FANTASTIC FOUR: Rise of the Silver Surfer

I’ve never been a fan of the Fantastic Four in particular, but in many ways the new movie perfectly captures the comic: breezy, light-hearted fun that mixes cosmic menace with family squabbles without ever taking itself too seriously. I think Kevin Maher’s review best captures the film but let me offer a few additional notes.

I loved the globe-trotting quality of the sudden shifts in locale, and after the running times of Spider-Man 3 and Pirates 3 this year, the movie’s 90-minute length feels like a revolutionary innovation.

The Thing featured prominently in the first one so his step back feels appropriate to allow a slight focus on the Human Torch, always the most fun character. Like Kurt Russell in Sky High, Chris Evans embraces the role wholeheartedly and always looks like he’s having fun rather than being embarrassed by the absurdity of the material.

The primary negatives I thought were the CG of Reed’s stretching abilities and Alba’s make-up which is sometimes so dark you can’t tell if she has a monobrow or no eyebrows at all. Rachel McAdams would’ve made a better Sue Storm.

But everything else falls away whenever the Silver Surfer is on screen, who looks absolutely perfect. Though FF2 is by no means the best superhero movie, the Silver Surfer is probably the most visually faithful translation of a character from comic book panel to cinema screen, ever. Unlike every other superhero, he actually looks BETTER on film than on paper, more like an animate sculpture than a silver-colored human.

I reckon the Surfer will emerge the favorite new character of 2007 at the MTV Movie Awards or comparable public poll. As someone who always thought the character was a cynical Poochiesque gimmick– after all, his surname is “Radd” — I’m simply compelled to credit Tim Story and especially Doug Jones for finally convincing me of the elemental dynamism of a character whose primary activity is striking poses.

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6 thoughts on “FANTASTIC FOUR: Rise of the Silver Surfer

  1. Ryan says:

    A friend said he hated Doom reappearing. Said it was really lame and annoying. What say you?

  2. Nobody says:

    It started out fine, then reverted to lame, but became good again. Better than his depiction in the first one at least. I don’t want to spoil anything but I really liked the bits that were taken from Fantastic Four #57-60.

  3. Beady Eyes Al says:

    “Poochieesque”. Nice. Robin is kind of the anti-poochie isn’t he? A later addition who is ultra-earnest and whose speech contains nary a whisper of contemporary billingsgate. Think how horrible it would be if Robin started doing funky handshakes and smirking adolescently. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

  4. Nobody says:

    That’s true. As much as I dislike Robin, he could still be so, so, so much lamer.

    By contrast, the “Teenage” “Mutant” “Ninja” “Turtles” were from the beginning Poochiesque by nature.

    Admittedly the Silver Surfer never spoke like the typical surfer dude but was the epitome of Stan Lee loquaciousness, perhaps rivaling Dr. Doom himself.

  5. Beady Eyes Al says:

    Yeah, that would just be peculiar if the Silver Surfer heralded the end of planets in a beach bum vernacular. I just watched the Star Trek episode ‘Space Seeds’, in which Khan makes his first appearance, and there’s a beaut of a Milton quote in there. Kirk could gab with the best of them too.

  6. Nobody says:

    I can imagine a truly “Hollywood” production meeting for FF2: “I know! Owen Wilson as the Silver Surfer! By the way, does he have to be silver?”

    Owen the Butterscotch Surfer: “It’s like everything you know is at an end, you know?” Actually that sounds more like The Dude Lebowski.

    Yeah, I saw that episode of Star Trek on BBC a couple months ago. I loved it when Kirk made that allusion without attribution (elitist of me, I know). Unfortunately they had to spell it out for the dummies at home, even in the 60s.

    If I recall correctly, Scottie acted like every good Scot knows his Milton as if he were his fellow countryman, which I thought was odd, but probably just an example of American conflation of Scotland and England.

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