Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) mini review

based on a comic

The quintessential crimefighting quartet is back; this time, they're not just trying to stop a supervillain; they're trying to save the world. In this second film, we are introduced to the Silver Surfer (played by Doug Jones - Hellboy, Men in Black II, Monkeybone, Mystery Men, Tank Girl, Batman Returns; voiced by Laurence Fishburne - TMNT). Who is this mysterious visitor? Why is he here? How'd he get so shiny?

The writing was good, the effects were amazing, the action was great - all in the first half of the film. FF2 peaks about halfway through, and at this point it's better than its predecessor. Unfortunately, about the time the Fantastic Four finally begin to uncover the mystery, the film, like the dead worlds that Galactus leaves behind, just seems to go cold. I hadn't seen the original Fantastic Four since it was in theaters, so I rented it the afternoon before I went to see the sequel and was surprised at how much more I liked it.

Ironically, in a film where superpowers are caused by cosmic storms, I think there was a lot that stretched believability. You can only willfully suspend disbelief so far. I don't want to get too spoilerish, so I won't go into detail on everything that bothered me. I'll just use one example - the heavy-handed product placement. "Dear, however will we get out of this predicament?" "Why, my Dodge Fantasticar will save us - and, yeah, it's got a Hemi."

That's really just the tip of the iceberg. There's enough stuff in the second half of the film that seems forced that makes me feel like the writing time was spent on the first half of the screenplay, and the second half was rushed. Which is sad, because several of the writers seem to have comic book experience - Don Payne (My Super Ex-Girlfriend), John Turman (Hulk, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven (television series)).

See it if you're a Fantastic Four fan, or you enjoyed the first one (or maybe if you didn't like the first one - it seems like everyone else likes this one better).

Don't see it if you're not really into Fantastic Four or don't care about the cool Surfer special effects - there probably won't be enough in here to keep your attention.

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