NEW: 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer

July 16, 2016

4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

Main Cast: Ioan Gruffudd (Reed Richards), Chris Evans (Johnny Storm), Jessica Alba (Susan Storm), Michael Chiklis (Ben Grimm), Julian McMahon (Dr. Doom), Doug Jones (The Silver Surfer) and Lawrence Fishbourne (Voice of the Silver Surfer)

Writers: Don Payne and Mark Frost

Director: Tim Story

Company: 20th Century Fox

Duration: 88m

Rating: *** 

Availability: Amazon

Adapting possibly the most famous Fantastic Four storyline of all, the Galactus trilogy, Rise of the Silver Surfer attempts to do it all in less than 90 minutes, with no Watcher, Galactus as a non-speaking cloud, and a budget of just $120 million, which is nowhere near enough to really do it all justice.

However, when you're able to watch the film on its own terms, with the knowledge that Galactus only appears as a non-speaking brief image in the cloud, then it can be more enjoyable. Removed from the sense of growing disappointment, the film can be appreciated as improving on the chemistry of the first, and toning down - largely - the broad, silly humour.  It's certainly not without faults, and the exposition gets so bad that at one point the Silver Surfer has to turn himself into a Tellytubbie, but it's far better than I originally thought, when I rated it 2/5 on its release.

There's the distractions, like the four not really being directly involved in the plot resolution, and the Surfer not being the philosophical character he was in the comics, which kind of takes away the whole point. Even the fact that Alba has been given blue contact lenses to wear can be mildly annoying, as it makes no sense after the first movie where she had her natural brown. There's also odd tonal choices in a film so family friendly, with Sue talking about Doom "pissing her off" and taking a stake through the chest.

But if Rise of the Silver Surfer doesn't have the will or the budget to show the best of its source matter, it's still a decent enough flick, and arguably the best Fantastic Four movie to date. You get to see Doctor Doom usurp the Surfer's power, Johnny as a kind of Super Skrull, and an attempt, if nothing else, to bring Galactus to the big screen. The problem is, these elements were there to comment on the human condition in the comics, but on screen they have nothing to say.

The film grossed less than its predecessor on a slightly improved budget, taking in $289 million on a $130 million investment. As a result, despite the stars being in a three-film contract, a third movie was never made, and the rights to the Fantastic Four were on the verge of reverting back to Marvel before a 2015 movie was made with a completely different cast. Of the 2005/2007 cast, then Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis and Julian McMahon reprised their characters in a September 2008 episode of Robot Chicken. After waiting a few years for the franchise to be brought back, Evans starred as Captain America in 2011, a character who went on to have three successful movies and, to dates, two appearances in high-grossing Avengers movies. Chiklis also had future roles in the superhero genre with a role in the TV series Gotham, while Alba appeared in the graphic novel adaptation Sin City and its sequel. Ioan Gruffudd voiced characters in DC video games and TV shows, while Julian McMahon, though not appearing in a superhero series or film, appeared in a TV adaptation of the science fiction novel Childhood’s End.

In all, these two Fantastic Four movies weren't great movies, and they lack a real sense of purpose, but they're probably a little better than some sources, including this website, once told you they were.

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