Let's get this out of the way: Yes, the sequel is much better than the original, which was universally panned. That doesn't mean that FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER reaches Spider-Man or Superman Returns heights -- but it also doesn't take itself as seriously. At 92 minutes, it's a short, easy-to-follow adventure that will amuse older kids without scaring younger ones.
There's no internal monologue, no introspective brooding a la Peter Parker or Kal-El. The foursome work together, live together, and do what's best for the common good -- well, except for Johnny, who sometimes lets his hubris get in the way. They also have fun doing what they do: Johnny even suggests that they attach sponsors' logos to their skin-tight uniforms, like racecar drivers. It's funny, and in today's celeb-obsessed society, quite believable that superheroes -- especially ones who look like Alba, Evans, and Gruffudd -- would get corporate endorsements, hounded by the paparazzi, and followed by the tabloids.
As a film series, the improved Fantastic Four looks poised for another outing. That might annoy hardcore fanboys, but it's just fine for families who don't mind their superhero mythology a little lighter and less intense.