Tonight, Maynard, Tague and I went to see Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Disclaimer: I am an “old school” and “mid school” fan of the Fantastic Four. For those not in the know, that means two specific eras of writing: the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby years and the John Byrne years.
So, first, the movie was about 20 or 30 times better than the first one. The first film was a blundering, savagely stupid attempt to “do” the Fantastic Four. In fact, the movie was only remotely tolerable because Jessica Alba is, frankly, smokin’ (I will not deny my unrequited lust for her, though I think she’s hotter with her natural hair color).
I mean, seriously: how do you fuck up Doctor Doom? Doom is one of the most *easy* characters in the history of comic books to get right: crazily disciplined, hyper-egotistical. Give him a small scar and make him filled with self-loathing – but the MOST important thing is that Doom chooses to don the armor. And you know, they fuck that up.
However, this time around, you can tell that the people in charge are a bit more . . . in tune . . . with the Fantastic Four. The dialog between the characters feels natural instead of forced, their personalities are actually three dimensional. The best part is that the production team was obviously all, “okay, that ‘armor is part of Doom’ thing? Not having it.” So they got rid of the “biological” armor on Doom. They make him King of Latveria. And then give him the choice about the armor, and he chooses the armor.
Doom’s plan to steal the Surfer’s board is actually *very* “Doctor Doom”. In fact, I think he may have actually done that in the comics once or twice. Unfortunately, they still gave Doom some rather bad lines. For example: He steals the board, and then uses its power to blow a huge hole in the wall of a prison. What does he say? “Niiiiiice.” You know, like a surfer.
No, no, no. Doom would say one of two things: Nothing, or Nothing. Doom does not speak to lesser creatures. Doom is aware of his own genius and he needs to prove it only to Reed Richards. If Reed isnt’ around, there isn’t anyone worth talking to.
Norrin Radd – the surfer – they actually nailed him, according to the way I have always read him. But then, he’s also easy to do right: distant, stoic, silent type with a huge, nearly-omnipotent bag of tricks.
I was sad that they didn’t show the “purple headgear” Galactus. What they had – this giant, sinister looking cosmic cloud – it worked, and I suppose if you had never been exposed to Galactus before, it would have passed without a hitch. I understand why they did that, and I forgive.
At any rate, it was a fun outing (I always have fun at movies). Unless you’re a Fantastic Four nerd, though, I’d wait for the DVD.