After introducing the origins of your celebrated characters, the question that usually lingers in the air is ‘Now what?’. In the case of the decades-long comic, the fabled Fantastic Four had a fair few choice arcs to go and explore, to give fans a chance to experience them in a whole new medium. In 2007, after establishing the four, Marvel increased the stakes by pitting against an intergalactic threat, one that you might be familiar with even if you aren’t 100% familiar with the previous volumes. Resulting in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
It’s the wedding of the century, as Sue Storm and Reed Richards are finally tying the knot. Yet, this event has to be put on hold. An intergalactic surfer crashes into the Earth, and his presence may spell doom for the planets he has visited previously. Attempts to stop this visitor seem futile, even stretching the powers of the four to their limits. Tensions rise as old nemesis may have to reluctantly work together to protect the very fabric of their existence from a seemingly unstoppable god.
The original focused mainly on the United States, as the Four got to grips with their powers. Silver Surfer is a more international affair, taking the viewer on a globe-trotting exploration of Japan, Siberia, London (and even some locations not featured in Destroy All Humans 2). Yes, the scope of the film is dramatically increased, introducing villains that are quite literally out-of-this-world also does a lot to expand the action somewhat. Most of this is communicated through a hefty dose of computer-generated special effects, to give the audience the spectacles that they are accustomed to. The fable Fasticar does make an appearance, not just for the merchandise potential alone.
It is not all action and computer generated animation, there’s still at the heart of the sequel. Kerry Washington got more of a prominent role as Alicia Masters, and this is great to see as both a fan of her character and Kerry Washington’s work. Building on the relationships that the first film is a great step for the film to take. Most notably, Reed’s and Sue’s relationship is also scrutinised by the media pressure from the outside world, with even Reed more focused on the earth-shattering events than on the big day. Speaking earth-shattering, Laurence Fishburne and Doug Jones team up to create the Silver Surfer, with Jones’s mo-cap prowess, and distinctive voice dubbing the surfer, à la Darth Vader.
As being currently one of the few Fantastic Four films to get a sequel, the winning formula of the first is swiftly built upon. Offers some fun alterations, and expansions on some of the comic’s most memorable moments. It is a sequel that feels bigger, leveraging both effects and ideas to justify the continuation. Before the M.C.U. rewrote the rulebook, Silver Surfer rides a wave of 2000s comic book film style far into the stars.
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