As Tim Story’s superteam sequel flits to a close, a woozy Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba) asks, “What did I miss?” To be honest, Jess, not a great deal. Yes, Rise Of The Silver Surfer ups the ante on its 4-runner in terms of pace, scale and set-pieces. But it’s short on urgency, human drama and fun dialogue (The Thing’s new catchphrase? “Aww, crap!”). In other words, FF2’s still the length of Mr Fantastic’s stretchy arms away from X-Men – which Story refers to as “our brother franchise”.
Meanwhile, the director’s gab-track all but admits the plot is merely a prelude to a solo outing (ETA 2009) for its trump card, the Silver Surfer. At least chrome-head’s cool gravitas transcends the film’s power-swapping/wedding-setback frivolitiess and fumbled narrative beats (like the redundant return of Doctor Doom, a preening, peevish shadow of his comic-book counterpart).
Surf-boy steals both film and extras: Marvel fans should head straight for disc two’s Sentinel Of The Spaceways, a chewy doc dissecting the Silver One’s subtexts (as counter-cultural icon/ Jesus metaphor/ mouthpiece for Stan Lee’s navel-gazing). What’s more, the splashes of artwork from original penciller Jack ‘The King’ Kirby ooze the kind of chunky, funky grandeur Story’s telling yells out for.