Friday, June 15, 2007

Rise and Fall of the Silver Surfer

Haven't seen it yet but what with the heat that's due this weekend, I think I just might enjoy escaping into a theater for a few hours. And I actually have some sliver of hope that this installment of the Fantastic Four will be halfway decent. You know, not Citizen Kane or anything but a decent popcorn flick.

I wasn't exactly please with the first film. But that doesn't exactly surprise me since it was all about getting the band together. The origin of the Fantastic Four has, for me, always been among their weaker elements. And attempts to shoehorn in their arch villain don't really help that. It's just a creature of its time that hasn't, couldn't age well. At the time it was published, before the moon landing, the idea of winning a space race against those godless communist and their monkies was actually topical. And the idea that a private citizen could drag a bunch of his friends along into space on a mission that took hundreds of government employees and billions of dollars might have been more plausible. Now, however they get those four (Or, sigh, five. I mean, I know why film makers do that, I just don't know why they do that.) alone and empowered, it rings false. You have to jiggle with the plot too much to make sure it's just the right people who get bathed in cosmic rays or shoved through another dimension or make a pact with elder gods from another universe or whatever it is these days.

No, the real charm of the Fantastic Four starts after they get their powers when they're stuck dealing with each other. It's not the powers, it's not the plot, it's the characterization that makes it all tick. That these people are a family. That they love each other, need each other, and, like any good family, can't stand each other in equal amounts.

Now that the origin is out of the way, there's a chance they can move on to the good parts of the story. And starting with the Galactus trilogy isn't a bad place – I'd rather have seen something like “This Man, This Monster” but, whatever, this isn't art this is selling soap.

Anyone out there who's seen the film yet? Any good or what?

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