of money at the box office, the franchise was axed after this point with good reason. Who can honestly say they are die-hard fans of these movies?
© Jason Haskins, 2010
:( This is another part in the awesome Elvisdo-helmed project known as the 2010 Funny Pages Write-Off!
Fantastic Four (2005)
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children up to Age 4
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