Fantastic Four 2 – Rise of the Silver Surfer is a kids movie. It is rated PG because it is intended for children under the age of about 14. Julian McMahon, who reprises his role as Dr. Doom, described it in interviews as quote a “kid’s movie.” I can’t stress that enough.
It’s easy to compare both Fantastic Fours with the likes of Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, etc. because of the comic book connection. But unlike DC heroes that are getting a restart with more dark and realistic touches, this Marvel franchise makes zero attempt to appeal to a broader audience.
The movie from start to finish is filled with bad one-liners and inexplicable plot points. Why is Dr. Doom still alive? How is Reed able to make complicated machinery overnight and by himself? The surfer alters molecules? No fight scenes? Why are these movies successful at the box office?
And there are plenty of groan and eye-rolling moments. For example, there is a stretchy dance number in a club for Mr. Fantastic, much like the campy strut/dance moments in Spider-Man 3.
They even incorporated the hack “body switch” bit that bad comedies do when they have nothing else. Shrek the Third did it too. I’m not sure why the sequels this summer are all borrowing from the “Big Book of Comedy Clichés,” but I hope we don’t see John McClane slip on a banana peel in Die Hard 4.
This is a B-list movie with secondary actors. Fantastic Four may be a staple of Marvel mythology, but everything about the movie adaptations are second rate at best. It’s a shame to see F4 relegated to the kiddie table at the Marvel mansion when it could have been at least at the level of its brothers, the Spider-Man and X-Men series.
Michael Chiklis is the only actor with talent in the cast, and he’s forced into cutesy gags and wacky outfits. I seem to remember Chiklis demanding The Thing not become a CG animated character when taking the role, yet he’s completely covered in a rock suit hiding any display of his ability. Maybe he’s content with hiding the shame.
Lawrence Fishburne is the voice of the Silver Surfer, so maybe that counts as a quality cast member. But his deep, booming voice does not fit the flying trophy figurine and only acts as a distraction. And for a movie called itself “Rise of the Silver Surfer,” he’s barely on screen.
Jessica Alba is the most visible Invisible Woman and marries Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd) in a high-profile, overly discussed wedding. She looks hot as a blond babe, but her acting is horrendous and her sex appeal can’t carry the film. The Human Torch (Chris Evans) is just there to deliver corny lines and fill the foursome quota.
F4-2 is overloaded with special effects to distract audiences, which may work for children, but adults will wonder why the budget didn’t include a story. And while the silver surfer may look cool to a kid, but the rest of us saw the T-1000 in Terminator 2 from fifteen years ago.
The major controversy surrounding this movie is the introduction of Galactus into the story. If you’re a comic book fan you know that Galactus is the devourer of worlds. And if you’re not, then I just told you. He eats planets.
But since Galactus was announced months ago, there have been rumors running rampant across the Internet about him being depicted as merely a “storm cloud looming in space.” Any fans that still remained after the original all abandoned ship. The reason the rumor wasn’t denied by the studio is because it’s true. The only thing Galactus can do is ruin a picnic.
I would love to deny the possibility of a third installment in this franchise, but the door is left open for another. The director doesn’t confirm or deny a third in interviews, but just transitions right into who the villain might be. Plus they just announced a few days ago that this movie was merely a setup for the Silver Surfer spin off 20th Century Fox has always wanted to do. Sigh.