Well, it could have been worse. But then that's not saying much after the lame attempt that was Fantastic Four. On a whole, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer has a lot going for it. A decent plot involving the Silver Surfer (Doug Jones and Lawrence Fishburne), herald of Galactus the World Devourer, scoping out planets for Galactus to munch on. When the Surfer discovers the earth it's up to Reed (Ioan Gruffudd), Sue (Jessica Alba), Johnny, er John (Chris Evans), and Ben (Michael Chiklis) to save the world. Also returning is Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon) who just wants the Surfers board and the power it contains.
Shall we start with the bad? It seems to me that they spent all of the special effects budget on the Surfer, because Reed's stretchy effects just look horrible. Which is a really big letdown with how beautiful the Surfer is. Continuing a mistake from the first film is the miscasting of Jessica Alba as Sue. I mean, if they can replace Katie Holmes with Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Dark Knight, then they can replace Alba. Or they could have at least gotten the contacts right. Her eyes are so blue that she looks like... I don't know what, but they are really blue. What else, oh, Julian McMahon. It's not so much him as how they worked around what happened to him in the first flick. See, when we are re-introduced to Doom, he is all kinds of messed up. His mask is burned onto his face and has to be cut off. Then after an encounter with the Surfer, he can miraculously heal himself. I'll bet McMahon just wanted to be sure that his pretty face got screen time. Oh, and Brian Posehn, you'll know who he is when you see him.
Good stuff? Let's see there is the surfer himself. Just amazing. The detail that he has is phenomenal. Some will say that he looks fake, I think he looks otherworldly. Doug Jones (Abe Sapien in Hellboy and The Fawn and The Thin Man in Pan's Labyrinth) is a master of motion capture. He gives the Surfer a grace that adds to the otherworldliness effect. Add Lawrence Fishburne's distinctive voice and you have an awesome combo. The brotherly tomfoolery of Ben and Johnny is carried over from the first film and is just as fun to see. After the whining and moaning from fans about the treatment of Galactus it was really cool to see the hint of a silhouette of the classic headpiece that he wears in the comics during the final confrontation. And as a comic fan, I have always enjoyed the little references in comic book flicks that only hardcore fans would catch. There are a few here and since I am only a casual FF comic fan, there were probably a few that I missed. And by far the funniest moment is Stan Lee's cameo. Poor Stan!
One final thing that both works for me and yet doesn't work for me is the whole switching of powers. If you have seen the trailer, you have seen part of it. I will just say that even though it is a nod to the comics, it becomes a plot point that was unnecessary in my eyes.
An improvement over the first, but that only brings it up to an OK in my book, but I didn't feel like I was wasting my time as I was with the first.
Till Iceman and The Human Torch become lovers,