FANTASTIC 4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER

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Opposition to the first film installment of The Fantastic Four franchise was considerable. Fan boys around the world bemoaned the inauthentic and liberty-taking approach to the beloved material upon which it was based.

Cries of blasphemy echoed through the Internet upon its release in 2005, with many people put off by its light hearted approach to certain themes that should have been much darker.

I must acknowledge that I am not an avid fan of The Fantastic Four. I have a rather general overview of their universe and I couldn’t hold more than a superficial conversation about the comics. This could explain why I enjoyed the first film so much. While critics – and fans alike – ripped the movie to shreds, I was completely absorbed in the tale of a dysfunctional family with fantastic powers.

Fantastic Four was a move away from the seriousness of comic book films before it and presented itself as nothing more than an entertaining watch. Director Tim Story, I believe, did a great job.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer sees the original cast and director return to bring us more super powered adventure. Unfortunately, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (henceforth referred to as FFROTSS) does not do anything new and once again the Marvel Comics franchise suffers terribly from the one trick pony syndrome.

Tim Story focuses on exactly the same squabbling family dynamic as in the first film and contrary to what he and the scriptwriters of this second film may lead you to believe – that FFROTSS is darker and more dramatic – it is a largely inferior film when compared to the first. The strengths of the original have now become this film’s biggest weakness.

The characters exhibit no growth or development and the goofy approach employed in 2005 has soured considerably. This Fantastic Four experience is rather lame and elements have been dumbed down to accommodate a younger demographic.

Yes, this film does have the Silver Surfer in it – one of the coolest and most original Marvel characters – and what we see of him is easily the most impressive aspect of this film, but even though the film is billed as being his story (with the rising and all) the Silver Surfer comes across as a simple after thought. FFROTSS makes the tragic mistake of trying to cram two comic book heavyweights into one 90-minute stretch and there simply is not enough room for both.

The Silver Surfer is used as a catalyst to get the events of FFROTSS going but his own story is only delved into after the three quarter mark; a story that is on par with any great Greek tragedy. Sacrificing himself to save the woman he loves and his home planet from Galactus (a consumer of worlds), the Surfer travels the galaxy endlessly searching for planets that can be destroyed.

With a separate movie of his own reportedly in the works, the Silver Surfer will have his own tale brought to life in a manner that (hopefully) does him justice. In FFROTSS, however, he is used as a glue to hold the world of this Fantastic Four film together. Just when you catch a glimpse of the surfer he is gone and you’re left with the same gags and squabbling. The title for this film should rather have read, “Guest Starring the Silver Surfer!”

I was terribly disappointed with FFROTSS. The franchise needed to develop dramatically and thematically but instead retreads what we have already seen. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is yet another turkey for the Marvel movie scrappile (see Elektra, Ghost Rider etc…).

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