Saturday, June 16, 2007

Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Huge improvement. Rise of the Silver Surfer continues Marvel’s streak of making sequels that surpass the original. Unfortunately, it also continues another streak: putting silly dance numbers in Marvel superhero movies. That streak now stands at an obnoxious two in a row (see my review of Spiderman 3). When comparing this film to the first, there is hardly a comparison. The humor is funnier, the writing more coherent, and the subplots more relevant and integral. However, when comparing this movie to any other movie, I can see why many critics will pan it. The movie’s themes are cliché and progress in a formulaic fashion that leaves their conclusions predictable and boring. Rise of the Silver Surfer is slow to start which is detrimental to a movie that is only an hour and a half to begin with. I’m pretty sure the average Fantastic Four audience is not interested in how difficult it is for Reed and Susan to plan a wedding. The exposition kick-starts the age old theme can also be found in every other comic book movie ever made: “Can we ever live a normal life?” And the character development does not get any more ground breaking than that. Fantastic Four shows its audience nothing new or innovative in the way of plot or special effects. The movie’s bright spot is its humor. Director Tim Story’s experience with comedy films (Barbershop, Taxi) shines through in his approach to Fantastic Four. At least Fantastic Four never takes itself seriously, and it doesn’t expect you to either. At every point in the plot where the action or drama seems too tense, a wise crack shows up just in time to bring the mood back to where it should be. However, sometimes the humor can seem to be forced and out of place. Fantastic Four never pretends to be anything other than a mindless special effects display so keep that in mind when buying your tickets. By the way, I have to say that casting Laurence Fishburne as the voice of the Silver Surfer was a brilliant move.

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