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Published on June 21st, 2008 | by simeon

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Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Since audiences last visited the crime busting quartet, the group has become media darlings, and the impending wedding of two of the team members, Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd), and Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), has become media frenzy.

As plans for the wedding move forward, and Sue is confident that the wedding will not be postponed by another crisis, unaware that the greatest threat the earth has ever known is about to put very existence of the world in their hands.

When a mysterious Silver Surfer arrives on Earth leaving a path of chaos in his wake, it falls to the Fantastic Four, to get to the bottom of the threat and stop it as only they can. A chance encounter with the Surfer leads Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), on a high-speed race across the land which ultimately leads to a startling and at times comedic discovery. The surfer has the ability to disrupt what it touches and in the chase of Johnny, causes him to swap powers with any team member he touches.

While this is a potential disaster for Johnny, it does lead to some hilarious moments between him, Sue, and the Rock Laden The Thing, (Michael Chiklis), and ultimately leads Mr. Fantastic to devise a new way to track when and where the Surfer will appear.

The Silver Surfer is not the only danger facing the team, as the arrival of the Surfer has somehow revived the teams arch nemesis Dr. Doom (Julian Mc Mahon), who becomes obsesses with the Surfer and his secrets and forms a tenuous alliance with the Fantastic Four, despite their serious misgivings about trusting Doom.

Eventually it is learned that the Surfer is simply a harbinger for a much greater threat, Galactus, a being who eats planets to survive and who has determined the earth to be his next feats.

With the clock ticking, the team must battle, Dr. Doom, The Surfer, and each other as they try to unlock the mystery behind the surfer and save the world before it is too late.

The film though light on plot and character development, is a lot of fun and is a surprisingly enjoyable summer popcorn film. It does not try to be as haughty and pretentious as some past comic book film, and makes the most of its 89 minute run time without dragging itself out unnecessarily.

The cast works well with one another, and there are some good moments of humor to go with some well done action sequences that stay within themselves and the story rather than being the only point of the film.

If I had to find fault with the film, it would be that Dr. Doom is not really used much in the film and seems almost an afterthought to the story. He is supposed to be the ultimate villan but his real motives are only explained on a very superficial level which really detract from his effective use in the story. Another issue that the action was a bit less than I had expected it to be, especially the fact that the team is rarely seen in combat, and instead use the bulk of their powers in comedic or rescue efforts. I really would have liked to have seen the full power of the team used against a bad guy in an ongoing battle, instead of a few moments here or there.

In a summer where most of the offerings have failed to live up to expectations, this is a film that knows what it is, and does not try to be anything more than that. In doing so, the audience is treated to a briskly paced action adventure that delivers the goods, and does not promise more than it can deliver.

3.5 stars out of 5.


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