The Rise of the Silver Surfer is a true BMT conundrum. On the one hand it was a sequel to a bad superhero film that seemed to buy into the “more is more” principle of franchises. On the other hand it involves the Silver Surfer, suggesting that they were also buying into the “go big or go home” principle of BMT/Franchise Man. Will it be bad or will it be BMT? That’s the question. The Silver Surfer seems like a tricky choice for a second film. Is he cool or is he lame? Is bringing a space monster into the mix a bit much? He’s an alien on a surfboard… that can’t be right… right? But as I learned many years later watching The Avengers in theaters, as CGI aliums poured out of a hole in the sky, as everyone around me seems totally cool with that turn of events in their big action film… I realized at that moment that, wait a second… lame stuff is… good now? Lame stuff is now good, I guess. And I’ve been enjoying lame stuff ever since. So I guess it’s kind of neither bad nor BMT… it just might be lame (which is good).
To recap, the Fantastic Four are back, Jack! And boy are they having trouble putting on a wedding. Egad! Sue Storm is increasingly frustrated by Reed because he’s always got his head in the clouds trying to save the world. Unfortunately as their wedding approaches (and just after he busts a groove at his mean bachelor party) he is asked to investigate mysterious, surfing related events across the globe. He says, “No!” he’s got a wedding to plan… but secretly he does anyway. So when the wedding day arrives he is all set up to track the mysterious surfer… just in time for the surfer to crash the wedding and destroy Reed’s creation. Sue. Is. Pissed. But they got bigger fish to fry cause the surfer, the Silver Surfer that is, is taking a chunk out of Earth. They gear up to track him, but they aren’t the only ones. Is that Dr. Doom’s music? Yes, he’s alive, and yes, the Silver Surfer helpfully turns him back into a human. They reluctantly team up to develop a way to trap the Surfer by separating him from his surfboard (oddly, that’s also my only weakness). They succeed, yay! But they also learn that he is in service to a world eater called Galactus who is just about to eat Earth (boo). Then, like a total dick, Dr. Doom double crosses them and steals the board (not the time, bro). They pursue him with the help of (the actually good) Silver Surfer who regains his board and with the help of Johnny flies his board into Galactus and that… uh… kills him I guess. Everyone is happy, Earth is saved, Sue and Reed get married, and the Silver Surfer is dead (or is he? (he’s not (but doesn’t matter cause the franchise is))). THE END.
This is definitely better than the first film even though the Fantastic Four is lamer and sillier than ever before. That’s because the Silver Surfer is way cooler than he has any right to be. He sounds like a child made him up, but there is something perfect in the undistilled unironicism of the character. He is silver, he rides a surfboard, he’s an alien, and he helps a cosmic entity eat planets. That’s some dumb shit, but you kinda need that dumb stuff to make this (very dumb) movie work a little bit. At least better than the first one. This is all despite having one of the worst scenes in cinematic history in Reed’s bachelor party. Horrible. Worse than the X-Games scene in the first one. Anyway, on the verge of being not that bad. As for the 1994 “unreleased” Fantastic Four film… uh… wtf, mate? They claim online that they never meant to release the film and I quibble with that. Clearly they were going to release the film… that was the threat. If their terms weren’t met they were going to release the film. 100%. It is wall-to-wall insanity and I kind of wish for history’s sake that it actually did get released. If I had to make a comparison I’d say straight-to-video Lawnmower Man 2… that’s the vibe.
Hot Take Clam Bake! And I mean hot. My take is two fold. Sue Storm and Reed Richards are in it for the long haul because they have super powers that allow them to (putting it politely) make super love. The Thing and the Human Torch? Not so much. We are clearly heading for disaster. Two members of the crew are getting super freaky under the super sheets while the other two are monsters that might just kill their significant (or even insignificant) others. What is the conclusion here? US Government, get these maniacs under control! That’s right, I’m right back at it. It’s me: guy who wants the government to take the Fantastic Four into custody. This is a ticking time bomb my friends. I don’t care how tender Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters’ pure, blind love is… he will be in a blind rage after he crushes her to death by accident. Hot Take Temperature: Ghost Pepper.
‘Ello everyone! Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer? More like Bland-tastic Bore Too: Lies of the Silver Grifter! Amirite? Well … it’s better than nothing. Let’s go!
- Right off the bat I’ll say that I found this film to be a lot better than the first one. Or at least better. “A lot” might be pushing it. But still, it felt better.
- The Human Torch seemed a bit toned down which was nice.
- The power-swapping was good in principle, although in practice The Human Thing didn’t work well at all (although a solid gag).
- The film does have probably the worst scene in the film with Mr. Fantastic’s bachelor party dance sequence. Inexplicable. Hollywood Badass Bar to the extreme. Bad effects. It had it all! I wonder how much higher the Rotten Tomatoes score would have been by just removing that scene and nothing else. I’d call it the Fantastic Cut, and people would be scratching their heads trying to figure out the 30 seconds of footage that were removed.
- Who am I kidding, obviously people would immediately be like “WHERE’S THE DANCE SCENE!?” and freak out about it.
- Biggest complaint about the film was bringing back Dr. Doom. Actually strike that. The biggest complaint is bringing back Dr. Doom and then magically making him look the same as he did before using Silver Surfer powers. That was ultra dumb.
- The Silver Surfer was solid though. One of the rare he’s-bad-oh-wait-he’s-actually-good bad guys in a comic film. Although if you know anything about anything in comics it is obvious Silver Surfer is a tragic figure and not really a villain.
- For Bring a Friend we then tripled up (what what!) on our fantastic weekend and watched Fantastic Four (1994). This is an insane story. So some guy owned the rights to The Fantastic Four for years and in 1995 the rights were going to expire if he didn’t make a movie. Oddly, the requirement to make a movie didn’t actually require him to release a movie … small oversight. So this guy enlists Roger Corman to put together a Canadian production with Canadian soap opera actors and this film was born. It was then shown in a few private screenings and thrown in a vault. The fact that a copy exists on the internet at all is astounding. Almost mind-blowing. The movie itself is a marvel of bad effects, although I have to say, The Thing’s head is pretty cool for an early 90s animatronic thing. A bit boring, but definitely worth a watch just to see some of the really early Marvel stuff that was happening at the time. A. Just for the historical aspect of the film it is definitely worth a watch.
- This film might have the best Product Placement (What?) I’ve ever seen in the fact that the crazy hovership thing the Fantastic Four fly around in is explicitly covered in Dodge Ram logos. The logos are everywhere, on the front, on the seats, just crazy stuff. Good NYC film for Setting as a Character (Where?). I think I’ll leave it there. Closest to BMT still I think, I just can’t bring myself to call this movie good despite it being entertaining, and the dance scene is too good to make the film straight bad.
Check out the big finale of the Brundlefly Jr. Saga in the two part Fantastic Four sequels in the Quiz. Cheerios,