Yes, it’s still Saturday where I am, and where the server is.

Cast and Crew

Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards
Jessica Alba as Sue Storm
Chris Evans as Johnny Storm
Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm
Julian McMahon as Victor Von Doom
Laurence Fishburne and Doug Jones as the voice and body of the Silver Surfer

Complete information is available from this IMDB page.

Past movie reviews can be found here.

Synopsis

The latest wedding attempt by Sue and Reed is interrupted by the arrival of a herald from another world, whose arrival seems to bring on the end of any planet he visits.

High Point

They finally found at least one writer who understands Reed. His multitasking, inventing, and adaptability (particularly in London) all shine through. My biggest irritation from the first film was fixed this time around.

Low Point

I can deal with using Gah Lak Tus instead of Galactus, and even with the Hemi. What irks me is the host of issues with the mechanics of a plot point so critical it can only be discussed under spoiler guard (highlight to read): The mechanics of power switching seem to be quite flawed. Not only is it hard to imagine that there would have been no physical contact during the moments not shown on screen, but it’s not handled consistently. Why didn’t Sue start powerswitching after her prolonged exposure? Why was Johnny able to absorb multiple abilities instead of simply switching a lot? Why didn’t he switch with Doom? The answer I strongly suspect: the power switching was introduced because the writer(s) felt sure a Super Skrull movie would never be greenlit, and this was the next best thing. Until such a time as that piece fit in the film, they just ran with the concept for comedy. End spoiler guard.

The Review

It’s not very original. It’s a sequel to an adaptation. In fact, the only aspect that sets it apart from the first film is the feeling that this one was actually researched. In fact, there are moments taken directly from issues 48-50 and 57-58, as well as a direct use of Stan Lee’s cameo in Annual #3. Actually drawing from the source material so effectively is a first for this series, though. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects (apart from the Milky Way, which was clearly a 2D rendering on the interior of a sphere that wasn’t large enough) were very good. The Surfer himself, as well as the energy he projects, look great. In fact, with this many effects, and with only one short and unimportant effect to gripe about, I can’t justify giving it less than 6 out of 6.

The story covers the core plot well, with the greatest moments of weakness in some of the forced comedy. (You thought Spider-Man’s dancing was irritating? You ain’t seen nothing yet.) Marvel’s first family has always been family friendly, but there’s a difference between “family friendly” and “nonfamily unfriendly.” It feels as though Fox demanded a certain comedy quota, and didn’t care how funny the jokes were as long as the film had a lot of them. This, and the portion blacked out in the Low Point above, force me to give it 3 out of 6.

The acting was generally improved. Reed and Sue were now both acted and written as they are in the comics. Doom isn’t quite there, but I suspect that’s because Julian McMahon simply doesn’t have the menacing screen presence the character needs. Most importantly, the Silver Surfer himself not only acts correctly, but is fundamentally unchanged from the comics, right down to his origin. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was good, although this may have been because I had exceedingly low expectations going in. This is not Shakespeare by any means, but unlike some comic book “adaptations,” it never pretends to be. Rather, this is a fun ride that adapts most comic aspects well, and which hit acceptable goals that it set low enough to be practical. While the comedy had forced moments, some of the moments genuinely work well. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production was tight. The editing was smooth, the score did its job well, and the cinematography created in the real world and in the digital realm was well composed. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is a fun movie, delivering action that you can take the kids to. Just make sure you don’t pay too much attention to the story, or it’ll start to fall apart. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer receives 32 out of 42.