Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

The Fantastic Four–a superhero team so square that their leader is a science whiz–never shared the street credibility of more muscular heroes like Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man. But their unique combination of sci-fi adventure, situation comedy and soap opera resonated enough to pull a lot of lifelong comic-book fans into the fold. It’s not entirely inappropriate, then, that their film franchise is an inconsequentially dopey cheesefest. These aren’t dazzling movies to lose yourself in or to be amazed by. They’re more like big friendly puppies who jump on you and slobber on your face and helplessly implore you to embrace them and rub their tummies. Returning from the first film are all four fantastic protagonists, along with Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon), a supervillain who’s blander even than James Franco’s Harry Osborne from the Spider-Man movies. Among the regulars, only Michael Chiklis, emoting from underneath a big pile of latex, is a stand-out. By far the best scenes feature the aptly named Silver Surfer (ably performed by creature specialist Doug Jones), who zooms around the universe on a chrome-plated surfboard, scouting out meals for his less-charismatic buddy Galactus, who eats planets. Well, you could do worse.

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