Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Rated 3.0

The eponymous quartet of superheroes (Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis) take on a mysterious metallic character (CGI body modeled by Doug Jones, voice by Laurence Fishburne) who brings unimaginable destruction in his wake. This Marvel Comics movie franchise got off to such a wretched start two years ago that the second episode could hardly help being an improvement. And it is, thanks largely to the Silver Surfer himself, a more interesting and enigmatic character than the movie’s putative heroes. The banter of Don Payne, Mark Frost and John Turman’s script is sophomoric but harmless (more amusing are the occasionally kitschy visual effects). Julian McMahon is back as the unscrupulous Van Doom; he still looks too much like Gruffudd, but it’s easier to tell them apart this time.