Yep, changing up the ol’ formula by reviewing a sequel just after reviewing the original. I swear to God, these ideas just come to me…
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
The story is as follows: Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) and Sue Storm (Jessica Alba) are struggling to balance their new-found celebrity status and their personal life, trying to tie the knot for the fourth time without any interruptions. Ben Grimm aka The Thing (Michael Chiklis) is still with his blind girlfriend Alicia and Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) is still living the life of a playboy. However, when a strange cosmic being nicknamed The Silver Surfer (voiced by Laurence Fishburne) starts fucking up the weather and heralding the end of the World, the Four step in to prove that they deserve their “fantastic” prefix. To be honest, the plot isn’t great. Instead of focusing on a new baddie for the Four to square off against, they have a sort-of baddie in the form of The Silver Surfer, a huge destructive force in the form of the (thankfully not pink) transplanetary ponce Galactus and (sigh) Dr. Doom from the first one. It’s just needlessly clogged. The whole wedding drama element proved that I can find even superpowered nuptials boring. My notes on the casting still ring true, although this time round they somehow managed to make Jessica Alba look like she belongs in White Chicks. The only notable addition is the Silver Surfer himself, who is brilliantly realised by Doug Jones’s physicality and Laurence Fishburne’s booming voice.
There’s something about Rise of the Silver Surfer I just don’t like. I think it’s mainly to do with the fact it isn’t as fun as the first. The few things they got right in Fantastic Four are changed for the sequel. This is particularly true in the case of Johnny Storm, whose lines are nowhere near as good as in the first one and veers into annoying comic relief territory. They also tack on some bullshit “settling down” notion for Johnny to deal with which makes things needlessly stodgy. The power switching thing is also rubbish and you’d have to be thicker than a walrus casserole to not guess how it’s all resolved.
Another thing that shreds my petunias is the fact that they make Sue the “emotional heart” of the film, with the majority of scenes not containing shit blowing up dedicated to Alba doing her best acting face whilst interacting with the Silver Surfer. It’s the same thing X-Men: The Last Stand did, and we all know how that turned out. It’s very patronising to make the only female in a group deal with all the emotional stuff. You’d have thought both Marvel and Fox would have wanted to stay as far away from the piece of X-Shite as possible.
Rise of the Silver Surfer isn’t all bad. The action is alright and there are snatches of enjoyment to be had here and there (The London Eye sequence is entertaining despite some ropey CGI) but there’s a feeling of wasted potential that brought the whole thing down for me. A sequel was a chance to fix the faults of the first and capitalise on its successes, but all it does is make new mistakes in addition to the old ones. In summary, if the first film was an average, but perfectly nice cheese sandwich, Rise of the Silver Surfer’s sandwich looks very much like the first but when you take a bite, you realise the cheese has been replaced by your own hand.