Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

MV5BMTgxMDc2NzA4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTI1NTY0MQ@@._V1__SX1859_SY847_So I went ahead and saw that Silver Surfer movie my own self, which probably anybody could have predicted. For people who have not read the Fantastic Four comic any time in the last forty plus years (e.g., me) or for people who don’t know any comic book fans who have done so and would be not so much thrilled as actively compelled to explain it to you from that perspective (this one, not so much me; but someone, surely!), a plot synopsis.

So, the Fantastic Four are this public superhero team who, you know, save New York. And probably other stuff as well. But mostly New York, because despite the presence of Spider-Man, Daredevil, and the close proximity of the X-Men, it still doesn’t have enough saving going on. (Plus inevitable others of whom I am unaware. Iron Man, right?) And they’re doing their bicker and save New York and maybe get married thing, living out their everyday lives, when this silver guy appears on a surfboard. From space. Which sounds pretty cool, and probably would be, except he’s kind of a dick. To cite a couple of examples, he’s altering peoples’ genetic make-up with his cosmic radiation and digging these giant bowling ball finger holes into the earth, because he’s the Herald of Galactus. Galactus is a giant humanoid in a purple helmet who likes to eat planets. Except, because pretty much everyone realizes that would look exceptionally stupid on a giant movie screen in 2007, he’s a floating cloud full of energy and lightning and stuff. Like V-Ger, but less our fault. So now instead of bickering and maybe getting married and saving New York, they (the Fantastic Four, our nominal stars of the story, right?) have to save the world from being eaten and/or used for a frame of intergalactic ten pins. Well, and bicker, and maybe get married. (Not all of them, as comic book world is not so enlightened as to allow semi-gay or possibly polygynous marriage. Just Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. Also, since Johnny Storm is her brother, there are incest problems as well. I’m just saying, maybe in this particular case, comic book world has a point.) Also, Dr. Doom (he’s the bad guy from the first movie) is trying to swing this whole devoured planet thing such that he gets more power. And, one supposes, a new planet in the bargain? Because lots of power but floating in the vacuum of space seems like kind of a win/lose.

It was pretty cool. Tightly paced, not hampered by trying to squeeze a complicated origin story and a climactic battle sequence into the same 90 minutes, pretty, funny, and just on the whole entangled with a factor of coolness. Sure, it was no Spider-Man 2, but what is? It definitely topped Spider-Man 3. Now, we pause for two or three years while the writers try to come up with a new way to get Jessica Alba comically naked, and then wrap a movie around it. (I know that sounds a little derogatory, but only if you think that I disapprove of Jessica Alba themed nudity.)

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