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FF2 Rises to the Occasion

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer montage

I’m going to tell you something not many reviewers would admit to: I went into Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer fully expecting to hate it. It’s impossible not to have preconceived notions about films when you go to see them, and no amount of Jedi mind tricks aimed at clearing your head will work to erase those thoughts. Sure, things can change once the movie gets going – for better or for worse – but you have an idea of what you think is coming. I’m as surprised as anybody that Rise of the Silver Surfer turned out as well as it did.

Now I didn’t hate the last Fantastic Four movie. I didn’t like it, but I didn’t hate it. The last one was simple to the point of stupid and I found it odd that every single plot point in the movie was conveniently diagramed with a flow chart, or in some cases labeled with what looked like crayon. At its core the first Fantastic Four movie wasn’t a complete insult to the audience or a bloated bastardization of everything that makes a character special. In other words it wasn’t The Punisher, Spider-Man 3 or Superman Returns. I hated those movies…FF was just lame.

Rise of the Silver Surfer starts out with a scene in an airport that had my eyes rolling. You will ask yourself, “Why is the Fantastic Four on a commercial flight in a crowded airport?” Hell, even the members of the Fantastic Four seem to be confused by this turn of events. I was positive that this was a bad sign of gags to come, but it was just a stumble out of the gate to be followed by a lot of really cool stuff.

It’s difficult to explain the plot of this movie. This isn’t because the plot is complicated (quite the opposite actually) but because I feel like if you read a synopsis and saw some of what happens (like the Fantastic Four being able to exchange powers) you’d decide that this flick must indeed suck. Seriously, if I just sat and explained the plot to you, you’d ask if I tried to get my money back when the show was over. But actually watching the movie was a totally different experience. It was genuinely fun and looked great.

The best parts of the movie are for sure the scenes with the Silver Surfer and the Fantastic Four using their powers. The effects are excellent. The jokes between characters are also good and lighthearted, and shockingly they managed to pull off the difficult task of making the drama work as well. The actors really hold it down in this one, especially Chris Evans who plays the Human Torch. And a special nod goes out to Michael Chiklis, who took time out from starring on the greatest TV show in history, The Shield, to produce a fine turn as Ben Grimm.

On the other hand, the Dodge product placement is beyond intrusive, characters constantly travel huge distances in very short periods of time, and you’ve already seen a lot of the best special effects in the trailer. I’m not even gonna get into the Galactus thing other than to say that I find it very strange that the movie studio protested so much when word leaked that Galactus was a storm cloud and not a giant dude in a purple metal tunic.

I was totally looking forward to making endless fun of this movie, but I actually had a good time. I mean, it was no Die Hard, but it was fun. Really.

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