A film review by Sean O’Connell – Copyright Â© 2007 filmcritic.com
The NBA hands out a Most Improved Player Award at the end of each season. Hollywood does not have an equivalent distinction, though Fantastic Four director Tim Story would be a worthy candidate for this year’s prize if it did.
Story’s name was attached to the original Four film in 2005, but that discombobulated blockbuster based on the classic Marvel Comic books felt like meddling producers suggested the film to pieces before the finished product reached theaters. Critics and comic fans responded in kind with opinions that were not so kind, but Four turned a large enough profit to secure a punched ticket to sequel land for Story and his cast.
Retaining the creative team was the right move on 20th Century Fox’s part. Story’s second chance trumps his first effort, as everything about this superhero sequel surpasses the original by a long shot. The special effects — spotty in the earlier film — take huge leaps forward. Mr. Fantastic’s flexible skin is far more convincing this time around, and the Thing suit Michael Chiklis wears somehow looks more natural. Even jokes that fell flat in the movie’s marketing campaign (like the Human Torch’s “I just bought this tux” line) are swapped out for funnier alternates in the finished movie.
The Thing? The Human Torch? I’m getting ahead of myself, but that’s primarily because screenwriters Don Payne and Mark Frost waste no time on backstories at the onset of Rise of the Silver Surfer. The sequel hits the ground sprinting and crams a lot of story into its trim 90-minute run time. For the benefit of potential newbies, let’s fill in some gaps.
Read Sean’s full Review at FilmCritic.com.