For a dissenting opinion on FF2 and subsequent discussion see Jim Roeg’s always insightful (and spoiler-filled) analysis.
On a related note, I was reading an interview with Brian De Palma about his oft-mocked film Mission to Mars, which I finally saw recently, and think his comments are equally relevant to the Fantastic Four who are themselves, after all, astronauts:
Bill Fentum: I think it’s one of those films where it’s best to go in viewing it in the same way that the children in the audience are able to see it.
Brian De Palma: Absolutely, absolutely. And the thing about it is — that’s what these guys are like. I mean, I know it’s hard to imagine a world with men like astronauts, who have this purity about them, but that’s what I experienced in the times I spent with them.
And also, they have that kind of starry-eyed look, because they’ve seen things that we will never see. They’ve been out there, hanging off the shuttle somewhere, fixing something on one of the satellites, and they’ve been looking around the universe.
They come back with this look in their eyes! There’s something magical about it. And that was what I was attempting to show, with Gary Sinise’s journey through the material. These guys have been somewhere and done things that no man has ever done before.
One of my favorite moments in FF2 was when the general asked Reed what he thought about the silver UFO, and Reed passed the photo to the Thing for his opinion. I did a double-take because it took me a second to remember that Ben was himself a test-pilot-cum-astronaut, a fictional equivalent of Alan Shepherd.
I think the fact that the FF is a family of astronauts — that unnaturally optimistic if not naive breed — somewhat accounts for the characters’ upbeat attitude (and the film’s tone) despite the impending doom of the planet. It also possibly excuses the do-goodism of their Team America-like day-saving from London to Shanghai.