I always loved The Incredibles, having originally seen it twice in theaters, something rare for me, because it met my peak of superpower fascination as a twelve-year-old. Today as a film studies undergrad, I continue to cherish how it retells classic familiar superhero tropes through a bleak commentary on legitimate discrimination at a time of nuclear threat. Second to Toy Story, it stands as my favorite Pixar motion picture. So right when Pixar announced this sequel, I knew it would become nothing more than unnecessary, lazy fan service.
Turns out I guessed correctly.
Now I shall go on to explain why I hated Incredibles 2: Rather than realistic revision of classic comic book tropes, it embraces them, right down to the villain’s predictable secret identity. Unfortunately, it goes beyond mere unoriginality; more like serious inconsistency. I mean, hero work is said to remain illegal, except how did this family of supers steer clear past prison bars three months after destroying Syndrome’s Omnidroid v.10? Even more noticeable, the family’s lack of knowledge about Jack-Jack’s powers until about midway through the film contradicts the previous feature’s climax.
I’ve voiced before serious disdain towards superhero flicks, but I do believe it can be done right with the right level of care. Heck, fourteen years ago; besides SpongeBob, my favorite show was Teen Titans--I even made each new episode an event by dragging my Dad into watching them all with me (since I thought he might have enjoyed it too). Those fantastical beings’ characterizations were consistent, instead of carelessly thrown around like here.
Plus, it also contradicts its own message. The main villain, “Screenslaver,” says TV stops our communication, with no thanks to supers, yet here these screenwriters go freely celebrating supers on a giant screen! On a personal level, Bob lies to his wife without facing punishment, making him less sympathetic. At a deeper level, a hollow liberal “Make All Supers Legal Again” act drives the key narrative without ever addressing the real meat of the discrimination issue it attempts to talk about.
You may think, “Hey! It’s written AND directed by Brad Bird… who gave us the first addition!” Well, remember Tomorrowland? Keep anticipating his eventual comeback folks. Just like that George Clooney embarrassment three years ago, miniscule originality comes out of his newest project, he rather just copies other iconic comic book movie scenes. One example: an early action sequence copies Spider-Man 2’s train stopping to far weaker results. Another example: the villain’s key weapon, mind control, has been overdone to death in other superhero plots.
Okay, pop quiz: what do kids love to watch more than anything?
A) Intellectually stimulating educational programs.
B) A Mister Rogers documentary.
C) Julia, the first autistic Muppet.
D) A baby fighting a raccoon bandit.
Jack-Jack’s screen time tops Dash or Violet combined, who unlike the baby go through growing pains necessary to the story. Consequently, Jack-Jack turns each sad moment suddenly funny under a surface-level Marvel mentality that hurts the entire viewing experience.
Although to be fair, it’s understandable why most people love this sequel to The Incredibles. The foul script’s blame shouldn’t go on the reprising voice actors, since Holly Hunter does act well through her vocal work to match Elastigirl’s new exhilaration of feeling fifteen years younger, while Craig T. Nelson delivers a fantastic common core joke perfectly. Beyond the voices, there is some value here and there, such as Bob’s amends to become a good pop, and a memorable spectacle that pits Elastigirl against someone inside a brainwashing room, six walls blaring hypnotic swirls, her eyes closed for the whole fight. Violet also gets a fair share of great hand-to-hand combat worth her pre-established adolescent problems. Though Dash doesn’t do much other than attempt math homework, possibly to make his feeble motivations less obvious.
Like the imbalance between the attention of the characters, the odd arrangement of the two subplots between the mother and father rattles both by a choppy tone, building up to a forgetful visual-driven climax. From the first act, Helen’s growth literally falls back at square one; her letting Dash and Violet help still raises her skeptic fear as if nothing happened since the first movie. It barely can even be called quality family entertainment: some dialogue says the word, “damn.” Inappropriate for a PG rating!
If anything, the hopping lamp company’s gradual downfall into sequel madness only made me further appreciate their older works. We deserve better than an ingenuine nostalgia commercial. Sorry.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
The Incredibles 2. Disney. Web. <https://movies.disney.com/incredibles-2>.
Weldon, Glen. “Don't Wait Up: Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter) prepares to do some derring-do, leaving Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) to his stay-at-home-superdad duties, in The Incredibles 2.” Digital image. Monkey See. Pixar, 13 Jun 2018. Web. <https://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/2018/06/13/618908317/retrofuturistic-the-incredibles-2-is-more-retro-than-futuristic>.