This has been a year of disappointing sequels. Both Spider-Man 3 and Shrek the Third were vastly inferior to the previous movies in their respective franchises. Besides Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, another exception is The Silver Surfer--I mean Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
While I know there are those who will disagree with me, I felt that Fantastic Four was a huge disappointment. In my opinion the first movie started far too slowly and concentrated too little on the characters themselves. Indeed, both Reed Richards (Ioann Gruffudd) and Sue Storm (Jennifer Alba) could have been cardboard cutouts. This was no fault of the performers, but of screenwriters who gave them nothing to work with. Worse yet, the script altered Dr. Doom (Julian McMahon) so that he was no longer recongisable as one of the greatest supervillains in comic book history.
While Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is nowhere near as good as Batman Begins or the first two Spider-Man movies, it is definitely a step in the right direction. Reed and Sue actually have personalities in this film. What is more, the bickering that made the comic book so popular is readily present in this film. Even Dr. Doom has been given a makeover, appearing more loyal to the Victor Von Doom of the source material (although nowhere does the film mention he is the dictator of Latveria). And while the first movie dragged, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer moves at a good pace.
Of course, much of the reason this film is superior to the original is the presence of the Silver Surfer. As voiced by Laurence Fishburne, the Silver Surfer is one of the film's most interesting characters. Something of an enigma, the Surfer emerges as a three dimensional character through the miracle of CGI and the voice of Fishburne's vocal talents.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is hardly a perfect movie. Marvel Comics fans may be disappointed by some of the changes made to the Silver Surfer (I suppose the filmmakers felt the comic book's Surfer was a bit too powerful). And I must admit that I would still like to see Dr. Doom established as the dictator of the country of Latveria. Here I may be accused of nitpicking. That having been said, the movie does have one plot hole that many viewers may not notice, but others may well find a fatal flaw in the film (I won't reveal it here so as not to spoil the film).
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is not a great film by any stretch of the imagination. That having been said, it is a good movie that does not fail to entertain, particularly if one does not think about it too much.