Justin does Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

“Did you know I can create a force field inside someone’s body and expand it until they explode?”

The Scoop: 2007 PG, directed by Tim Story and starring Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis

Tagline: Rise

Summary Capsule: Deflate

Justin’s Rating: Earth!  Fire!  Stretchiness!  Nudity!

Justin’s Review:  To comic book newbies out in our audience, the Fantastic Four are… well, they’re the Leave It To Beavers of the superhero world.  Bland, easy-going-down, easier-coming-back-up pap.  Despite them being the first real superhero “team” in history, they’ve long since been eclipsed by bigger and better franchises.  Their unseen 1994 movie (obviously) sucked, their 2005 big budget adventure was a lame success, and this 2007 sequel practically dares internet trolls to “flame on!”

The notable twist about the F4 is that they’re sort of a family of heroes who have eschewed secret identities for a life in the public eye.  There’s boring-as-dirt Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd) who can stretch physically but not as an actor; Mrs. Fantastic (Jessica Alba), who puts on glasses so that we can take her seriously as she pouts through scenes; Human Torch (Chris Evans), who at least has a little bit of fun with being superpowered; and The Thing (Michael Chiklis), who is all “woe is ME!” because he’s a walking pile of rocks and has to date a blind girl just so that she doesn’t run away screaming.  In other superhero films, it takes just one caped crusader to put wrongs right; in the Fantastic Four world, it takes the efforts of the entire team to continuously fall flat on their faces.

Good thing they don’t have to save the world or anything from an alien surfer riding a quicksilver board who heralds the coming of a planet-eating monster… ah, crap.  That’s on the docket?  Guess they better phone all the other mutants and superhero freaks of the Marvel universe, since it IS an apocalyptic situation… what?  They’re all busy and not contractually obligated to appear in this movie?  Seriously, if it’s the end of the world, you think that the X-Men and the Hulk and Spider-Man and Iron Man might give a bit of a crap.  But no, it’s up to this dysfunctional foursome to bear the fate of the world on their shoulders.

Making things both worse and tacky is a subplot about the Human Torch being infected with some vague nonsense that allows him to swap powers between whoever he touches (yet he never once thinks to touch the superpowered alien surfer), which on two occasions gives The Thing back his human form.  Considering that the guy is actually dating, you think that Torch would bear the rock form for a night or so and give Thing a bit of time for intimacy.  But, nah, that would be too human.

“This is a sequel?” my wife asked.  “Have you seen the first?”

“Yup.  It was even more boring than this.”

“Ah,” she replied, sitting back with her arms crossed.  “Just as well you didn’t make me watch it.”

Freaky Friday: The Fantastic Four

Intermission!

  • This movie was given a PG rating by the MPAA, the first Marvel film since Howard the Duck (1986) to earn this rating.
  • Stan Lee has a cameo as a guest who is refused entry to the Fantastic wedding
  • After the scene where Ben lends Johnny his powers and goes into a store to change his clothes, in the top right corner, you can see various Marvel toys, such as a Spider-Man doll hanging upside down.
  • For most of the production, the filmmakers were not sure whether the Silver Surfer was going to have a voice or not.

Groovy Quotes

General Hager: [to Reed] Let me make this clear for you and your pack of freaks. I’m the quarterback, you’re on my team. But I guess you didn’t play football in high school, did you, Richards?
Reed Richards: You’re right. I didn’t. I stayed in and studied like a good little nerd. And fifteen years later, I’m one of the greatest minds of the 21st century. I’m engaged to the hottest girl on the planet. And the big jock who played football in high school, he standing right in front of me asking me for my help, and I say he’s not going to get a damn thing, unless he does exactly what I say and starts treating me and my friends with some respect.
General Hager: Give him what he wants.
Susan Storm: [to Reed] I’m so hot for you right now.
Johnny Storm: [hugging Reed and switching powers] Me, too!

The Silver Surfer: All that you know, is at an end.

Susan Storm: We don’t know the extent of his condition yet.
Reed Richards: It could be progressive. It could be degenerative.
Ben Grimm: It could be fun!

Reed Richards: [to Sue after she switches powers with Johnny] You’re on fire!
Susan Storm: [shrieking] You think?

If You Liked This Movie, Try These:

  • The Fantastic Four
  • Iron Man
  • Spider-Man
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5 Comments

  1. Hands up, anyone who read Justin’s description of the FF as “Leave it to Beavers” and had to check to make sure he was, in fact, talking about the Fantastic Four.

    Boss, we need to get you on a steady diet of the right FF stories, stat. You know they gained fame for being the first super-team in history who DIDN’T always get along, right?

  2. *Raises hand*

    I agree, Drew. I grew up readign FF and never thought of them as bland or wholesome.

    The niche they do occupy in the Marvel universe, however, is that of science fiction.

    Other heroes may come in contact with aliens and spaceships and other sci-fi things, but the Fantastic Four are really the only ones you could call to deal with a planet munching spaceman considering they spend a good amount of their free time exploring other universes and such.

    Having said that: I certainly don’t think this movie is flawless by any means, but it is better than the first one as Justin also said. I just don’t think it’s the worst Marvel movie out there.

    Not even in the top five.

  3. (Also, J’s going to fire me for being hopelessly pedantic, but the Justice Society of America were the first superhero team in history, beating the FF by a good 21 years. Heck, the FF weren’t even Marvel’s first superhero team; that was the All-Winners Squad from the late ’40s.)

  4. They actually broke the Stan Lee cameo, because in the first film, he was there in universe as Willy Lumpkin, their mailman.

    The FF has gotten a bad rap over the years because unlike almost every other hero team, they never really went darker and edgier. A lot of creators tend to dislike Reed Richards too: notice how he is the villain in Marvel Zombies, and in Civil War he builds the prison in the negative zone.

    The movies-well its really cool to see them in action, and to be honest they work better on screen than the Xmen in terms of bringing their powers to life. They just are so bland and unfocused though, and Rise of the SS didn’t help by destroying Galacticus and making him a cloud. Like they destroyed doctor doom with poor casting in the previous film.

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