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After exposure to cosmic radiation, four astronauts become the most remarkable, if dysfunctional, superheroes of all time. Unfortunately, the mission's sponsor has also been transformed ? into the world's most lethal supervillain ? setting the stage for a confrontation of epic proportions. Packed with nonstop action, big laughs and awesome special effects, Fantastic 4 is "powerful fun" (The Baltimore Sun) from start to finish!
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Catch a wave of "terrific adventure" and "non-stop action" (CBS-TV) in this fun and fantastically entertaining smash-hit! "Invisible Woman: Sue Storm and "Mr. Fantastic" Dr. Reed Richards are about to be married when a mysterious alien... the Silver Surfer... crashes the proceedings and heralds Earth's impending destruction. With time running out, the Fantastic Four reluctantly teams up with the nefarious Dr. Doom in a thrilling effort to save our planet!
For Daredevil, justice is blind, and for the guilty?there's hell to pay! Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner ignite dangerous sparks and nonstop thrills in this "dazzling action-adventure" (The Film Journal) about the newest breed of superhero. By day, blind attorney Matt Murdock (Affleck) toils for justice in Hell's Kitchen. By night, he's Daredevil, The Man Without Fear - a powerful, masked vigilante stalking the dark streets with an uncanny "radar sense" that allows him to "see" with superhuman capabilities. But when the love of his life, fiery Elektra Natchios (Garner), is targeted by New York City's ruthless Kingpin of crime (Michael Clarke Duncan) and his deadly assassin Bullseye (Colin Farrell), Daredevil may be about to meet his match.
Among the many entries in the comic-book-movie frenzy, Fantastic Four is refreshing because it doesn't take itself too seriously. Characterization isn't too deep, and the action is a bit sparse until the final reel (like most "first" superhero movies, it has to go through the "how did we get these powers and what we will do with them" churn). But it's a good-looking cast, and original comic-book cocreator Stan Lee makes his most significant Marvel-movie cameo yet, in a speaking role as the FF's steadfast postal carrier, Willie Lumpkin. Newcomers to superhero movies might find the idea of a family with flexibility, strength, invisibility, and force fields a retread of The Incredibles, but Pixar's animated film was very much a tribute to the FF and other heroes of the last 40 years. The irony is that while Fantastic Four is an enjoyable B-grade movie, it's the tribute, The Incredibles, that turned out to be a film for the ages. --David Horiuchi
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is another entertaining romp for the Marvel-superhero franchise. Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd), is treading on thin ice when his fiancée, Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba), thinks he's more interested in a series of cosmic phenomena occurring around the earth than in the preparations for their upcoming wedding. Sorry, ladies, but Reed is right. The disturbances are caused by a surge of cosmic power from a mysterious being called the Silver Surfer (an all-CGI creation, modeled by Doug Jones and voiced by Laurence Fishburne), who not only zooms around the skies on his board, but also has enough power to fight the FF, sometimes by turning their own power against them, not only mixing up Sue and Reed, but also Johnny Storm, the Human Torch (Chris Evans), and Ben Grimm, the Thing (Michael Chiklis). But that's not the worst of it. The Surfer is only an opening act, a herald looking for planets that his master, Galactus, can consume for his sustenance.
With its initial installment, Fantastic Four established itself as the superhero franchise that didn't take itself too seriously, and that continues here. There are numerous moments of laugh-out-loud humor, and the most angst they suffer is whether Sue and Reed will ever be able to live a normal family life. (That, and whether they'll ever really get married, of course.) If Fantastic Four were a normal superhero franchise, the ending would be a knock-down drag-out war with Galactus, featuring the FF in a colossal battle for the planet Earth and the lives of everyone on it. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer just doesn't do that, and we don't quite get the payoff we expected. Effects are dazzling, but the Surfer looks too metallic, more like a skyriding T-1000 robot. --David Horiuchi
Darker than its popular comic-book predecessor Spider-Man, the $80 million extravaganza Daredevil was packaged for maximum global appeal, its juvenile plot beginning when 12-year-old Matt Murdock is accidentally blinded shortly before his father is murdered. Later an adult attorney in New York's Hell's Kitchen, Murdock (Ben Affleck) uses his remaining, superenhanced senses to battle crime as Daredevil, the masked and vengeful "man without fear," pitted against dominant criminal Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan) and the psychotic Bullseye (Colin Farrell), who can turn almost anything into a deadly projectile. Daredevil is well matched with the dynamic Elektra (Jennifer Garner), but their teaming is as shallow as the movie itself, which is peppered with Marvel trivia and cameo appearances (creator Stan Lee, Clerks director and Daredevil devotee Kevin Smith) and enough computer-assisted stuntwork to give Spidey a run for his money. This is Hollywood product at its most lavishly vacuous; die-hard fans will argue its merits while its red-leathered hero swoops and zooms toward a sequel. --Jeff Shannon