Reviewing Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

I never read comic books as a child. I didn’t have time. I was busy taking care of my siblings. Maybe that is why I now find myself enjoying Hollywood’s rash of movies over the last few years that have been based upon comic book characters.

While I think that movies have done justice to Spiderman, Superman, and the X Men, they have had some problems in other areas. Some of the Batman endeavors were pretty good, but Daredevil and Elektra fell flat. Unfortunately, the same can be said for the Fantastic Four. While the second one is definitely better than the first, that’s not saying much.

There is a reason why they are called the fantastic four as they have shaped the childhood of pretty much everybody in existence and has aroused the interest in children to give importance to reading, albeit from a comic book, but it has proved to be beneficial for providing the necessary entertainment to kids, something that even agen judi online does not give to the mature folks.

My son loved the Fantastic Four when he was growing up so I had a smidgen of knowledge about them. I know that he mentioned the Silver Surfer a time or two but I honestly didn’t know if he was a good guy or a bad guy. After watching the recently released DVD, I’m still not that sure that I know.

As this movie opens, we find that Von Doom isn’t dead, just hiding out in his homeland of Latveria. The Fantastic Four are feeling pretty good about ridding the world of his terror, not knowing that he is very likely to come back. Reed Richards and Sue Storm are planning their wedding and Sue is hoping for one day of privacy.

Of course, the chances of that happening are pretty much nil and none. Even with Von Doom on the back burner, so to speak, that doesn’t mean that the world is safe. Far from it as a matter of fact. Another evil genius – – Galactus – – has become tired of destroying other worlds and has set his eyes on earth. He has sent his hitman, the Silver Surfer, to destroy the world. As might be expected, somewhere along the line Von Doom also gets back into the act.

The Human Torch is the first of the Fantastic Four to encounter the Surfer. The results of their battle leave Johnny a bit out of control. And for once I’m not talking about his temper tantrums or typical self-centered point of view. It seems that contacts with the Surfer can alter an individual’s molecular chemistry, making it possible for them to trade places with the next person they touch. It also makes their powers go a little wonky.

I really didn’t care for the rather stupid humor involved with this aspect of the story. Somehow Johnny becoming The Thing just seemed like an unnecessary gimmick. But then, again, not being familiar with the comics perhaps it had some unknown meaning that I somehow missed.

This movie is packed with special effects and they are first-rate. But that is also the major problem with the movie. It relies too heavily on special effects and doesn’t spend enough time on the characters. For example, I left the movie not really understanding who or what the Silver Surfer was.

More than that, however, I still don’t have a feeling for who the Fantastic Four are as people; not just as saviors of the world. Consequently, it is hard to really care about what happens to them. For example, Sue as portrayed in the film just seems shallow. I wonder if that is why Jessica Alba’s performance is a little lackluster. I know this girl can act. She was excellent in her television series. But Alba as Sue Storm has no life, no fire, and no soul.

Even Michael Chiklis, an award winning actor with proven abilities in both drama and comedy, doesn’t shine through in this film. Although Ben seems to be more clearly defined than the other three, he still isn’t who or what I would expect from a hero.

Ion Gruffudd’s Reed Richards is certainly stoic and brave. He even shows moments of true leadership. Still, even he has no real depth of character. He seems almost one-dimensional.

Chris Evans, as Johnny Storm, is irritating, annoying, deflating, depressing, and disturbing. He is in no way, shape, or form heroic. For him, it seems that saving people is more about gaining attention for himself, rather than because he wants to save lives.

Although I’m a huge fan of Julian McMahon from his days on television’s Charmed and his ongoing role in TV’s Nip/Tuck, he seems a bit lost in the role of Von Doom. One minute he is overacting and the next he almost seems not to be there at all.

Although I thought the screenplay had some promise, I’m not certain that is was ever really fulfilled. And director, Tim Story, was unable to get the right kind of performances out of his actors.

Perhaps the intent all along was for the special effects to rule the movie. If that is so, then they succeeded. Unfortunately, that it is a poor choice because the viewers need to feel for the characters. I’m not sure we did and that is everybody’s loss.

Sorry, guys, I can only give this film two and one-half out of five stars. It is average all of the way.