Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
is another entertaining romp for the Marvel-superhero franchise. Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd), is treading on thin ice when his fiancée, Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba), thinks he's more interested in a series of cosmic phenomena occurring around the earth than in the preparations for their upcoming wedding. Sorry, ladies, but Reed is right. The disturbances are caused by a surge of cosmic power from a mysterious being called the Silver Surfer (an all-CGI creation, modeled by Doug Jones and voiced by Laurence Fishburne), who not only zooms around the skies on his board, but also has enough power to fight the FF, sometimes by turning their own power against them, not only mixing up Sue and Reed, but also Johnny Storm, the Human Torch (Chris Evans), and Ben Grimm, the Thing (Michael Chiklis). But that's not the worst of it. The Surfer is only an opening act, a herald looking for planets that his master, Galactus, can consume for his sustenance.
With its initial installment, Fantastic Four established itself as the superhero franchise that didn't take itself too seriously, and that continues here. There are numerous moments of laugh-out-loud humor, and the most angst they suffer is whether Sue and Reed will ever be able to live a normal family life. (That, and whether they'll ever really get married, of course.) If Fantastic Four were a normal superhero franchise, the ending would be a knock-down drag-out war with Galactus, featuring the FF in a colossal battle for the planet Earth and the lives of everyone on it. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer… just doesn't do that, and we don't quite get the payoff we expected. Effects are dazzling, but the Surfer looks too metallic, more like a skyriding T-1000 robot