Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer...rising to the top

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - Tim Story - 2007 - 7/10


Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) is about to marry Sue Storm (Jessica Alba) amid the incessant gossip and paparazzi invasion of the private lives of the Fantastic Four. Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) is in a good place right now with his girlfriend Alicia Masters (Kerry Washington) but Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) is not in a good place. While Johnny tries to convince the Four to give way to marketing schemes he's hatched, and surrounding himself with the best eye candy, he fights to hide the simple fact from himself and everyone else, that he desperately needs someone - desperately needs a real relationship. Meanwhile, a strange "comet" has appeared, a fast moving force emitting its own energy that creates strange weather conditions. After this "comet" has a literal run in with Johnny, the name him "the Silver Surfer." Reed looks into the other places the Surfer has visited and finds that within eight days, those worlds have been swallowed up. It becomes crystal clear that the clock is ticking down until an all powerful force destroys Earth and the Four have to battle both the Surfer, and Doom (Julian McMahon), who has reemerged with a new plan. Their attempts to finally finish off Doom are thwarted when General Hager (Andre Braugher) forces them to work with Doom. While the Four are professionally forced into relationships they don't want, Reed tries hard to maintain the relationship he wants as does Johnny who pursues a relationship with the one woman in Manhattan who seems to want nothing to do with him. With the clock counting down, the Four have no choice, but to accept the help of one of their two enemies, the Surfer, or Dr. Doom.


Quite simply, this movie FAR AND AWAY exceeded my expectations. My expectations were pretty simple though, I just wanted this movie to be better than the first movie. While the first movie was a very solid origin story, it was little more than that. In that first installment Story showed some promise but couldn't quite finish his vision, perhaps because actors like Gruffudd and Alba couldn't act and their chemistry seemed forced at best. In those movies, all of those things change as Story keeps his movie running fast and sure - charting a plot that is pretty good, pretty airtight, and pretty simple. Additionally, Gruffudd and Alba have learned to act in the last year, making their relationship light years ahead of other atrocious fanboy movie romances like Hayden and Natalie. Instead, their relationship is beleivable, and so are they. Plus they get to execute a tight script with plenty of humor and plenty of clever lines. Story also tries pretty hard to give Johnny more depth and push his character to grow. Honestly, I'm not sure I would consider it a complete success, but Evans and Story are trying really hard. Frankly, the only reason this movie isn't better is because the Fantastic Four suck. I just don't think its good source material for a sustainable franchise. It seems to me that both their powers and their personalities have already been greatly expanded upon in just two movies. Even looking to wikipedia for some help, I can't really think of another villain for the Four for a possible third movie. But, these macro-issues aside, I really liked this movie. It was fast paced, lots of development, simple "believable" story (in the superhero sense), and a very good ensemble comic book movie.


It's worth $9

If you liked this movie, see...
...The Fantastic Four
...X2: X-Men United

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