Past Entertainment Articles.
Article for the week of 8/29/07
Not so Fantastic Four Sequel
I feel I should start this off by saying that I don't really read comic
books, I usually just end up watching the movies and know enough about
the character from old TV-shows and the like to get by. So it was a fairly
blank mind I entered the theatre to see Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver
Surfer. I say fairly, because I had seen the previous film, and thus I
also entered the theatre with low expectations. Not super-low, but I was
fairly confident this would not be a Spider-Man film, or Batman Begins.
The movie begins with our four superheroes getting ready for the big marriage
between Reed Richards (Ian Gruffudd) and Sue Storm (Jessica Alba). Naturally,
as things do in the superhero world, something gets in the way of both
the marriage and Johnny Storm’s (Chris Evans) attempts to milk more money
out of endorsements.. In this case, natural disasters caused by a weird
mystic alien guy, known as the Silver Surfer(Laurence Fishburne). You
can't claim I have in any way ruined the plot since the Silver Surfer's
name is in fact in the title. Oh, and for those wondering what “The Thing”(Michael
Chiklis) is up to, he is more or less doing nothing.
And of course, the appearance of the Silver Surfer brings about a lot
of odd happenings, and the return of Dr. Doom(Julian McMahon), who schemes
and is generally sneaky.
Now, the important part of almost any movie would lie in the details,
certainly when one is dealing with something so over-the-top as superheroes.
And yes, there are a lot of pretty fun things in the movie. Since the
Fantastic Four does not have secret identities, they are free to toy around
with their superpowers constantly. It is a very different style from the
usual comic book settings, and one that leads to a lot of somewhat funny
little gags. It is not that they are bad jokes, per se, it is just that
a superhero who's power is essentially to stretch is funny, just not ha-ha
funny no matter what you throw him into. The mixing up of powers that
the Surfer causes also leads to some funny bits, and of course a naked
Alba, for no other reason than the fact that you can. And for those interested,
yes, Stan Lee appears in the movie, but it is too obvious as to be a good
Stan Lee moment, which somehow ruins the movie even more.
The best parts of the movie include Johnny trying to live the life of
a celebrity, with all that entails of commitment issues and product placement,
or Ben being mean and surly. The other two lack the charisma of their
more joking comrades.
Meanwhile, of course, Doom is evil and scheming. But somehow not enough,
I have always heard Dr. Doom described as a man who in the end always
wins or at least doesn't take stupid chances. He is not quite there yet
in this movie, but he is getting closer. He also lacks the charm of a
proper villain, he seems to fall just short of the mark of being that
villain with charm and style, which is a shame, since Doom does exhibit
some very nice qualities such as hating the heroes and rather mercilessly
killing people in his way.
The action scenes, which are what a movie like this should be about, are
totally over the top and would be spectacular, but they lack somewhat
in detail. That giant chase scene doesn't become cool just because it
stretches over half a continent and out to space, it needs events happening
besides that. And on this, sadly, Rise of the Silver Surfer does not deliver
as well as one might have hoped.
All in all, the sequel is better than the first movie, but that's not
saying much. If you necessarily have to go see a movie with superheroes
right now, you might find this worthwhile, as it does have some good points
amid all the mediocrity. Otherwise I'd wait for the DVD to rent with a
bunch of friends, or just hold out for Iron Man or Dark Knight.