In following its predecessor, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer has one very big challenge to overcome – the first Fantastic Four movie was total rubbish. Sure, there were moments of enjoyment to be had, but the lack of plot, script and even common sense left it bereft. Can the addition of the androgynous Silver Surfer make the difference?
Disappointingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, Rise of the Silver Surfer continues this franchise with much the same. Reed Richards, Sue and Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm all return for more of their unconvincing camaraderie and ‘shock horror’ outrage when confronted by the latest threat to world peace – the upcoming wedding of Reed and Sue. It seems that every time they try to set a time to tie the knot, some disaster intervenes. Whatever will our heroes do? Ben is happy enough now as the man of rock, and Johnny has taken to the life of superstar superhero with aplomb. But poor Sue, she just can’t reconcile her life as The Invisible Woman with that of wife and homemaker. That the character audiences are most likely to empathise with is the anodised alien is an indictment on these four.
That Susan Storm is reduced to such a pathetic character is a shame, as there isn’t much else in the field of character development to go on with. Johnny must learn to be a team player, and Reed must learn what, exactly? To listen to his nagging wife? When so much has been achieved in other recent comic book adaptations – particularly in the struggling with the work/life balance question in Spider-Man 2, or in the ‘roots’ story of Batman Begins – the vague and meaningless fluff that is offered here is just embarrassing.
Which would be fine if the action itself were enjoyable, and occasionally it is. The chase scene between the Silver Surfer and Human Torch is the best of the film, but is spoilt by its use in the trailer. Otherwise, fights come and go, and leaps of logic allowing the success of the heroes are taken such that one can never be sure just how or why they have won. There is no internal science at play… pseudoscientific gobbledegook is spat out (by Richards usually) in an attempt to pretend at some sort of sensible progression, but these jumps are often ridiculous and usually without basis in any available evidence.
The film generally looks ok, but has frequent moments of horrible CGI that take one out of the experience with a shudder. Lacking any coherence in plot and filled with banality in script, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer should only be seen by the very desperate.Rating: