Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) review: The downward spiral continues
And it only gets worse from here.
Despite 2005's Fantastic Four origin story being as awful as it was, a sequel still managed to get the green light. The first movie was lackluster with a bland storyline, bad acting, and messy character development. However, its 2007 sequel, The Rise of the Silver Surfer, promised the Fantastic Four’s showdown with two of the most iconic characters in Marvel's arsenal: Silver Surfer and Galactus.
What could go wrong? It turns out, a lot. When the star-studded Fantastic Four live-action cast assembled for a second time, things somehow got even worse. What happened? Let's take a look back at the movie that solidified Marvel's first family as its most depressing cinematic franchise.
Rise of the Silver Surfer was going to based on the famous story arch from the comics (Fantastic Four issues #48-50), The Galactus Trilogy.
In this three-part arc, the Fantastic Four must save the world from being consumed by the alien being Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds, while the Silver Surfer prepares to serve up Earth on a platter to his master. It’s an engrossing storyline that should translate well to the screen with plenty of thrills, action, and suspense. And since we’re past the pesky origin storyline, there should be ample room for real character development and exciting superheroics.
That’s what one might assume, anyway. Although considered a marginal improvement over the first movie (and that’s not saying much), the sequel was not well-received by audiences. And that's putting it nicely.
The movie opens with a series of ecological disturbances taking place around the world. We're immediately assured by Fox News that this is definitely NOT global warming. Gotta give the movie credit, it does give an accurate portrayal of the Fox we know today.
The local Fox broadcast immediately cuts away from Earth’s potential destruction to focus on the important news of the day. The wedding of Reed Richards and Susan Storm! Because Sue’s place settings are where the real story is at!
To Reed’s credit, he does try to examine the global disturbances, but Sue is not having it. No, she forbids him from trying to stop global annihilation until after their wedding. She’s been planning this for months, and none of this world-ending crap will ruin her special day!
The military even shows up (yes, that is Andre Braugher of Brooklyn Nine-Nine playing the general) to ask Reed personally to help them investigate the disturbances, but Reed says, “Sorry, guys, no can do. I’ve got a thing this weekend, but good luck solving the crisis!”
Sue must be one hell of a bridezilla if the end of the world is preferable to facing her wrath.
What kind of superheroes are these guys? Where are the priorities? Within the first thirty minutes, I’ve essentially watched an episode of Say Yes to the Dress.
But as Sue’s luck would have it, one of these disturbances occurs in New York, right smack dab in the middle of her wedding ceremony.
The Silver Surfer shows up as he’s preparing Earth to be Galactus’s next meal. Johnny tries to fight him, but to no avail.
And his encounter with the Surfer has left his molecules unstable which causes him to switch powers with Sue when she touches him. Which leads to this scene.
And, of course, this.
Because we can’t have a Fantastic Four movie without a naked Jessica Alba, can we?
The Fantastic Four then have to work with the military to track down the Surfer in London. Not only do they bungle the entire operation, but they cause unspeakable destruction. And while all this is happening, the four of them continually bicker with each other about whether the team is going to break up because Sue and Reed want to quit the team and live a life of suburban domesticity.
It’s so completely asinine that Andre Braugher, who is sitting there listening to this nonsense, exclaims (exact quote): “What the hell is wrong with you people?!”
Thank you, General. That is literally the most appropriate question to be asked in this entire movie.
The General determines that the Fantastic Four are so completely incompetent (and he’s right) that he needs to bring in some reinforcements. Which is an excellent idea! So, he brings in Dr. Doom, recently escaped from Latveria and fresh off a Siver Surfer encounter, to work with them. Wait, what?
Because Doom has already encountered the Surfer, the General decides it would be a great idea to bring him along to help save the world and let him operate without any kind of supervision. A guy named “Dr. Doom.”
Okay, General, I take back every nice thing I thought about you. You’re a dumbass, too. Why is everyone in this movie a goddamn idiot?
The Fantastic Four, Dr. Doom, and the military manage to track down and capture the Silver Surfer, believing that the threat is over.
And it doesn’t take long for Doom to doublecross everyone and steal the Surfer’s cosmic energy-infused surfboard.
He kills several military personnel, including the dumbass general.
Sorry, General, I can’t feel sorry for you. You trusted a guy named DR. DOOM. This was a completely predictable outcome.
Everyone soon realizes that the threat to Earth is far from over since the Surfer is merely the herald. Galactus is already on his way to chow down.
If you’ve ever seen Galactus in the comics, he’s a pretty imposing figure.
Intimidating, right? With all of the CGI and special effects out there, you would think Galactus would be an impressive presence on the big screen. Instead, we get this:
Yes, the all-powerful Devourer of Worlds has been reduced to a Lost smoke monster. He looks like a mutated version of that smoke-baby the Red Woman birthed on Game of Thrones.
The movie ends with the Silver Surfer sacrificing himself to destroy Galactus and the earth is saved.
I have no idea how this makes any sense since the Surfer was given his powers by Galactus and wouldn’t have a prayer of killing the god-like being, but hey, at least the movie’s finally ending.
Is the movie any better than its predecessor? Not by much. At least this time, the Fantastic Four aren’t the cause of mass destruction (usually), but they still come off as the laziest superheroes ever. They mostly use their powers for their own personal use (i.e., Johnny to get media sponsorships, Sue to hide a pimple, and Reed to steal luggage space on an airplane) and will use any excuse to avoid responsibility.
After watching this movie, I’m convinced that the Fantastic Four should just give up the superhero business and just wait for the Avengers to take over the job.
Don’t worry Chris Evans, only four more years until Captain America.
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