Credit: Weta

If you felt that Jessica Alba’s presence as Sue ”Invisible Woman” Storm in 2005’s Fantastic Four was a bit…invisible — well, you’re not alone. ”She wasn’t very layered,” Alba admits. ”Kinda had one emotion. Kinda the same in every scene.” For the new Fan Four film, Alba promises her character will have way more substance as she faces married life with Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd). Another relief: The sequel is not laden with the title Fantastic Four 2. ”Such a nerdy name,” Alba giggles. ”Rise of the Silver Surfer‘s more epic.”

And this franchise will take any PR help it can get. While the first Fan Four grossed over $150 million, the critics were unfriendly and fanboys downright hostile. (”[A] massive turd,” screamed one Ain’t It Cool review.) ”Our [story] was handicapped because it was an origin film,” explains Evans, who plays the Human Torch. To that end, returning director Tim Story promises ”more action” and a more villainous Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon). ”We weren’t able to really make him a badass [in the first film],” says Story. ”I wanted this time for him to always be scheming.”

Really, though, it’s the enigmatic and nefarious Silver Surfer — an all-CGI character captured Gollum-style by actor Doug Jones (Hellboy) — who will test this franchise’s bona fides. (As Alba says, ”Fans love him almost as a Jesus figure.”) Story promises he’s embracing the Surfer’s origins as an extraterrestrial herald for a planet-devouring creature known as Galactus. But wait: Given the Surfer’s power to transform matter at will, he’s pretty much impossible to defeat, no? ”Tell me about it,” moans Story. ”We did come up with a device which would weaken him. I’ll just say that at some point, we find a way to divide him from [his board].” Must’ve been one gnarly wave. (June 15)

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
  • Movie
  • 95 minutes