After a delay in publishing because I forgot to finish a sentence before submitting my review, I finally fulfill my duty as a nerd and movie critic in bringing you, dear reader, my thoughts on the new Fantastic Four movie, Rise of the Silver Surfer.
In the interest of full disclosure, let me state for the record that I hated the first Fantastic Four movie. I had once attributed this possible hatred to my projecting issues in my life the day I saw it (i.e. a nasty breakup) onto the movie and this hated it unfairly. Then when this movie began play on HBO, I decided to give it a second chance. My final conclusion was that I would have rather found my ex, and had her dump me all over again than watch FF again. As this is not a review of that movie, I will not go into my VERY long rant about why exactly it represents to me everything that is wrong with the modern comic book movie, so just trust me when I say that it does.
Having said that, why would I willingly go see the sequel to said load of excrement? There are two reasons. One, I fricken love the Silver Surfer. And two, I’m in Cleveland this week doing comedy, and there’s really just nothing else to do. Other movies I have seen in Cleveland include School for Scoundrels, Employee of the Month, and The Benchwarmers.
Is Fantastic Four 2 better than the first one? Yes. But that isn’t saying much. I will admit my intense hatred of the first one did cloud my judgement a little. Especially because I was so annoyed at hearing director Tim Story’s comments in articles about the original movie being at a disadvantage because it had to focus on being an origin story. Really? ’cause Batman Begins spent well over an hour before Batman even appeared on screen, and still managed to be a really good movie. Spiderman dealt with the origins of Peter Parker with finesse and fun. It’s just a lame excuse, in my opinion, and doesn’t explain away the true weaknesses of the film.
So here you go Tim, here was a movie that had no character origins to develop, aside from a quick exposition on the Silver Surfer. Why then, is it still kind of dull? I don’t know what exactly it is about these two movies but I find myself never ever giving a crap what happens to any of the characters. The action sequences feel thrill-less and empty, and I still feel like Dr. Doom is being given the short end of the villain stick, and frankly, the attempt at making the obviously-of-latin-descent Jessica Alba look like a blonde-haired, blue-eyed WASP of a girl just makes her look creepy. The relationship scenes between Sue and Reed made me wish I could stretch myself down the hall and go watch Ocean’s 13 instead. About the only interactions between characters that didn’t make me want to slice my own ears off with my movie ticket was the banter between The Thing and Human Torch.
The Human Torch, AKA Johnny Storm, is given a little more of a conscience in this movie, although there never is really a logical reason for it to happen. Apparently it stems from a crush he develops on a character he speaks maybe three sentences to throughout the movie. The love interest exists, I believe, simply because it felt like a love interest should, but it never feels organic or even logical, leading to a payoff with little setup.
The one thing that part 2 does triumph over the original movie with, is it actually makes the team into heroes. In the first movie they never really save anyone but themselves, unless it’s someone they put in harms way (I’m looking at you, car accident-causing Thing.) In this movie, a threat is established early on and gives them something to actually fight, even if said fighting never amounts to much more than a glorified chase. But it is still better than spending the entire movie wondering how to get rid of your powers.
And finally there is one trend I would like to see end it’s run in these sort of movies, and I will put a SPOILER SPACE here to give you dear readers a chance to avoid even though I will attempt to be vague about it and not name any actual characters.
I am sick and tired of the fake death scene. Enough already. Stop it. Stop using that cheap attempt at shocking the audience by giving a character a fatal wound only to miraculously revive them only moments later. It’s not clever storytelling, it’s just cliche crap and it reeks of having no real respect for your audience. To me the shock of seeing characters die has completely faded because I never believe they are dead anymore. It’s just bad writing and in this case, totally unnecessary to the action of the moment.
Grade: C. A dull, bland grade is what this movie deserves.