CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

The Fantastic Four rises to the Surf

Despite lukewarm reviews from mainstream critics, "The Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer" exceeded box office expectations by earning 57 million dollars during a non holiday weekend. Beyond the Saturday Matinée appeal, this new comic book movie has family values and a four chamber heart. The dynamic of the family relationship is established by the chemistry of the four main actors. These four super heroes are uniquely different from box office superheroes "Spider-Man" "Superman" and
"Batman," who believe they must hide their identities. "The Fantastic Four" accept their fame in the spotlight, but bicker behind the scenes.

The film opens with the impending marriage of Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd) and Sue Storm, aka Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba). It is the biggest media wedding since TomKat's wedding last summer. The wedding is interrupted by the arrival of the Silver Surfer (voiced by Laurence Fishburne/body supplied by Doug Jones), a harbinger for doomsday.
Recruiting his future brother-in-law Johnny the Human Torch (Chris Evans) and his old college buddy Ben Grimm, aka The Thing (Michael Chiklis), Professor Richards tries to save the world from destruction, which is primed to occur in eight days. As the doomsday clock clicks, the Fantastic Four are forced into an unholy alliance with Doctor Doom (Julian McMahon), their arch enemy from the previous motion picture.

Being a comic book movie, director Tim Story fulfills the visual expectations. The rooftop wedding interruption contains some genuine cliffhanging cinema, one nail bitting moment features the blind Alicia Masters (Kerry Washington) walking into a wide helicopter blade. Her rescue by the Thing provides a fine punchline to the outrageous action sequence.
Unfortunately the climax lacks the inspiration of the earlier sequence set in the afternoon sunlight. "The Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer" features a night time showdown that becomes overly frenzied in the dark, similar to the flaws of "Superman" "Spider-Man" and "Batman" franchises.

The Silver Surfer has been a cult favorite of comic book fans for thirty years. He is an alien from outer space who serves a cruel master. Actor Doug Jones pantomimes the character with an assertive awkwardness, he is the new kid in class who attended military school. A stonefaced character, Laurence Fishburne's cool line reading is monotone with a hint of empathy. An over-the-top villain from the first movie, Julian McMahon seems to sleep walk in this appearance of Doctor Doom.

Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis seem to understand the correct balance between comic book acting and human motives. Overtaxed as the leader, Gruffness manages to invest Ronald Reagan optimism to problem solving. As the frustrated bride-to-be, Alba does not turn Sue Storm into a Bridezilla. Evans & Chiklis continue their middle school rivalry, but come to rely upon each other during times of crisis. This mutual admiration for each other is infectious and respects the fan base and ticket buyers. With this commitment from the actors and Marvel Comics, one waits for "The Fantastic Four Part III."
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