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Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Reviewed by Alan J. Porter, © 2007

Format: Movie
By:   Tim Story (director)
Genre:   Comic book movie
Released:   June 2007
Review Date:   June 25, 2007
Audience Rating:   PG-13
RevSF Rating:   8/10 (What Is This?)

I'll raise my hand and freely admit that I was one of the few people who actually seemed to enjoy the 2005 screen debut of Marvel Comics' first family.

Sure, the script wasn't the best. And the effeminate Doctor Doom would hardly rank on any list of the movie's greatest screen villains; but overall I found it to be a fun movie.

With this in mind I knew that the sequel, with the same director and cast, would probably play along the same lines. I walked in expecting a fun popcorn movie, and that's what I got. Of course we also got THE SILVER SURFER.

And he looked, to quote Johnny Storm, "Cool."

Several years ago I was lucky enough to get to read the script of the aborted Surfer movie, and as much as liked the script all I could think about was that it would end up as a TV movie with a guy in a silver suit stood on a spray-painted surfboard.

Now thanks to CGI, the body of Doug Jones, and the voice of Laurence Fishburne, we get a Surfer that can truly soar. In many ways it's a shame that the Surfer was used so extensively in the trailers and promotional images as it lessened the impact of his first on-screen appearance.

It would have been really effective for the audience to experience its first look at the cosmic rider at the same time as the Human Torch did.

Once again the plot had some, in this case literal, massive holes. While the reappearance of Doom made sense from a character motivation part, couldn't they have found an actor who knows how to look menacing and can project at least some aura of threat and power?

Putting Doom aside (and I wish they had), the rest of the cast seemed to have settled into their roles. The bickering, joking, yet protective family aspect seeming more natural this time around.

The only moment that made me cringe was the mandatory Stan Lee cameo. It used to be that his cameos in various Marvel movies were subtle nods of recognitions to the fans who knew who he was. The "Hey I'm Stan Lee" scene in the Surfer movie was a little embarrassing to watch.

Notice I said "Surfer movie"? Sure it featured Four other Fantastic characters, but to be honest they played second string to The Surfer.

The FF didn't even get their name spelt out in the opening titles, just the words "Rise of The Silver Surfer" over a 4 logo. Just to reinforce whose movie this really was. And who was the only character to appear in the surprise postscript scene during the end credits? Yep: the Silver dude.

No matter how you look at it, this was an obvious attempt to set the stage for a new franchise. Rumors have already started to circulate about possible directors, writers and tone for the first Silver Surfer solo outing. And I'll be along for the ride.

As for FF3? Only if they can Doom and give the quartet something constructive to do.

Alan J. Porter is RevolutionSF's comics herald.

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