Against all reason, I'm actually looking forward to Fanstasic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. I've never really loved the comics--they've always seemed two steps behind in their evolution out of '80s superhero cheese, and even when my favorite writer, Brian Michael Bendis, took a crack at the first Ultimate Fantastic Four story arc, I was thoroughly unimpressed. And as far as the first F4 film goes, well, I've never walked out of a film before, but that one was certainly walk-outable.

Nevertheless I found myself getting rather giddy yesterday when I stumbled onto some pictures of the new Fantasticar. And in case we were all still doubting superhero patriotism after Cap's demise, fear not--it's a Dodge.

In the film--and according to DaimlerChrysler's website--this stingray-inspired vehicle can go up to 550 miles per hour, can reach an altitude of 30,000 feet, and can separate into three sections, each capable of the same feats. Not since the Batman Begins-mobile has a movie prop looked so enticing (although I still maintain that the Tumbler needed some sort of bumper to protect those front wheels).

The car helps, but it isn't the real reason I'm looking forward to a Fantastic sequel. There was one big problem with the first film: If you accepted that, as a Fantastic Four movie, it was going to be cheesy, and that as an origin film, it was going to be a bit slow-going, there was still never any real danger to get excited about. A superhero's job is to put themselves on the line to defend the common man. But in F4 the only danger was to the heroes themselves who were, by the way, portrayed by some pretty shaky actors. I mean, who really cared what happened to them? And why, at the end of the film, did the city of New York thank them for saving their own skins?

You can bet the acting in Rise is still going to be unremarkable, and you can bet there are still going to be plenty of family-fun moments to make cynical fangeeks like myself shudder. But with the herald of the planet-epicurist Galactus taking a shine to planet Earth, you can be sure that at the very least the public terror threat has been raised to orange--that is, until the Silver Surfer turns good and then we're back to square blue.

Between the Silver Surfer and the car, there might just be enough hope to go see this film.


Ok, fine. I'm really just hoping for another shot of Jessica Alba in her undies.

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