Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) Movie Review

I recall the day I was in a Louisiana movie theater with my father watching the first Fantastic 4 film. We enjoyed most of the special effects and Blaze’s jokes. The plot was fairly nice and the dialogue wasn’t entirely bad all the time. The Thing’s drama was played very well. The movie was still garbage, however.

When I learned that a sequel was being made I nearly cringed. This may be the best example yet of Hollywood making a sequel to a movie that is not good just because it made money. Perhaps the upcoming Punisher sequel will top F4’s creation if it ever has a script that is approved. Later on I learned that this F4 sequel would involve the Silver Surfer. Things looked up. I did not know a lot about the character, but the ambiguity behind his being was intriguing to me, and when I saw the trailer of the Surfer being chased down by the Human Torch and eventually bringing him into Earth’s upper atomosphere, everything looked up for me. Maybe this sequel would be better than the first film. Whether it be by margins or by leaps, maybe RotSS would be one of those rare sequels that is better than its predecessor. I did not keep my hopes high since I knew the director was the same.

Even though I walked into Oahu’s major movie theater with relatively low expectations, I was still heavily disappointed.

Since the first film highlighted all of the poor casting and horrible acting and terrible dialogue, I feel like I may safely skip its details. The only thing that should be said about it is that the first film had better traits. In fact the only thing that made the cast in RotSS somewhat decent was Doug Jones as the Silver Surfer. He played the character brilliantly and all he needed to do was stand, make some fancy twirls, and move his lips. Lawrence Fishburne as the voice, however, was distracting and unnecessary.

The CGI in F4 was hit or miss for the most part. Making a single judgment is difficult because the Human Torch had decent effects, Mr. Fantastic had awful effects, and most of the lightning and generic effects looked better than any effects related to the superhero family. In this hyped sequel, Mr. Fantastic has even worse effects if it is even possible. The saving grace for the CGI team is Norrin Radd, the Silver Surfer. He looked exactly how a person should envision him. It was like looking at an even sleeker and more reflective version of T-1000. To do an even better job would be to find the Silver Surfer in reality and have him play himself. The only drawback to that is that we wouldn’t be able to watch the film if the man himself showed up to act. I’ll leave it to you readers to figure out why.

Aside from all of the miscasts, bad acting, corny dialogue, and family-oriented behavior of the script and plot, what else was bad about this movie? There are honestly too many to list if there aren’t too many to remember. Instead of boring you with a long description and list of the various flaws in the film, I will do a rough dissection of one particular segment somewhere in the middle of the movie.

The US military is intent on catching the Silver Surfer so they can interrogate him about the strange occurences he caused. Cue Jessica Alba as the Invisible Woman and her low-cut outfit behind Mr. Fantastic. One of her seductive lines inspires her fiance and he subsequently blurts, “That’s it! A pulse! Tachyons!” The scientist proceeds to build a four-piece device in a single weekend which is capable of disrupting the power in the Surfer’s board, causing the man to fall off of it. According to a supporting military character, this is comparable to “a fish in a net.” That is the explanation we receive for how this device was conceived, built, and will presumably operate. I can only assume they wrote this in with the assumption that the vast majority of its viewers do not know what a tachyon is. In fact, the human race knows so little about this particle that I can lecture you on it in a single paragraph.

A tachyon is a theoretical particle in quantum physics which is currently not proven to exist. There is evidence, but it is highly debateable and is not enough to prove that any particle of the sort exists. Tachyons, according to theory, move faster than the speed of light and may be the only thing in existence that is capable of doing so. Due to the laws of physics, a tachyon is unable to slow its speed to under the speed of light. We cannot detect a tachyon, and because there is no evidence of them existing, we certainly cannot build a machine which makes them, much less does anything with them.

This is the concept RotSS is built upon. No explanations, just lots of fancy terminology thrown in to make everything sound smart. Add to this the almighty cumulonimbus that is Galactus and a quickly crumbling Silver Surfer subplot, mix in an arbitrary pinch of Dr. Doom, then stir well with a spoon (there is no spoon, actually), and you have… well you have those ingredients. The moral of the movie is that well all have a choice. If director Tim Story followed through with this moral, maybe we would have ended up with a better movie.

Tim Story (director) / Don Payne, Mark Frost, John Turman (screenplay)
CAST: Ioan Gruffudd … Reed Richards
Jessica Alba … Sue Storm
Chris Evans … Johnny Storm
Michael Chiklis … Ben Grimm
Julian McMahon … Victor Von Doom
Kerry Washington … Alicia Masters
Andre Braugher … General Hager
Laurence Fishburne … The Silver Surfer (voice)
Doug Jones … The Silver Surfer
Beau Garrett … Captain Raye

Buy Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer on DVD