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Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Rated PG

Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, and Michael Chiklis

out of

2005's Fantastic Four was a "superhero-lite" movie that didn't take itself very seriously. It had a decent -- if juvenile -- sense of humor about four individuals finding themselves turned into superheroes. Of course, they faced off against a super villain and saved the day. The film's lightheartedness was an enjoyable change of pace when compared to relatively dark comic book movies like Batman Begins. 2007's Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer finds the team of Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd), Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba), The Human Torch (Chris Evans) and The Thing (Michael Chiklis) treading similar thematic ground.

Mr. Fantastic (aka Reed Richards) and the Invisible Woman (aka Sue Storm) are preparing to get married. Richards, however, is preoccupied with reports coming from all over the globe of strange changes in the subatomic level that's causing weird events like snow in Egypt and the solidification of a bay in Japan.

During the wedding ceremony, the cause for the events becomes visible. A silver man-like creature riding what appears to be a surfboard flies through the skies of New York and disrupts everything. The Human Torch (aka Johnny Storm) chases after him in a wild pursuit through the streets and sky. When he finally catches the surfer, he finds that touching him strips him of his power momentarily. Johnny falls from the sky, regaining his flight powers just before he hits earth, and the surfer escapes. When Johnny returns to the Fantastic Four's headquarters, he finds that the surfer's touch has given him the ability to swap powers with the other members of the team.

After some research into the surfer's energy signatures, Richards determines the path of destruction the surfer has taken throughout the galaxy. Every planet the surfer has been to has been destroyed within eight days of his visit. The team's task is clear: they must stop the surfer from destroying the Earth. And, through a strange series of events, they have an unlikely ally: Victor Von Doom (aka Dr. Doom), their former financier and current adversary.

Rise of the Silver Surfer fails to give the team anything exciting to do with their powers. Save for one sequence that takes place in London, the Fantastic Four does very little that's "fantastic" as a team. I had a similar complaint about the original movie and it's just as valid for the sequel. For a comic book-based film franchise, there is very little actual action in the series.

The only redeeming quality of Rise of the Silver Surfer is the Silver Surfer himself. He's a character that deserves more screen time and maybe even his own movie. (And, according to the Internet, one is rumored to be in development.) His stoic persona is in stark contrast to that of the dorky Fantastic Four.

If there is a third movie in the series, someone should tell the screenwriter two things: the Fantastic Four is a team and they have superpowers that are capable of more than simple physical comedy.

Trivia: Reed's speech to General Hager about being a "good little nerd" is taken nearly verbatim from Ultimate Extinction #2 (in there, he was speaking to Nick Fury). (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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