The Fantastic Four movie franchise has had some major hurdles to overcome. Fantastic FourDispite being one of Marvel Comic’s oldest titles their big screen debut was only two years ago (though scrapped for obvious quality reasons, an older FF movie can be found through various internet outlets). 2005’s Fantastic Four gave us our four heroes and a well played out romance born out of conflict.  This time around we still have the romance but the conflict is one sided.  Meet Sue Storm (Jessica Alba). Her super powers are the power to turn invisible, create force fields out of nothing and an inability to be concerned about anything other than her wedding.   Now admittedly that last one is a super power belonging to any woman who has a diamond on her left ring finger but no wedding band. Still, even with that body it’s annoying. The conflict is that groom-to-be Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) seems to constantly putting off the wedding for little reasons like, oh, I don’t know, saving the freaking world!

Of course this attempt of sharing wedding vows is no different and is interrupted by the appearance of mysterious silver being who rides what appears to be a surfboard.
Yes the villain of this film is exactly as I described it. However, by the time they’ve fully introduced the Surfer you will accept the premise of this shiny guy.  Why because of Galactus.

But first there are lots of other elements to the Fantastic Four.  As opposed to other super heroes they don’t hide behind masks or disguise their secret identity. Instead they are media savvy, endorsement wearing celebrities with super powers.  This may be why the Fantastic Four are not nearly as popular as the X-men or Superman.  Unless you’ve been featured on “Extra” it’s hard to relate to dealing with paparazzi, or having a helicopter interrupt your wedding.

One of several disappointing parts to the film was the interaction between JohnnTraditionaly Storm (Chris Evans), and Ben Grimm: The Thing (Michael Chiklis). In the first movie Johnny’s pranks on the big rock guy were funny and made Storm seem endearing and likable. Instead this time the tables are turned and The Thing’s pranks come off as mean. 
There are no great performances from the stars of this film. Each actor seemed to deliver their lines but not really throwing themselves into the next level of acting ability.   That being said Jessica Alba does stand out, mostly with help from a miracle bra.  One bright spot was the performance of Fantastic Four creator and Marvel Comic’s Editor Stan Lee as himself.  Stan is placed strategically in all the Marvel franchise films for usually one line, but this time he actually interacts with another character and is funny, convincing and unless you know who Stan Lee is there’s no other point for that scene in the film.  Still he’s fun to see on screen for us comic book geeks.
Now Galactus is a giant planet eating being usually depicted as a larger-than-the-Earth sized humanoid who likely shops for hats at the same place as the Pope.  I know if you thought the premise of the Silver Surfer was cheesy telling you that this is in the movie is not going to get you to shell out eight bucks.  Fortunately the traditional Galactus has been replaced.

Honestly this was what I was most looking forward to in this movie.  Much like the 1999 Godzilla movie there were no official photo releases of the monster until the film’s premier.  Much like there have been no photos of the planet-eating monster in any of the Silver Surfer trailers. 

Without spoiling anything Galactus is mostly a mass of cosmic space dust.  Much like the deadly commit in “Armageddon” the villain has no lines, no discernable personality but is the true source of conflict.   The film opens and ends with some spectacular computer generated shots of space concerning the planet eater and are visually incredible.   On top of that the Silver Surfer is essentially the same effect from “Terminator 2” but done on a much grander scale and even to look back on that movie today it would seem cheesy.  The leap forward in digital effects technology is impressive.

To sum it up, “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” is all about the special effects.  So show up with a few friends, eat some pop corn try to tune out Sue Storm being a bridezilla and don’t think too long about the plot because those big holes the Surfer creates in the landscape… that’s where the plot went.

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