In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, when we first catch up with the Fantastic Four—Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd); Sue Storm, the Invisible Girl (Jessica Alba); Johnny Storm, the Human Torch (Chris Evans); and Ben Grimm, the Thing (Michael Chiklis)—they're trying to catch a flight. "I'm sorry, Mr. Richards, we're overbooked," the counter agent tells him. "You'll have to fly coach."
Uh huh. That's a little like Stephen Hawking, Paris Hilton, Brad Pitt and The Rock all getting bumped from first class. The Fantastic Four, having no secret identities, are global celebrities and media darlings. Reed and Sue's marriage plans have sparked the same sort of media frenzy as Tom and Katie's nuptials, or Brad and Angelina's dalliance. Johnny is a glory hound, living for the spotlight. Bumped to coach? Cosmic ray–induced super powers, outer-space surfboards, world-consuming celestial vortices I can accept, but suspension of disbelief only goes so far.
It's the first false note in a film that doesn't strike a whole lot of right ones. Of course, I felt the same way—and then some—about the first Fantastic Four film (though Christianity Today Movies' Russ Breimeier gave it a generally positive review). With more ambitious action sequences, cooler special effects, and a slightly lower level of obnoxious and trashy behavior from the Torch, I suppose the sequel is the better film, as well as the more family-friendly one. This should be welcome news to the family audiences who helped make Fantastic Four a hit—though I personally wouldn't recommend either film to family audiences, or anyone else.
Although the subtitle refers to his "rise," the Silver Surfer in fact descends to earth ...1