Thursday, June 14

Surf's Up!

Silver Spoilers Ahead.

As part of my birthday celebration, I took the time to watch a movie today. I was actually trying for Ocean's Thirteen simply because it would have been cool to watch it on the 13th of June. But schedules didn't work for me, and I ended up getting to watch The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. And to be honest, It all ended up for the better as this sequel, thankully, more than rises to the occasion.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer reunites the entire cast from the first FF movie; Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards AKA Mister Fantastic, Jessica Alba as Sue Storm AKA Invisible Woman, Chris Evans as Johnny Storm AKA The Human Torch, Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm AKA The Thing and finally Julian McMahon as Victor Volt Doom. Set some time after the first film, the movie opens with an ominous sight- that of a planet exploding a fiery death, a silvery bolt streaking out from the ruin towards our own pearly blue orb. Meanwhile, the world is proceeding as normal. The Fantastic Four, popular superheroes and celebrities (it is so refreshing to see heroes being treated either as the heroes that they are or just regular joes) who are knee-deep in preparation for Sue and Reed's wedding. Unfortunately, the arrival of the mysterious Silver Surfer wreaks havoc wherever he appears, and that spells bad news for the impending wedding.

However, it soon becomes apparent that the Surfer isn't the real threat. He's just the prologue to the real danger from the stars. In order to save the world from being devoured by a force beyond all comprehension, the Fantastic Four must defy the US military and fight their hardest against a ruthless, power-hungry nemesis who soon attains the unlimited Power Cosmic himself.

What can I say? I like this movie. In fact, I can say I loved it. I liked the first FF movie, and well, the sequel kicks more ass.

The cast is back together, and that is a good point. All are more familiar with their roles and are as likeable as ever.
Ioan Gruffudd is brainy, nerdy Reed and gets as much laughs with his powers as he does cool stunts (albeit Elasti-Girl still rules as the best execution of a stretch-o-hero).
Jessica Alba is still piping-red hot, and hilariously finds herself naked AGAIN in public- darn, when Reed says at one point that he's marrying the Hottest Girl in the World, you believe him. Anyway, she's as sweet and strong a character as she was in the first film, never a damsel and having lots of chances to show her stuff. In fact, you can tell that Sue is the glue that holds the team together.

Michael Chiklis' Thing is, once again, perfect, and provides laughs gamely along with Chris Evans' Torch- gladly we see him several times as a normal human as well as covered in the Thing costume (or is it CG?). It's refreshing to see him adjusted well to being the Thing, with little or none of the angst in the first film.

As for cocky boy, Johnny Storm gets a much bigger role here, providing both humor as well as some drama as the Torch is forced to become more serious. Try as his character needs to be an obnoxious, cocky flyboy, you can never really dislike the Torch- he's just having too much fun and more importably, he's never irritating too much- this is the right way to do a young, cocky teammate, which past superhero flicks never really got right. At the end, he gets to take the brunt of the action in the finale, ala Super Skrull with all the FF's powers, and it just plain rocks.

I even like Julian McMahon's Doom- which is no wonder since I did like McMahon's smarmy, confident villain even in the previous film, electro powers and all. Yeah, he's no longer deformed in this film (well, what can you expect... his actor is from Nip/Tuck), which throws another facet from the comics out the window, but darn- he still has the scary mask, a bad-ass cowl and cloak, and gets a great fight scene/battle at the end. That's all a supervillain could ask for.

As for the Surfer- the CG is pretty slick and awesome. He does seem so solid in the movie, and his back-story, personality and everything seems spot-on. And of course, he sounds like Morpheus, which is excellent. Will there be a Silver Surfer movie? Why not. Maybe someday.

Comic geeks will no doubt be disappointed about Galactus- and how he doesn't appear in the film as he did in the comics. He's more presented as a force, a god-like entity of unfathomable power. The familiar shape DOES appear, albeit vaguely, and I think it works, and works pretty well (it certainly will keep non-comic fans from needing to know why a giant guy with a dopey over-sized helmet is such a big deal).

All in all, FF:ROTSS works as an enjoyable, tightly-paced and entertaining superhero flick. It does pretty much everything right- comedy, drama and action are all mixed in well in the correct doses; the Thing-Torch horseplay never gets old, the Reed-Sue drama never grates or drags, the special effects, fight scenes and action work very well throughout. Even Stan Lee's cameo was kinda cool. And the Fantasticar ROCKS, appearing at just the right moment and staying for the duration. I can honestly say that with all that, I enjoyed Fantastic Four more than I did Spider-man 3. Really.

So don't believe some bogus negative reviews online- just bring the kids to the theater, buy some popcorn and get ready to enjoy the best superhero flick out so far this year. Nuff Said!

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