Monday, October 8, 2007

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

The latest Fantastic Four flick, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, is big, empty fun.

Rereading some of George Perez' run on the FF from the 1970s, I recall that the Fantastic Four were never as heavy as the X-Men or as dark as Batman.

Maybe film viewers forget those facts when watching these serviceable flicks.

The makers have gotten the Thing/Human Torch dynamic down perfectly.

Re-reading classic FF stories, I now realize that I read the magazine usually for The Thing's antics or an appearance by the Inhumans -- Reed Richards is dull, Sue Storm even more so, and the Human Torch, while possessing cool powers, was a jerk then and a jerk in the films.

There is not much of a larger message to the FF's antics -- some meaning on the importance of family, but not much else.

And that's okay.

Sometimes comics/films can be just fun.

My biggest complaint is that Jessica Alba, while beautiful, is woefully miscast as Sue Storm.

But Chris Evans is actually more likeable as the Human Torch this time around, Micheael Chiklis is, again, perfect as The Thing, and Ioan Gruffudd looks like Reed Richards which is about all that is necessary.

The biggest geek concern with this film is the rendering of Galactus who appears as a voiceless cloud about to devour earth.

At first, I was one of those purists who did not like this choice for the film but then I reread some of the old comics and realized how ridiculous Galactus looked then -- even when drawn by Jack Kirby.

It was hard to believe that this maybe 100 foot tall guy in weird armor could devour any planet but at least a huge cloud about to swallow up the earth makes a certain sense in comic book-land.

I did miss the drama of Silver Surfer's turn from herald to hero.

And Alba's Sue Storm wasn't very convincing when compared to the original Kirby panels concerning the Surfer's turn.

But, hell, I still enjoyed the film.

Maybe going in with low expectations helps.

It was certainly better than the last X-Men film.