The original Fantastic Four suffered from a weak script, lackluster direction, missed opportunities and unfortunately inevitable comparisons to the far superior release of The Incredibles.

Nevertheless, I put all that aside and saw the sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. And yet, despite advanced word and personal prejudice, I'm happy (and a bit embarrassed) to say I liked it. A lot.

Director Tim Story returns along with his ensemble of Ioan Gruffudd (Reed Richards), Jessica Alba (Sue Storm), Michael Chiklis (Ben Grimm), Chris Evans (Johnny Storm) and Julian McMahon (Victor Von Doom).

This film marks the arrival of creator Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's metaphorical Christ character, The Silver Surfer (played by Doug Jones and voiced by Laurence Fishburne), who has come to Earth as a herald for Galactus. Every planet that the Surfer has appeared on has been destroyed eight days later, and his arrival on Earth causes a series of phenomenons (including the resurrection of Dr. Doom). The United States military enlists the Fantastic Four's assistance, interrupting the nuptials of Reed and Sue, to capture the Surfer. Initially disappointed by the results of Reed's research, the military (led by Andre Braugher), turn to Doom for help, much to the chagrin of our heroes.

The major theme of The Fantastic Four has always been family and Story has constructed a film that focuses on just that; the relationships and connections between all of the characters is the very heart of this film. Gruffudd does a better job channeling Reed in this film, and both Chiklis and Evans do a phenomenal job. Only Alba, in a distracting blond wig and bright blue contact lenses, doesn't live up to the potential.

Nevertheless, The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer probably isn't the best film that you'll see this summer, but it's harmless popcorn entertainment and an entertaining distraction that actually delivers. With rumors of a J. Michael Straczynski Silver Surfer spin-off already circulating, I'm hoping the next FF film focuses on some of their other colorful nemeses, such as the Mole Man, The Skrulls or the denizens of the Negative Zone.

'Nuff Said!


Garrett Faber! said...

Makes me want to see that flick.

RJackson said...

Thought it was decent. Definitely better than the first film.

The Galactus fx weren't as bad as I thought they would be, but still . . .

Jay Williams said...

Better than the first but not as good as I'd hoped.