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I've written more than once about sustaining optimism for the upcoming Fantastic Four sequel. I know many of you True Believers find this a difficult proposition, and I don't blame you. While I didn't dislike the first film as strongly as many of you did, I will fully admit it came nowhere close to fulfilling my (perhaps far too lofty) expectations. As a long-time reader of The World's Greatest Comic Magazine, I wanted so much more than director Tim Story gave me. Nonetheless, I refuse to give up hope for the Four. I saw promise in the first film, and I enjoyed watching it despite the shortcomings.
I want part two to be better. Maybe this strong desire has lead me to over-optimism. In fact, I'm sure it has. However, I'm willing to buy into it for a time, and let myself believe the denizens of the Baxter building will be as fantastic as their name intones. Are there reasons to worry? Sure there are -- you can think of any number of them yourself. Yet, there ARE a few good reasons to be hopeful. In that spirit, The Geek Beat brings to you five good reasons to look forward to the Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer:
- First, we'll look back to something I loved in the last film -- Michael Chiklis. Say what you will about whether or not you liked the design style of the Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Thing, Michael Chiklis was a wonderful casting for the part. Whoever made that decision has my eternal gratitude, and his performance was easily the best of the Four. And since Ben Grimm is my absolute favorite comic book hero, I'm thrilled to know Chiklis will get at least one more movie to bring Thing to life.
- It is a rather established fact at this point that superhero flicks get better after the first time out. I'm sure you can find an exception to this somewhere, but generally the first film has to spend more time in character development and world exposition, while the second film can just jump right in to the fun. To be fair, this usually involves the first movie being pretty good before the second movie gets better, but hey -- plenty of room to improve, right? I still feel the first movie showed a bit of potential, and if Story has truly realized his mistakes and is making an earnest attempt to remedy them, he could make something out this franchise yet.
- Speaking of the Silver Surfer's comic book debut, let's talk "The Coming of Galactus." Word is the movie will be based on this story arc, and it is truly one of the finest stories ever to come from the combined talents of Marvel gods Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. There is no such thing as better source material for a Fantastic Four movie than issues 48-50 of the Fantastic Four. It also leaves the door wide open for further movies, if this one is financially successful.
- The Fantasticar. Story and company promise this little gem is going to look amazing, and an amazing Fantasticar wins major points in my book. Sure, it is a direct appeal to my geeky fanboy nature, but hey, it is a very good appeal. Including significant Four icons is a good way to win my love. It is nowhere near enough to overcome a crappy movie, but it is a solid point in the positives column.
- Doug Jones as the Silver Surfer. Let's briefly examine the two points of this statement, shall we?
- Doug Jones is, sadly, a wonderful under-appreciated actor. The addition of Doug Jones to your geek movie instantly raises the cool factor, even if he's only doing bodywork for CGI layover. I have no idea if they'll let him do voice work in this film, but I seriously hope they do. I kid you not, I can't get enough Doug Jones.
- The Silver Surfer. True Believers know and adore the Surfer as one of the greats in the Marvel pantheon. Choosing to showcase him in the Fantastic Four franchise is a great decision, as his comic book debut occurred in their pages.
Do these things add up to a great movie? Certainly not. The vast majority of everything lies with Tim Story's ability to correct some of the major blunders he made last time and create a much better film all around. We don't know if he can or will do that. However, these five items do represent some strong positives, and present at least the possibility for potential. Hopefully, we can add to the list as time goes on.