Questions for the Filmmakers
One of my constant complaints when watching big budget films is that with millions spent on the overall production, couldn’t they throw a few thousand at someone to edit the story so it makes sense? This is leveled not at just genre films but most movies.
I was reminded of this once more when the kids and I took in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surer the other night. Whereas Spider-Man 3 was so overstuffed, the character arcs failed to work, this was nothing but surface material that didn’t dare crawl into the characters to make us care. Instead, at something like 90 minutes, it moved breezily along and left us incredibly dissatisfied.
Had I read this script, before shooting began, I would have asked the following questions:
Sue Storm was established as a brilliant scientist in the first film so why does she have nothing do in the second film?
If the Silver Surfer could always mentally summon his board, why didn’t he do so when he had ample opportunity?
Since when does the Power Cosmic heal and bring people back from the dead?
If Doctor Doom possessed the Power Cosmic, what were his intentions? And once when he learned Galactus was coming to destroy Earth, why didn’t he do something about it?
If touching the cosmically-altered Human Torch swapped powers, why would all three touching the Torch give him all the power?
If the Silver Surfer essentially dumped all his power in an attempt to stop Galactus, who bestowed the power on him, how did it discorporate Galactus but allow the Surfer to survive?
Why would the military capture the Silver Surfer and immediately invite Dr. Mengele to interrogate him as if he were a human instead of an alien that would have been measured, scoped, scraped, studied, etc.?
Why aren’t we properly introduced to Captain Frankie Raye, and what on Earth did she see in the Torch?
Then, after the film was made, I’d wonder why there was zero chemistry between Ioan Gruffud and Jessica Alba. Then there was the issue of Alba’s poor acting. And if Stan played Willie Lumpkin in the first film, why didn’t he just reprise the role this time, a likely attendee at the wedding? (I know, the bit was a take off on the actual comic book wedding, but still…)
The CGI Surfer worked wonderfully with kudos to actor Doug Jones and voice artist Laurence Fishburne. The Fantasticar was also sleek and wonderful to see if used all too briefly.
The film largely felt like the skeleton for a much richer film. When dealing with cosmic forces, it should have felt big but actually felt small. If anything, Marvel’s first family has been treated as a low budget franchise, shot on 16mm and blown up to 70mm and failing to work at the larger size.
Three Marvel movies this year, all bringing in the bucks but all failing to be truly satisfying movie experiences. Now we have to sit tight and cross our fingers Iron Man will deliver next May, where these stumbled.