Early impressions on Silver Surfer flick

Ronald Montoya

The first Fantastic Four movie arrived with high expectations after the well-received Spiderman and X-Men, but failed to deliver on the quality and excitement of its relatives. Although many critics panned it, the film ended up with a worldwide theatrical gross of $330 million.

While many of us who saw the first film weren’t exactly begging for a sequel, the trailers for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, show that there still might be hope for this comic adaptation. This seems to follow a common trend in comic book-based films. The sequel is usually better, since the first movie spends most of time telling the origin of the character. In the second film we usually cut right to the chase, the villains are more threatening, and the action is on a much larger scale.

The first trailer to be released was essentially a teaser. The wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm gets cut short by the sudden arrival of the Silver Surfer. A chase ensues and little else is mentioned. In the second trailer, more of the story is revealed. Not only do we hear the Surfer speak, but we also learn that contact with him has rendered the abilities of the Human Torch unstable. And for a brief moment he and the Thing seem to switch powers. There is the hint that Galactus might make an appearance when Richards says “Everywhere this thing goes, 8 days later the planet dies.” We also get a brief glimpse of Dr. Doom, who in keeping with the comic book tradition didn’t stay dead for very long.

For those of you that like to read the source material before watching the film adaptation, this new film draws its story elements from the first appearance of the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four No. 48 through 50, and also from issues No. 57 through 60, where the Surfer encounters Dr. Doom.

The choice of the Silver Surfer for its main character was the first thing the screenwriters did right. For those of you not familiar with this character, here’s the condensed version of his history. Making his first appearance in the March 1966 issue of the Fantastic Four comic, the Silver Surfer’s real name is Norrin Radd. When the planet-devouring creature known as Galactus threatened to consume his planet, Radd struck a deal with Galactus to spare his people in exchange for a life of servitude. Galactus agreed and bestowed Radd with the power cosmic, which transformed him into the Silver Surfer. It was bittersweet victory for the Surfer, because while his planet was spared, he was never allowed to return to it, and his new role was to seek out other planets suitable for Galactus to consume.

According to the Marvel Universe biography, the Silver Surfer is virtually indestructible. He can enhance his strength to any level, manipulate matter, and can fly faster than the speed of light. He maintains a telepathic link to his surfboard and can control it even when he isn’t on it.

Is the Silver Surfer a villain or a hero? The lines are blurred with this character, and it is what makes his story so interesting. Death and destruction surround him, and for the most part he maintains a stoic image. But deep down he feels compassion for the inhabitants of the planets consumed by Galactus.