The Incredibles 2

Movie Review: The Incredibles 2 (2018) *Sadly, Far From Incredible*

The Incredibles 2The Incredibles debuted as the comic book movie genre was exploding into taking over the blockbuster film. Fourteen years later, I would rank only The Dark Knight ahead of it amongst the ranks of superhero films. Writer/Director Brad Bird had refused to make a sequel to The Incredibles, despite the film being more suited to it than many of the other films Pixar has revisited, because he said he wouldn’t until he had the right story.  After watching The Incredibles 2, I really wish he’d stuck to his guns because he never found that story.  While it’s visually stunning, The Incredibles 2 suffers from a deeply flawed script, troubled pacing and-for a Pixar film-a stunning lack of imagination.

The Incredibles 2The sequel begins exactly where the first film ended with the family of supers battling The Underminer.  It’s not long however before Elastigirl is whisked off to be the banner carrier for superhero rights, and the family remains separated for the majority of the film.  Mr. Incredible pulls Mr. Mom duty in this film dealing with role reversal, teenage drama, new math, and his youngest child’s exploding power set.  The separation, role-switching idea creates two vastly different films.  The Elastigirl storyline is something The Incredibles never was: dull, uninspired, and preachy.  While I don’t disagree with any of the roughly 15 points Bird attempts to make with his script, the end result of trying to make 15 different points is that you make none of them well and waste a lot of time doing it.

Screenslaver in The Incredibles 2

Man, does this film miss Syndrome.  The Screenslaver is a poor substitute for one of superherodom’s best villains.  The entire plot line for the villain is pretty shallow and you’ll figure out where it’s going about 40 minutes before the film gets there.  One of Brad Bird’s messages in the film is how entertainment has become shiny pabulum designed to distract the masses, which in a not-so-fun ironic way, is exactly how I would describe The Incredibles 2.  It’s very possible I’m being overly harsh, but I think the drop in quality between this film and the first is startling.

Jack-Jack and Mr. Incredible in The Incredibles 2

What’s good about the film?  All I can say is thank God for Jack-Jack.  The youngest superhero’s abilities were first exhibited at the end of the first film and explored further in an animated short.  I honestly think “The Continued Adventures of Jack-Jack” in more shorts would have been a better way to go than trying to squeeze out an entire new feature.  Every time JJ is onscreen, whether he be battling raccoons, chasing cookies, or bonding with “Auntie Edna”, he absolutely steals the film.  The heart of The Incredibles was always the family.  The sequel strays from that to its detriment.  Visually, the film is absolutely gorgeous.  The Incredibles 2 keeps to the art deco/comic book sensibilities of the first and showcases how far computer animation has come since 2004.

The-Incredibles-Featured

While there are enough entertaining moments in The Incredibles 2 to warrant a viewing, it certainly doesn’t have the play-on-a-loop rewatchability of the first film.  Honestly, this has more in common with Monsters University and Cars 3 than The Incredibles.  Those films, like this one, made such a slight impression that an hour after I left the theater I would be hard-pressed to tell you much that stuck with me.  Given that this was one of my most anticipated films of 2018, that is simply incredi-sad.

7.5/10

The Incredibles II Poster

 

14 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Incredibles 2 (2018) *Sadly, Far From Incredible*”

  1. Why in the world is there swearing in this film? Pixar’s at its best when it takes weird, high-concept, esoteric ideas and makes them accessible to all-ages (like Bao, the extremely odd short that precedes the film). They didn’t need to go there in a film that is going to have more kids watching it than adults. Pixar was better than that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bao is wonderful. It’s the Gingerbread Man. You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man. Except instead of literally running away, he’s growing up, leaving. And then, munch. It was weird, funny, touching, and contained a moment of genuine darkness. Plus, there was the whole strand about food being used as a family bond. I guess not everyone can relate to that, but I could. I loved the design work too, and everything was so tactile, especially the actual dumpling. Bao created a wellspring of goodwill in me, and I thInk it made me think more highly of the actual film.

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  2. Do you want to know something? Sequels used to mostly be subpar. Now, everything is franchise driven, based around the idea that innumerable sequels will happen. And guess what? Most sequels are still subpar. And here is the reason.

    Character is one aspect of storytelling. Characters are not created in vacuums by authors, then dropped into plots. An author might start with a character, but the process of writing involves integrating the character with everything else. At the end of the process, you hopefully wind up with well-rounded, multifaceted characters who serve the larger work.

    Now imagine taking that same set of characters, and deciding you are going to drop them, exactly as they are, into a different story. At that point you might as well have created the characters in a vacuum, for all the good the first installment will do you. It’s crazy. And to top it off, you don’t have the freedom to do anything you want with the characters to make it all work. No, it’s got to be kinda similar to the last time the characters were together in a story. Double crazy.

    This is why sequels almost never work. The strain of the effort always shows. This is why i always say the best sequels are always as different as possible from the originals. This is why I love Temple of Doom, Batman Returns, and Alien: Ressurection.

    Even when sequels are planned, you can only plan so many, and you can only plan them out in so much detail.

    Only if the money dries up will the current madness stop, and right now only SW is drying up.

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  3. OK, experiment. I am going to start typing without thinking first… now.

    Elastigirl discovers that Screenslaver is not real, but was invented by Winston and Evelyn because if superheroes were going to come back, Elastigirl needed a worthy nemesis to capture the public’s imagination. Elastigirl discovers that all the new supers were in on the nefarious plot the entire time. Winston and Evelyn seduce Elastigirl with the promise of a future where Dash, Violet and Jack Jack can live openly and free of shame, and in a moment of weakness Elastigirl decides to join in the Screenslaver ruse. She begins to pretend to match wits with the fake supervillain.

    Then her family discovers what she is doing, and they go to persuade her to stop, only to be captured by the forces of Winston and Evelyn, who try to have Bob and the children killed. But they fight thier way out of peril and confront Elastigirl, and she regains her moral compass.

    At that moment, Screenslaver…the real Screenslaver, who it turns out is really real…makes his presence known. Winston and Evelyn have been hypnotized for the entire movie. Screenslaver is actually a Lamont Cranston/Shadow type billionaire, trying to create a media empire based on superheroes and mass hypnosis, and he is irked that the Parrs have forced him to intervene on his own, without the use of proxies.

    He spirits Elastigirl away to his mansion, like a romantic gothic villain, and ties her up and plans to irrevocably scramble her brain to make her his “star” (he had not gone down this road before, because unhypnotized people are much more natural on camera). The film’s final battle sequence takes place inside the mansion, where it’s like a vast, dark funhouse.

    Jack Jack deals the final blow, finally settling on a power in the process.

    Any better at all?

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    1. Oh… this will help. The “Screenslaver,” the figure being used in the ruse, is a cheesey-looking villain, like a character from an old serial. When we meet the actual, genuine Screenslaver, he is much creepier, grittier, more realistic. He is never expressly called “Screenslaver,” but he is clearly a real-life version of the figure used in the deception.

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    2. Sorry Dave, I need to stop typing while tired. I was just trying to show that an anonymous person on the internet could come up with a plausible-sounding sequel idea, off the top of his head. Story ideas and plots are getting perfunctory in Hollywood. At least Incredibles 2 was paced in a tradition way, felt like it had a traditional story going on. But remember what I said. Raiders was the most influential film of the last four decades.

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      1. No, you made a good case for the sequel. I just think the wrong lessons from Raiders have been the ones that have stuck. I hate being disappointed by films, even though I’m much less anticipatory than I used to be. I seriously hate writing reviews that are negative in tone. It’s not what I want to be doing. But, as Syndrome said, if everyone is special, no one is. Gotta take the mediocre and bad and wait for the good. This year, though…may honestly be the weakest movie year of my life. I don’t think my top 10 list at the halfway point has ever been as mediocre as this one. Granted, there are a few weeks to go, but I turned down free tickets to see JW2 early because I honestly don’t care. I’ll see it, but not looking forward to writing another blah review.

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      2. This year is the low point of film as an art form. Sequels, remakes, reboots, and reimaginings have killed it. In order to take the right lessons away from Raiders, you have to be Spielberg. Otherwise, you’re going to destroy the art of storytelling, and character development, with your strings of action sequences.

        I think people are going to get tired of it, tune out, get totally and irrevocably numb, so do not lose hope.

        JW2 will suck. The question is: how badly will it suck? You can’t buy pre release publicity like that. I may not see it. The prospect of reliving TLW, but with Chris Pratt and that actress who failed to take her heels off in the last one, despite the abomination pursuing her (I forget her name)… that prospect is so unappealing, I really might skip it, unless you tell me there is a kernel in there that makes it worth the time, money, and shouting at the screen, because by now I think I despise InGen more than Anton Chigorh, Bill the Butcher, and Dennis Hopper’s character in Blue Velvet put together.

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  4. I love this place; the reviews, comment. My kinda people..
    We really enjoyed the first film. It was a near-perfect blend of superhero-animation-comedy, oh and family story, that completed our ‘Five a day’ of family entertainment nourishment. So, I was so looking forward to seeing this film.
    But instead, here I am sitting at the bloody laptop while daughter is off at some ‘strawberries and cream’ festival and wife is in the garden.
    I have a gut feeling that a committee had a ‘current trends’ brainstorming session and sent the list to the writers as a ‘must include’.
    And now my coffee is cold.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well first, always glad to have you. Second, I’m sure a lot of people will enjoy the film and disagree with my take. That’s totally fine. Be dull if everyone agreed with me. I just give my honest take but it’s just one opinion. I love Pixar for the most part and between what I know they are capable of and how much I loved the original, I was going to be tough to conquer. Not that I don’t stand by my opinion, but that’s all it is. I kind of hate writing anything but glowing reviews. The site tries to celebrate the best about film. So please go and feel free to disagree. I assure you I can take it lol.

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