Saturday, June 21, 2008

Movie Review: Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer

The Fantastic Four has always been kind of a B-List set of superheroes, although one suspects The Powers That Be at Marvel would like them to be A-List. At any rate, Marvel and Fox dropped a pretty good amount of money on two movies with this crew and came up with two pretty boring movies. Here, the end goal is pretty much the same as in the last one - all four members must learn to work together to stop Victor Von Doom (these names always work better on paper than on film).

The problem here is that Marvel has always treated the Fantastic Four as their superpowered window on the Nuclear Family, seeing what it is like for a group of mutants to live together as a family of sorts. And so here we get, essentially, a Hugh Grant movie with superheroes. Lame jokes, disrupted weddings, awkward bachelor parties, bickering friends who come together at the end - it's all there. It isn't done in any really interesting way - not even in the "wow look at that disaster" kind of way we got in Peter Parker's Dance Fever sequence in Spider-Man 3. It's just dull. And dull is one thing you cannot have in a superhero movie.

Oh, and does this group actually do anything during the movie? Nope, not really. The Invisible Woman actually sneaks into a room to see what Von Doom is doing - why doesn't she just turn invisible and spy on him? The Thing doesn't actually attack anyone here - only The Torch does once he obtains Grimm's powers. The subplot where The Torch is able to swap powers with the others is a typical cliche - a new superpower that shows up, is conveniently the one power needed to stop the bad guy, and then is immediately lost. Sigh - this movie really was just lazy in just about every facet.

Jessica Alba continues to be to acting what Jessica Alba is to nuclear science - someone who looks good but is otherwise out of her depth. Michael Chiklis and Julian McMahon, who actually can act, continue to be wasted. Only Chris Evans' Human Torch is given anything to do - of course, most of them are recycled jokes from Mystery Men. Oh, and I guess someone played Mr. Fantastic - I can't really remember much about him here for some reason.

I'm giving this one two stars, because it isn't really as bad as, say, Norbit. But compared to other recent superhero films, even lower-budget stuff like The Punisher, it's pretty much bottom of the barrel.

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