13 June 2007 | Jay_Exiomo
The surfer deserves better
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 achieve.
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.