Marvel Movie Madness! Part 6: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Closing out the Fantastic week.

Enter Marvel Movie Madness, wherein Rotten Tomatoes watches all of the significant Marvel movies ever made. Full Marvel Movie Madness list here. Tune in! We give you our thoughts, and you give us yours.


Part 6: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007, 37% @ 166 reviews)
Directed by Tim Story, starring Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Chris Evans

Ryan: If you thought 2005's Fantastic Four was bad, then you probably won't be too surprised by anything in Rise of the Silver Surfer. But if you, like me, thought FF '05 was OK despite its flaws, then RotSS will irritate you. It will probably make you regret giving the first one a fair shake.

Rise of the Silver Surfer is, at first, relatively familiar. Ioan Gruffud still suffers from an unhideable accent, Jessica Alba is still nothing more than a pretty face, Michael Chiklis is still the archetypal "big softie," and Chris Evans again outshines his co-stars as the only properly cast character. The special effects are pretty solid, save for a bit of dodgy, of-its-time CGI in the form of the Silver Surfer, and the action pops a little bit, even if it's ultimately forgettable -- so, yeah, pretty much like the first installment.

The core problem (not the only one, mind you) with the movie is that it can't seem to decide if it wants to be a kid flick or something for older audiences. The writing is terribly simplistic and the humor is broad (extended stretchy dance number, anyone?), but it's intermixed with some sexual innuendo (how does The Thing, you know, "do it?") and winks at the audience that kids just wouldn't get. There's just not enough of either to skew the film one way or the other, so it ends up being half entertaining for adult moviegoers and half beffuddling for kids. The first movie had a bit of that, but this was a big step down, in my opinion.

Alex: You know how some movies blur, making you aware you're really just staring at a wall for two hours? This is one of them. Did anything of remote interest happen here? The first Fantastic Four edged itself between hokey and fun and came out on top, but everything here just toppled over at the slightest bit of drama. No good dialogue, Silver Surfer did nothing, and we see another Marvel superhero go to the dark side...by getting down on the dancefloor. How scandalous.

And, Jesus, I forgave Doctor Doom in the first movie, but this one? Julian McMahon looks barely fit to rule a Radio Shack. Hey, Fox: It's been a few years. Please sell the rights to Marvel Studios. Tony Stark needs to set up drone strikes in Latveria.

Wait...there is something about this movie I remember...

There were Ray Bans. I need Ray Bans. And Midway's fine video game, Hydro Thunder, available where Gillette razors are sold. And did you just say there's a to-scale fully functional Fantasticar replica for purchase?! Wait, hold up... This Fantasticar is not manufactured by Dodge and it doesn't have a Hemi as verbally endorsed by Mr. Fantastic and Human Torch? Well!! Good day, madam, I tip my top hat to you and bid farewell.


Ryan: Seriously! Morgan Spurlock even namechecks that exact scene as part of his inspiration for Greatest Movie Ever Sold. What's funny is, Johnny Storm enters a scene early on in the movie holding up a NASCAR-like bodysuit emblazoned with various logos, and the others poke fun at him for being a brand whore. Haha, so meta!

Oh, and Doom? I almost laughed out loud when he spoke his first lines from the shadows of his cloak. Julian McMahon's voice isn't really the type to make me reach for an extra pair of boxers; he sounds like someone I might hear complaining loudly at my bank.

Jeff: I'm so mad at you guys for making me watch this movie. Someone could have at least told me that you can pretty much skip the first hour without missing anything.

Alex: It's clear filming was compromised. Everything looks rushed. It shoots product placement out the ass non-stop. No wonder everybody walked away from this franchise.


Matt: This movie especially suffers if you've watched it right after the sitting through the 2005 movie. I watched both of them with a seven-year-old, and even he was getting bored with this movie.

What's really frustrating about this franchise is that the filmmakers seem to have read a CliffsNotes version of what's important to the Fantastic Four legacy, and then completely missed the point by making everything so bland that you just don't care what's happening. Doctor Doom, a wonderfully rich character in the comics comes off as merely slimy here. The Silver Surfer loses most of his nobility. Galactus is no longer a staggeringly powerful sentient being, but is now a mindless cloud of destruction; not to nerd out here, but one of the more interesting parts of the original comics plot was how Mr. Fantastic actually confronted Galactus. Even the idea of Johnny Storm using everyone's powers at once is a bastardization of an old story about the Fantastic Four faced with the challenge of an alien soldier (the Super-Skrull) that shares all of their abilities, and could change shape to boot.

I think the Fantastic Four could be made into a great movie franchise someday, and I can only hope that the rights to these characters fall back under the Marvel umbrella someday. Marvel may not have a perfect record, but they can't do anything worse to the Fantastic Four than what's already been done.

More Marvel Movie Madness:

Comments

Samuel C.

Samuel Cannon

well, i haven't seen this movie in a while, but from what i remember, looking back, the entire franchise was pretty terrible. Human Torch should have his own movie, that would have been better. But now he's playing Captain America, so that's a good thing.

May 20 - 02:05 AM

Odd E.

Odd Even

What I remember is that the Silver Surfer who is supposed to be weaker than Galactus defeated him on his own. And Galactus was a giant STORM! Yeah a giant storm!!!

Oh my here comes a hurricane.. we SUPERHEROES are going to DIE!!!!!!!!

May 20 - 10:31 AM

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

Never saw this one. And I'm ok with that. :)

May 20 - 02:21 AM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

Lucky bastard... I can't go a single day without something reminding me of this movie's awfulness.

May 20 - 12:34 PM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

Problem with non Marvel owned movies was that they decided to make all of them different. Some of them are somber and serious, then you have cliched love stories like Iron Man, then you have the idiotic jokey ones like F4s.
The F4 I always thought were trying to be campy and the old comic book kiddie train of thought, but they failed so miserably that it wasn't enjoyable at all.
I always wanted for Spiderman to be played like the Human Torch instead of Tobey Mcguire's emo-ness.

May 20 - 09:35 PM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

And somehow I put "cliched love stories" and then Iron Man lol I meant to put Spiderman. Damn it to being sleepy.

May 21 - 01:02 PM

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

Lol

May 21 - 01:27 AM

Eric M.

Eric McInnis

I'm ok I haven't seen the second one too. I mean I liked the original, but I heard the sequel's terrible, so yay me!

May 22 - 01:59 PM

CJ Calvin

CJ Calvin

Both films are terrible but this one really does sink to a lower level than the first with the super cheesy humor and the hokey "appearance" of Galactus. I'm really glad Chris Evans, whose solid in everything I've ever seen him in, will get to shine in what will hopefully be a good superhero flick with Captain America. The first FF movie was at best mediocre but this one makes the first look like a good movie. And Jessica Alba? Yes, she's beautiful. But the chick can't act and when I see her name attached to a movie or something now I try to avoid it. Maybe, hopefully, one day we'll have a fitting and truly epic Fantastic Four movie.

May 20 - 02:27 AM

Alan Smithee

Alan Smithee

"super cheesy humor." Um, the first one had PLENTY of that as well.

May 20 - 02:42 AM

Alan Smithee

Alan Smithee

"super cheesy humor." Um, the first one had PLENTY of that as well.

May 20 - 02:42 AM

worthwatching.biz

Worth Watching

It would be interesting if Darren Aronofsky were to take over FF. He could turn the franchise over to something good like Christopher Nolan did with Batman. Too bad Aronofsky had to drop out of the latest Wolverine installment.

May 20 - 03:35 AM

Alan Smithee

Alan Smithee

Aronofsky is not exactly the first director that pops into mind when talking FF. Wolverine on the other hand ... It's a shame they let him slip through the cracks on that one.

May 20 - 05:31 AM

Luke J.C.

Luke J.C.

People seem to not like these fantastic four movies. Maybe that's because in their fantasies superheroes are only about being cool, tough and threatening. That is a very adolescent approach to superheroes. Superheroes are just fantasy characters and it's okay to try anything with them. What I like about these fantastic four movies is their charm, their friendliness, their NOT-'i'm gonna kick your ass'-attitude. It's about sympathetic characters (which Ioan and Jessica embody perfectly), even family, joining wits and forces to face, in this case, the downfall of earth. I'm not claiming that this is what all movies should be like, but it has qualities that other superhero-movies lack.
And a dr. Doom who cleverly deceives the army and the ff, a world threatened by galactus, the mysterious silver surfer who might make or break the world and the ff who figure it all out, this is almost the most perfect fantastic four movie imaginable to me. The force-switching seemed a bit over the top, but eventually I can still accept it pretty easily. This is light and charming entertainment, and I like it for what it is, a lot.

May 20 - 03:42 AM

Murdoch

Murdoch +

I've never been much of a fan of the FF comics (more of a DC guy, really) But based on your post, i can tell you respect FF2 for being a different kind of movie that displayed a diff kind of Superhero dynamics . . . . . which would be great, except that non-fans like me felt that the dysfunctional family of superheroes was portrayed much better in movies like X1 & X2, Hellboy & even Watchmen. . . . . those movies all had their flaws, but the bonds that they depicted amongst its characters were unbreakable and relevant to the story .. . . . in terms of FF2: not only did i feel that the whole 'Reed & Sue are leaving the team' plot was totally lame (would mean an end to the movie franchise), i also didn't feel that the team were that important to uncovering the plot of Galactus, and of course, weren't the ones to finally stop him. . . . . Also, why in the hell would Galactus give the Surfer the power to wipe him out of existence was never really explored. . . . . I mean i know that a few years ago Silver surfer was ranked by wizard magazine as being the most powerful comic character alive (outranking even supes), but to pull that much power out of nowhere to end this great evil once and still survive just made him too much of a Deus ex machina.

May 20 - 07:02 AM

Captain Terror

Captain Terror

I don't disagree with you Luke, I think the just-for-fun approach is equally as valid as the Christopher Nolan approach. I'm the world's most avid defender of the Adam West Batman, so I get where you're coming from and I'd like to see more superhero films take this approach. Having said that, I don't think the FF films were a success at it. The intentions were probably there, but the execution was weak, from my perspective. West's Batman was "smart-silly" while FF was "lazy-silly" if that makes sense.

May 20 - 08:54 AM

algreen99

AL Green

I dont know Luke, I dont see anything sympathetic about Jessica Alba complaining about marriage. Also, movies like this-the kids are already engaged anyways. There is no need to try to be *adolescent*. Just give us a decent script that is not meant for 3rd graders and it might stand the test of time. The movie is just bad period up and down the line. I for one fall in the middle of Nolans approach and The FF approach. Nolan can never have Clay face or Mr Freeze in his movies because he is crippled by his *realistic* take. Some of Batmans best villains are fantastical. The FF series, well even my 10 year old niece thought it was corny when she watched it for the first time earlier this year. A good balance with a tight script is what most of us are looking for.

May 20 - 09:01 AM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

No Luke, that is not the way of the FOURs...

May 20 - 12:36 PM

Sharukh K.

Sharukh Khan

Fantastic Article. Hulk is superb film

May 20 - 04:53 AM

DodgeyDude

Roger Gregory

Are you trying to be ironic? They're discussing The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, here.

I actually liked both FF movies. They were never supposed to be taken seriously, they were just fun and entertaining. People take entertainment far too bloody seriously lately. It's entertainment! It's not supposed to life changing, it's supposed to entertain you and help you escape your own problems and worries for a couple of hours, which these films did. Jessica Alba was bloody awful, though, lol. Chris Evans was always the best thing about these movies, and I for one am looking forward to Captain America. Why it can't be called Captain America outside of America is beyond me. I live in the U.K. and to me this should be called Captain America in large bold print. What's the big deal?

Okay, rant over. I leave you to your thoughts.

May 20 - 05:21 AM

manwithoutfear19

Daniel Raimondi

this one was slightly better

May 20 - 06:47 AM

Murdoch

Murdoch +

I think i can answer that one: Since Cpt America is supposed to be a prequel to Avengers, they want to play up its connection to THAT movie rather than give the intl audience the idea that this is one of "those" superheores the Americans made to congratulate themselves for being masters of WWII. Personally, i think its a pretty good idea, especially since it doesn't exactly change the movie itself, just the way in which it is marketed . . . . In a similar case, the ice cube movie XXX: state of the union was released overseas as XXX: The next level.

May 20 - 06:51 AM

algreen99

AL Green

Dodgey, when the aim of a movie is suppose to be lighthearted and fun - that doesnt automatically make it good. No one here would be saying the movie was bad if they loved it. But damn the movie was awful.

May 20 - 09:06 AM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

My mother always told me to never trust anyone who doesn't know what "Irony" means.

May 20 - 12:38 PM

Simply Cinema

Anders Gatten

I'm not asking for this movie not to change my life, I'm asking for it to not ruin it. You have to admit, when the bad guy is a cloud, its time to leave the theatre.

May 21 - 05:50 AM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

Hahahaha

May 21 - 05:00 PM

Michael M.

Michael McCann

The Fantastic Four movies had the material be great, but unfortunately it was not given the same opportunities that other Marvel properties have had, i.e. good direction, writing, acting.

May 20 - 05:06 AM

DodgeyDude

Roger Gregory

Are you trying to be ironic? They're discussing The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, here.

I actually liked both FF movies. They were never supposed to be taken seriously, they were just fun and entertaining. People take entertainment far too bloody seriously lately. It's entertainment! It's not supposed to life changing, it's supposed to entertain you and help you escape your own problems and worries for a couple of hours, which these films did. Jessica Alba was bloody awful, though, lol. Chris Evans was always the best thing about these movies, and I for one am looking forward to Captain America. Why it can't be called Captain America outside of America is beyond me. I live in the U.K. and to me this should be called Captain America in large bold print. What's the big deal?

Okay, rant over. I leave you to your thoughts.

May 20 - 05:21 AM

manwithoutfear19

Daniel Raimondi

this one was slightly better

May 20 - 06:47 AM

Murdoch

Murdoch +

I think i can answer that one: Since Cpt America is supposed to be a prequel to Avengers, they want to play up its connection to THAT movie rather than give the intl audience the idea that this is one of "those" superheores the Americans made to congratulate themselves for being masters of WWII. Personally, i think its a pretty good idea, especially since it doesn't exactly change the movie itself, just the way in which it is marketed . . . . In a similar case, the ice cube movie XXX: state of the union was released overseas as XXX: The next level.

May 20 - 06:51 AM

algreen99

AL Green

Dodgey, when the aim of a movie is suppose to be lighthearted and fun - that doesnt automatically make it good. No one here would be saying the movie was bad if they loved it. But damn the movie was awful.

May 20 - 09:06 AM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

My mother always told me to never trust anyone who doesn't know what "Irony" means.

May 20 - 12:38 PM

Simply Cinema

Anders Gatten

I'm not asking for this movie not to change my life, I'm asking for it to not ruin it. You have to admit, when the bad guy is a cloud, its time to leave the theatre.

May 21 - 05:50 AM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

Hahahaha

May 21 - 05:00 PM

Captain Terror

Captain Terror

I seem to be in the minority regarding Evans. In the comics I always felt that Torch was arrogant and brash (a "hothead", if you will), but in a likable way. I found Evans to be obnoxious and annoying, in an unlikable way.

As for the film itself, I don't remember enough of it to comment, which IS a comment in a way, I guess.

May 20 - 05:30 AM

Yarnek

Yarnek The Excalbian

I also found Evans to be over-the-top obnoxious in the FF movies, not that playing it more straight would have saved them. I hope he's more serious as CA. Looks like he's been working out...

May 21 - 03:44 PM

Yarnek

Yarnek The Excalbian

I also found Evans to be over-the-top obnoxious in the FF movies, not that playing it more straight would have saved them. I hope he's more serious as CA. Looks like he's been working out...

May 21 - 03:45 PM

Alan Smithee

Alan Smithee

Aronofsky is not exactly the first director that pops into mind when talking FF. Wolverine on the other hand ... It's a shame they let him slip through the cracks on that one.

May 20 - 05:31 AM

Henrold

Henry Owens

I hated this movie so much. One of the only films i've actually walked out on.

May 20 - 06:01 AM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

I had the good fortune to really despise the first one, so I didn't even watch the second in cinemas. However, I made up for that by watching TF:RotF on opening day. Walked out 20 minutes in.

May 20 - 12:39 PM

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