Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

Rated: PG Grade:BBCC=C+

Directed by: Tim Stone, who directed the first Fantastic Four and several episodes of the action television series Standoff.

Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon, Kerry Washington, Andrew Braugher, Doug Jones, and the voice of Laurence Fishburne.

Summary: On the verge of marrying, Sue Storm and Reed Richards find their plans interrupted by the arrival of the Silver Surfer, a stoic demi-god who prepares worlds for consumption by his master Galactus. Somehow they must stop him, get married, and entertain us all at the same time.

Entertainment Value: B Although I’m tempted to go lower for one simple reason. The Silver Surfer rocks! But in this movie, he’s so, um, how can I put this properly…blah. Every comics nerd like me grew up loving the Silver Surfer because he was so cool. I can’t imagine anyone seeing this movie and being stimulated to go read the comics. Tragic. Nonetheless, it’s pretty well-paced, somewhat humorous, and fun, just like a comic movie should be.

Superficial Content: B Drugs/Alcohol B, Sexuality B, Violence B, Language B, Illegality B. Here’s what I didn’t like. Even though it’s a B, it’s one of those movies where you just wish they had kept it one notch cleaner, like a comic book. There are many sexual innuendos and mild crass language which you wouldn’t want a younger child to watch. I’d rate it PG-11. One main scene involves a bachelor party at a bar where sexual and alcoholic references are made and the groom dances with sexually provocative women. There’s also a scene where Jessica Alba is suddenly naked outside. Obviously there’s some comic book violence.

Significant Content: C Reed Richards promises his fiancĂ©e that he will focus on the wedding, but then secretly builds this detection device and convinces his pals to help him cover it up. Violence is the solution to our problems. At least marriage is held as an ideal, although Johnny Storm clearly is sexual without being married. Reed Richards strikes a solid blow for the value of education and nerds over the jocks in one part. The one main message is “to whom much is given, much is expected,” as the team struggles with the need to use their gifts for good instead of just running away as if they haven’t been given them.

Artistic/Thought Value: C Eh. Some of it was pretty cool. Although I don’t really grasp how the Earth would recover from all those cylindrical holes in the crust. Plus, draining the Thames would drain the Atlantic would be the death of a lot of people, but let’s save the Ferris Wheel?

Discussion Questions:
  • Why do people have bachelor parties? Is it healthy to prepare for a life of devotion to a single woman by indulging in a night of wild behavior?
  • Do you think it’s ever appropriate to deceive your spouse or keep secrets from that person? What do you think of Reed’s deception and of Sue’s response?
  • If you’ve been given great gifts, are you obligated to use them as productively as possible?
    Reed Richards says that he has power because he is smart rather than being good at sports. Is this accurate? Is Mr. Fantastic powerful because of his brain or because of his super-powers?
  • The Silver Surfer chooses to destroy worlds in order to protect his own. What do you think of this choice ethically? Does your answer have any impact on your thoughts about America’s actions in Iraq?
  • The army mistreats the Surfer and justifies this by saying he’s not human. Should a being like the Silver Surfer be viewed as having human rights? Do you think this scene is meant as a commentary on America’s treatment of terrorists?
Overall Grade: C+ It was fine, but I wish they had really impressed me.

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