Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis
The Fantastic Four learn that they aren't the only super-powered beings in the universe when they square off against the powerful Silver Surfer and the planet-eating Galactus.
While an improvement on its predecessor, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is nevertheless a juvenile, simplistic picture that has little benefit beyond its special effects.
  • 20th Century Fox Company:
  • PG Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 15 Jun 2007 Released:
  • 02 Oct 2007 DVD Release:
  • $131.8M Box office:

Trailer:

The surfer deserves better5/10
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.
'Bomb-Bastic' ... Shame too.5/10
What is wrong here? You'd think the director and writer second time around would get better right? Yea, you'd think but no such luck. Tim Story directed this thing like a newbie while both writers could'not seem to shake corny near senseless dribble. If I was Exec Prod, I'd be one ticked off guy for spending more than 130 million on this. Hell, for 10 million and real talent they could have done so much better.

I never felt taken away by this film in any way. No drama, sense of danger or urgency, even from the actors. Like eating spicy buffalo wings made of pink flavored bubble gum. Simply the whole film was a paper tiger of itself.

The best about this film... Every scene with the Silver Surfer and the magnetic Dr. Doom, Julian McMahon, whom was used far too less, made you feel like you were took along for the ride. They're the only charismatic, interesting and professional energies in this film.

Some effects, like in most fight, Surfer and earthly scenes were pretty impressive. However in the corny, "oh, let me stretch over here to get those papers" scenes, it looked like Barney Budget scale. And the unfunny cliche after cliche was embarrassing and frustrating.

And what's up with Alba's distractingly fake colored Lil Kim contacts? I mean, every time she was on screen, you'd have to fight being distracted from what's going on.

Or Mr. Fantastics gray hair changing density and shape with most every shot.

That the larger than life 'Thing' Ben Grimm is seemingly reduced to a pint size butterball party favor.

The interaction and perception of our hero's with the general public is tapered down like a cheap parlor trick leaving no sense of drama or superiority.

Ioan Gruffudd's acting was wimpy and stylized by director Tim Story as if he was in a day time soap opera.

Too bad the great possibilities for one of the best comic groups ever thought of, were laid to rest on such an incompetent team that possibly could have ruined it's chances forever.

I would have enjoyed myself better watching the animated series from decades ago.
All hope is lost with Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer1/10
As difficult as it was, I decided to view 'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer' as a film, not as a chance for redeeming a franchise. I thought this method might take away any fan boy predilections I had, in anticipation of this second installment to 'The Fantastic Four' universe. So, for a moment let's forget that the first film was without artistic merit. Let's forget that the story about a family of superheroes is arguably the most adored of all comic book properties.

'Rise of the Silver Surfer', opens with a planet light-years away, being obliterated. After the opening credits, we are on Earth getting ready for Sue Storm and Reed Richards to tie the knot. During the preparation, the scientist instead of concentrating on the details of his impending nuptials is busy studying a cosmic anomaly. We soon find out that this cosmic energy is in fact an alien on a surfboard zooming down to Earth to prepare it for destruction. These two story lines are the principle actions guiding the story. There are two other subplots. One is in regards to Dr. Doom being 'resurrected,' while the other involves Johnny Storm's selfish nature endangering his family.

Four plots that should make an epic film span a terribly short running time of 1 hour and 30 minutes. Did it work? Did they abandon the goofy nature of the first film and reinvigorate the franchise with an epic story about the fate of the entire planet. No on both counts. The humor is entirely aimed at children (which goes along with its PG rating.) 'Thing' is played for laughs without any degree of intensity. Johnny Storm's crisis of conscience robs all of the charisma established in the first (even if it wasn't much.) Sue Storm is more of a nag than an asset to the team. In addition, there is nothing to signify Reed Richards as the leader to a powerful team of superheroes. He comes off as a self-esteem deprived, blow hard jackass. There isn't one iota of chemistry between any of the characters. The wretched family dynamics are trumped only by Dr. Doom, who can only be described as the worst villain to ever grace the screen. Julian McMahon's portrayal of Victor Von Doom seems barely suited for a Sci-Fi cable channel movie, let alone a mega-budget studio film (not that they always choose the best talent, but come on!).

For a story such as this, the amount of claustrophobia throughout, borders on pure agony. It lacks anything even resembling 'scope of vision.' The only audience 'Rise of the Silver Surfer' is suited for is children between the ages of 5 & 10. Anyone over that age looking for an entertaining piece of escapism will run into a wall of condescension.

Now, let's look at it with comic-book eyes. As most may know, The Silver Surfer works for a planet-devouring villain, Galactus. The Surfer scouts out planets, using his board as a cosmic beacon for Galactus to follow. There is no definition, no rules; they just make them up as they go along. There is no Watcher, so we are told about Galactus through an unbearably cheesy heart-to-heart with Sue and The Surfer. There isn't a shred of genuine impending doom because they never establish what Galactus really is (in the press kit, under character description, it should just read-big damn tornado).

The director Tim Story and his band of screenwriters have once again broken the hearts of FF fans all over. They have no respect. They have no understanding on what makes the 'Fantastic Four' story work, or any story for that matter. I gave Tim Story a break the first time around, but not this time. He should'V looked back at the first one, compared it to the comic book films that work and just said, "Damn! I gotta sit this one out before I do it all over again!" However, he didn't do that. He looked at the numbers from the first one and assumed that money always equals success. Now as for the screenwriters; give them a Cartoon Network show and let them have at it. If they have any talent, it could be realized there.

However, FF2 wasn't a total failure. The Surfer is phenomenal (with the exception being Lawrence Fishburne's distracting voice). His entire body seemed to be in constant motion. I was mesmerized for every moment he was on screen. The special effects team did an outstanding job. However, what is perplexing about the look of the Surfer is what it did to the other special effects. Reed's ability to stretch looked even more unnatural than in the first. Sue's shield, Johnny's fire, everything else was sidelined. It was as if the team only concentrated on The Surfer.

I have been teetering on the edge of spoiling the end. I won't, but damn I want to. Any self-respecting Silver Surfer fan would scream! It is horrible. It makes no sense and it will enrage fans even more than Alba being cast as Sue Storm. I will only say this-Hollywood Cop Out.

No doubt, this movie will make money. I was shocked by the public's positive reaction to the first film. Audiences will be so dazzled by the effects that they will forget that they are watching a terrible movie.

I knew in my heart it would happen, but I had hoped our optimistic nature would pay off. I was wrong. I won't make that mistake again, no matter what the 'Fantastic Four' future may hold.

'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer' is a disrespectful, sleight of hand circus show devoid of any elements that make a movie a movie.
Good but not great!6/10
I think it's safe to say that when it comes to special effects we have no more expectations, they all nail it these days. This movie was no exception, good graphics and pretty colors as another guy here said. Unfortunately, the moment the special effects kicked in the world of the movies, the good old script got a good kick in the nuts and can barely stand now let alone hold a whole movie on it's feet. This movie again, it's no exception. I have to admit, the plot was OK, the lines good, there was humor, romance, action, a reasonable balance to everything. Yet, I could not feel it taking me in; I remained a spectator, while the short dialogs even though containing the essence of the story, were still dry and well, short. No wonder the movie was a mere 92 minutes. Conclusion, a good PG movie, a bit better than the first one, but which still failed big time to impress, just like the rest of this summer blockbusters.
A cosmic letdown3/10
As a comics reader who knows the source material, FF2 left me with a great deal of reservations. The ending in particular disappointed me. The new superhero movies always let us down when it comes to the cosmic part of the original stories.

Let me be clear: I am not a purist. I don't demand that the movies should be slavishly faithful to the comics. It's fine by me that they change the story, as long as what they put in there instead is just as good. And this, of course, is the problem. In the X-Men movies, we never see the alien Shi'ar, even though that's where the X-Men got their super-science. In Spider-Man 3, we never saw the planet from the Secret Wars storyline, where the alien symbiont, Venom, came from. And now, in FF2, we don't get the huge back-story of Galactus. We don't even get Galactus as a defined character. In the movie he's just some sissy-ass cloud monster who, ridiculously, can be destroyed by his own servant, the infinitely less powerful Silver Surfer. No way. Does not compute.

Galactus, in the comics, is a force of nature. He can be stopped, and sometimes even reasoned with, but he can't be destroyed. His fate is tied in with the fate of the universe. If you like the science fiction part of superhero comics, the ridiculously diluted "Galactus" of this movie is a massive, massive letdown.

And unfortunately, there were a great deal of other problems with the climax of FF2, especially this:

- The power swapping. That kind of thing does not happen in the comics without a whole lot of proper explanation. Here: none. AND, after seeing that whoever the Torch touches will swap powers with him, how does it follow that he can just absorb all the powers of the other three, who are then powerless? It doesn't. But they just casually know that that's what will happen, and casually go ahead with it, making the fight and climax equally casual.

- The Surfer's allegiance. When exactly does he switch? Surely not before he sees Susan die (another stupid element - the comics Surfer does not go around resurrecting the dead). And yet, Reed and the others plan for him to stop Galactus even before Susan dies. Doesn't make sense.

And that was just the climax. We also have other problems: Why is Doom even in the movie? They tried to conflate several of the greatest FF stories of all time, but stuffing these plots into this storyline just makes it half-assed. There's none of the original impact here.

Another thing I wasn't too fond of was the comedy. It's okay to have a few funny scenes, but in this movie they just went on and on playing the powers for laughs. It detracts from the seriousness of the story; ESPECIALLY a Galactus story, for cripes' sakes! So, I have to say this movie was a big disappointment to me. I really liked the first one. I rated it an 8. This one only rates a 3. Considering my great expectations, this comes as nothing less than a cosmic letdown.

And to all those who claim that this sequel is better than the first one: Shyeah. What do you know.