I will never understand why the Fantastic Four franchise decided to put Jessica Alba front and center for much of this sequel. She was the worst part of the original and making her the focus of this installment was a big mistake. The script for Rise of the Silver Surfer isn’t half bad, but would have been better if Sue Storm were less prominent (or recast).
This is a big improvement over Fantastic Four, though still not great. The team are finally pitted against a big time comic book villain in the form of Galactus. He (it?) is a planet-eating cosmic entity headed straight for Earth thanks to his slave/food procurer, the Silver Surfer. This storyline is miles better than the revenge-based original. No matter how good Julian McMahon is as Doctor Doom, he doesn’t come across as a huge threat. Galactus is legitimately scary, and the tension created leading up to the big finale is on par with other superhero films.
While the villain is better, the story is still somewhat weak. I liked the addition of the Silver Surfer, but would have liked to have seen some of his story rather than just hear him tell it. Instead the film delves into a subplot involving Sue and Reed’s wedding and desire to quit the team to lead a normal life. The whole “hounded by the paparazzi” aspect was a fun element of the first movie, but it takes up too much time here. I could have also done without seeing the Fantasticar, it just looks silly and the product placement is a little too much.
This movie could have been great if the story had focused less on Reed and Sue, and shifted the lead to the Human Torch/Johnny Storm. Reed and Sue’s love story was explored plenty in the first movie, I don’t feel it warranted so much attention this time. Chris Evans was the best part of the first film, and yet we were given only the bare bones of his backstory. He’s a cocky pilot and Sue’s brother, but what else? It seems natural that Johnny would be the Surfer’s main nemesis– he’s the only one able to keep up with him when he’s on his surfboard. I understand wanting to maintain the ensemble cast feel, but it never felt like an ensemble to begin with. The Human Torch and The Thing’s stories were mostly glossed over in the first movie, and they still take a backseat to Reed and Sue here. It would have made more sense to bring Johnny Storm to the forefront this time, and lead into a third movie focusing on The Thing.
I would love to see what Marvel would do with the Fantastic Four, but unfortunately a reboot is coming meaning the rights won’t revert back to its creators anytime soon. But, maybe a new take on this team will finally make them cool. It worked for Spider-Man, so there’s hope.
This sequel to the mediocre original Fantastic Four movie improves on its predecessor somewhat. It adds the cosmic threat of the planet eating nemesis, Galactus, one of Marvel’s most dangerous villains.
We meet the Fantastic Four a few years after their first adventure. Reed (Ioan Gruffud) and Sue (Jessica Alba) are about to get married, which is causing a paparazzi frenzy as the Fantastic Four are the most famous super hero family in the world now. Their attempt at a wedding is interrupted by the Silver Surfer (Lawrence Fishburne). He has come to Earth to herald the arrival of his Master, the planet devouring alien, Galactus. An Army General (Andre Braugher, basically playing a straight version of his character from Brooklyn Nine-Nine) requests Reed Richard’s help to stop the surfing alien, forcing the Fantastic Four to reluctantly team up with hated nemesis Dr Doom (Julian McMahon) in order to save the world.
This is a big improvement on the original. Alba is still terrible, and they’ve somehow managed to find a worse blonde wig and blue contact lenses for her, but the rest of the cast has improved since the first one. The Thing’s (Michael Chiklis) brick costume is still a bit tacky, but it is an improvement on the first film. Gruffud has grown into his role as Mr. Fantastic and Chris Evans is still the highlight as the Human Torch.
My biggest complaint is the portrayal of Galactus. In the comics, Galactus is an actual person, but in this film, he is portrayed as basically a dust cloud that approaches Earth with the intent of sucking it in. I didn’t find the cloud threatening at all. He was a weak villain, which is a shame, because the Silver Surfer was really cool. I really like the scene where he is chased through New York by Human Torch. This is a well done action set piece and the highlight of the film. Which is a problem because it happens in the first 30 minutes, the movie is a bit of a letdown from then on.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is an improvement on the original, but it still isn’t great. A weak villain and terrible acting from the female lead make this a massive letdown compared to other comic book films.