Past Entertainment Articles.

Article for the week of 8/29/07

Not so Fantastic Four Sequel
By, Cozmic

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.

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