Image courtesy of www.impawards.com
Ioan Gruffudd .Reed Richards
Jessica Alba .Sue Storm
Chris Evans .Johnny Storm
Michael Chiklis .Ben Grimm
Julian McMahon ..Victor Von Doom
Laurence Fishburne .Silver Surfer (Voice)
Doug Jones .Silver Surfer
In many ways, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer resembles Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace. It looks good, features a number of good moments and top notch action sequences, but ultimately doesn’t have any meat inside.
The sequel to Fantastic Four finds the four facing off against their toughest villain yet: The Silver Surfer (Doug Jones, voiced by Laurence Fishburne), an intergalactic herald whose presence spells doom for those involved. Featuring the return of Dr. Doom (Julian McMahon), the four have issues with one another to deal with on top of having to save the world. Buoyed by two terrific action sequences, including a terrific chase sequence involving Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) and the Surfer through the streets and subways of New York, the film shares a lot in common with the first film of the franchise; ultimately none of the similarities are good, though.
The film’s main flaw is that it suffers from the fatal flaw of the first, which is trying to fit a larger first act into a 90 minute film than what is required, leaving little room for the middle and final acts. Tim Story is obviously going for a longer film with the material he’s provided, but as soon as the first act is over the film rushes quickly to its predictable finale. Story spends so much time developing subplots that when it comes time for the big action-filled fight that it feels rushed. The potential for the film is much stronger in a second entry as opposed to a first, as most origin stories in the genre are limited as to how good they can be, so it’s even more disappointing that the mistakes of the first are repeated wholesale the second time around. It’s as if Story was so focused on creating bookend action sequences that the rest of the film was haphazardly put together.
It doesn’t help that the cast somehow manages to be even worse this time before. Jessica Alba stands out more than usual, as she’s that bad. Ioan Gruffudd matches her, wooden line reading to wooden line reading, as the sort of romance one expects from them is woefully lacking. Chris Evans looks the part of Johnny Storm, but somehow seems disinterested when he isn’t doing an action sequence. Even Michael Chiklis, stuck in an orange rock suit for most of the proceedings, is relegated the sidelines as Alba and Gruffudd are given the bulk of the film’s screen time. Evans, the only one with what could be considered a character arc, isn’t given much time when he’s clearly one of the film’s highlights. The same could be said for Julian McMahon, who finally crosses the gap from being a suave sophisticate to being a suave super villain quite well.
The film’s trademark is its action, which look well and tend to overshadow the film’s low points effectively enough on occasion. This isn’t a superhero film that will be known for its story, it’s that flimsy, but the detail put into the chase sequences overshadow everything in the same way the pod race overshadows almost everything about the film. Story has crafted a good product but not a good film. The Fantastic Four deserve better than this.
FINAL RATING (ON A SCALE OF 1-5 BUCKETS):