Fantastic Four was released in 2005 to mostly bland reviews and for me it is the worst comic book adaptation made so far (well, it’s a close call between that and The Punisher). So I had no real expectations for director Tim Story's Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer.
Just when things seem to be going smoothly for Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis), an alien being known as the Silver Surfer (voiced by Laurence Fishburne) lands on earth, causing anarchy. The fantastic four must discover his true intentions whilst at the same time an old foe, Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon) returns from the dead.
I certainly didn’t expect to be smiling after watching this one, but I am pleasantly surprised to report that’s exactly what I did. Rise Of The Silver Surfer is a huge improvement on its predecessor; whereas the first one is completely forgettable, this one is quite the opposite.
In the first picture I didn’t care for the characters because they were too one-dimensional and pretty unconvincing. This time round our heroes have upped their games. Chris Evans as the Human Torch and Michael Chiklis as The Thing were just annoying in the first outing, but here I found them both very likable. Ioan Gruffudd as Mr. Fantastic and Jessica Alba as The Invincible Woman were completely unconvincing and dull but this time they really have grown into their characters.
Unfortunately there is one returning character that didn’t make more of his role — Julian McMahon as villain Victor Von Doom. All we get from the actor is a very vain and wooden performance that doesn’t belong here.
The Silver Surfer is yet another fantastic CGI creation. The Surfer is excellently voiced by Fishburne; everything about this character is a complete master stoke for this now potential franchise.
The action set pieces were completely flat in Fantastic Four but here they are intriguing and exciting here. The Surfer's arrival sparks an airborne chase with the Human Torch and the whole sequence had me on the edge of my seat. The film's action packed, emotionally absorbing finale is very well executed giving the picture a fitting ending that it thoroughly deserves.
On a whole, the script is a lot sharper than before but there is still some patchy and cheesy dialogue in places. A few too many jokes are thrown in for my liking, too.
Overall, Rise Of The Silver Surfer is a much bigger, bolder, and better film than its poor predecessor. They may have not been anywhere near fantastic before, but now they truly are.