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Movie Review: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

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Author/Source: Brett Richmond

Topic: Movie Review

A review of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer including a description of the movie, areas of concern, teachable themes, discussion questions, and scriptures to use.

Movie Review: <i>Fantastic Four:  Rise of the Silver Surfer</i>

Overview

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer picks up some time after the original 2005 film as Reed Richards (Mr. Incredible) and Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman) are in the final days before their wedding. Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) maintains his mission to turn the Fantastic Four into a moneymaking and fame-generating proposition. Ben Grimm (The Thing) seems to have come to grips with his new body and basks in the love and acceptance he receives from his blind girlfriend, Alicia Masters.


WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
Click to skip spoilers

With Victor Von Doom seemingly vanquished in the first film, a new, more-ominous and dangerous evil emerges as the massive planet eating monstrosity, Galactus, and his herald, the Silver Surfer. Galactus first appears on the screen as it drains a planet dry of its organic and molten energies. The result is a lifeless planet that has only temporarily satisfied the appetites of the planet devouring Galactus. With the planet drained of its life force it's up to the herald to find a new planet for his master to drain.

Johnny Storm takes Reed and Ben out on the town for a final night of revelry at a trendy dance club. Mr. Incredible is able to show off some flexible dance moves before being interrupted by Sue Storm and General Hager who's come to ask Reed Richards for his help in explaining some strange atmospheric and climatic disturbances. Reed turns down the opportunity to build a special sensor array and says that he has a wedding to prepare for, gaining admiration from his fiancée. However, he secretly creates the sensor, which ends up attracting the Silver Surfer, who arrives just in time to interrupt the wedding ceremony.

In his first encounter with the Surfer, the Human Torch is contaminated, resulting in a strange transfer of powers whenever he comes in contact with another member of the Fantastic Four.

The Surfer's arrival awakens Von Doom, resulting in him being freed from his prison where he's laid dormant since the last film. Doom eventually manages to manipulate his way into the graces of General Hager, who teams him with the Fantastic Four, to find a way to capture the Silver Surfer. Tension mounts when they realize the Surfer is there to destroy the Earth.

During the third encounter with the Surfer, the Fantastic team witnesses a peculiar action of the Surfer who protects The Invisible Woman and demonstrates a level of "humanity" that they didn't expect. Their plan to capture the Surfer succeeds and the Silver Surfer's incredible power is neutralized. While being held as a prisoner Sue Storm learns from the Surfer that Galactus will arrive at Earth in a matter of hours. Meanwhile, Doom has taken control of the Surfer's power and has unleashed this awesome force on the Fantastic Four. In order to defeat Doom the Four must work together as a team like they have never done before. By combining all their powers into one person, Doom is defeated.

Regaining his power, the Silver Surfer sets out to destroy Galactus and save the Earth just in time.

The movie concludes with the marriage of Reed Richards and Sue Storm, just as another life-and-death crisis arrives.

END OF SPOILERS


Concerns

The level of violence is consistent with the first movie and most recent comic book films. There are several sexual innuendos and references to sex. The comments are not derogatory, but are clearly present. The trendy nightclub scene does have several women in "party clothes" and dancing mildly provocative.

Johnny Storm, who is portrayed as the "cool guy" of the movie, demonstrates negative character traits before seemingly changing his ways towards the end of the movie. Because of his "cool" factor, most of the kids in the crowd scenes see him as their hero, as would many of the kids in the audience watching the movie.


Teachable Themes

  • Greed and Selfishness
    Just like in the first film, Johnny Storm is a magnet for the celebrity life. In one scene Johnny steps out of his fancy sports car and begins to ask the press to "respect his sister's privacy" on the day of her wedding. The press responds with a collective "Awww.." to which Johnny responds with, "I'm just kidding," then tells the crowd of reporters that the official wedding pictures will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. In another scene, Johnny brings out a "new uniform" that resembles a NASCAR racing suit covered in "endorsements." Clearly, Johnny's focus is on money and his own self-fulfillment through the spotlight of fame. For Johnny everything is for sale. His general lack of character makes Johnny an easy example of what God does not want us to be.

  • Importance of Being a Team
    The uniqueness of the Fantastic Four is that they are most effective as a team, using each of their talents for the collective good. In the battle against Doom the team realizes that they will need all their powers to defeat Doom. They use Johnny's power swapping infection to combine all their powers making it possible to defeat the powerful Victor Von Doom.

Biblical References

  • Greed and Selfishness:
    • Mark 7:21-23 - "For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'" (NIV)

    • Psalms 119:35-37 - "Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word." (TNIV)

  • Importance of Being a Team:
    • Romans 12:4-6 - "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us." (NLT)

    • 1 Corinthians 12:21-26 - "The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it." (NIV)

Discussion Questions

  • Greed and Selfishness:
    1. Johnny believes that everything is for sale, what do you own that you would never sell?
    2. What have you done that was considered "selfless"?
    3. What were some of the things that Jesus did that were not selfish?
    4. Do you want to be like Johnny or Jesus?

  • Importance of Being a Team:
    1. What is your favorite team sport? What are the different positions and how do they work together?
    2. How important is each part of your body? Is one part more important than the others?
    3. What does 1 Corinthians 12:21-26 say about the importance of each part of the Body of Christ?

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