Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer

The Fantastic Four is infamous for being one of the first superhero teams to balance the incredible against the familial: each of it's four members had superhuman powers, but they were also supposed to act in human ways. But this Fantastic Four film fails on both fronts.

Their heroic acts are unimpressive - the big bad here is the world devouring Galactus, but none of the titular four actually come within a few thousand miles of him. All they do is convince the Silver Surfer to fight Galactus on their behalf, and so the Surfer flies himself into space, hunches himself into a ball, and then turns himself into a bomb powerful enough to explode a planet sized ball of gas. (Yes, Galactus in this movies looks like a giant cloud; someone thought the humanoid form he takes in the comics needed updating, and the best way to update it was to give him no body and a mouth that looks like a dilating butthole.) It's not explained if the Silver Surfer has always had the power to destroy the immense Galactus, or if he somehow suddenly gained that power on the spot. Either way it's weird: if he could have stopped the world devourer a few worlds ago why didn't he bother doing it then? But if he just got that power, then where did he get it from?

The interpersonal stuff is even worse. The personal through line of the film is that Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman want to get married but can't because every time they schedule the ceremony the planet is endangered. I do not understand how that could have been seen as a good idea for a plot, because every time the Invisible Woman complains about her wedding day being canceled just because they have to save a few billion people she sounds like a total jerk. And not just a jerk, a sexist conception of a jerk. Can't she understand that there are more important things than her big day? Things like talking an alien into fighting their battles for them?

Uniting both halves of the bad story is a terrible sense of humor. The pay off for the above photo where a bear threatens the Thing is that the Thing burps so loudly that the bear gets intimidated and runs away. There's also a scene where the Thing - who is obviously large and orange - has to take the middle seat on an airplane, which is hilarious cause air travel sucks, amirite?

The most painful punchline comes at the end of Mr. Fantastic's bachelor party. The nerdy scientist doesn't like to party, but he gets blackmailed by the Human Torch into going to a club. At first Mr. Fantastic only wants to talk science to all the pretty women he meets, but eventually he gets on the dance floor and he uses his super-stretchy powers to twist himself in unlikely ways. Unfortunately, his fiancee shows up unexpectedly and catches him in the act. Mister Fantastic expects her to be super mad that he is doing PG rated dances within a ten foot radius of several fully clothed women, but she isn't. Why not? Apparently he would be surprised at all the crazy things she did at her bachelorette party! Isn't the idea of a woman getting up to shenanigans funny? It's like imagining a dog driving a go-kart or something equally improbable.

At the end of the movie there was only one thing on my mind: the first time I saw this in 2007, I thought it was an improvement over the first Fantastic Four movie. But how is that possible? How bad could that first movie be? I don't remember a damn thing about it, so I can only guess at what horrors it contained. My mind is literally boggling at the thought of what could have sunk it lower than this bear-burping and bachelor partying mediocrity.

Did it have a scene where the Thing farted at Shrek? (Farts are more overplayed than burps and Shrek is way worse than a bear.) Did it have a scene where Mr. Fantastic sang Tarzan Boy badly? (Singing badly is way worse than dancing badly.) Did they forget to add special effects in post, or was it out of focus? 

Enough! Enough! I can't think of this any longer, because if I do I'll get my curiosity up enough that I'll feel the need to revisit that first movie, and I absolutely do not need to do that. Let's just say that Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer is wet burp of a movie and leave it at that.

Winner: The Cat

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer on IMDB