This is gonna be one of my more controversial reviews.
I did not think Incredibles 2 was incredible. I didn’t even think it was that good. As its’ own movie, it’s an average animated movie with little style to it beyond what the previous movie established. Compared to the first one, though? Oh boy. It’s bad. It’s shockingly inept at doing the same things the last movie did. Why is that? Let me tell you.
I feel I have to clarify something before we continue: My overall score of this movie is not due to the quality of the first movie. It’s a reflection of how I feel the movie did on its’ own, as its’ own entity.
That said, let’s talk about the first Incredibles.
The first Incredibles is great. It’s a superhero movie that looks at an interesting dynamic that not a lot of other superhero movies had before or have since: family. It did so with uncommon intelligence and realism that a good deal of live-action family movies fail to capture. The family drama was especially well-done, watching at again after ten years adds so much more to it. As a kid, I didn’t catch any of the meaning behind the infidelity subplot. I was impressed with how bold the filmmakers were in their portrayal of adult themes like this. On top of that, it had good, suspenseful action, fun characters, and a great villain.
Incredibles 2 has one of those. Barely.
The one I’m referring to is fun characters. This movie retains some of the family charm that the first movie had, but at a cost. The drama that I loved from the first movie is almost nonexistent, save for a couple scenes in the beginning. This is not a bad thing on it’s own, but it means that an element of the Incredibles franchise is gone. That means that everything else has to be great to compensate. Unfortunately, it’s not. What we get instead is a lazy, nostalgia-baiting, predictable cash-in on the success of the first movie.
What do I mean when I say lazy? I don’t mean the animation, the animation is amazing. It’s stupidly detailed and well-composed to the point where I wonder if they were working on this movie from the moment that the first Incredibles was released. The music is worth praise as well, they have the same composer as the first movie and he knocks it out of the park again. I mean that the plot and dialogue are lazy to the point of frustration. There’s a scene where two characters we’ve just met explain their motivations and why they’re doing what they’re doing for five minutes. The whole movie is like this. Is this bad? Not necessarily, but it’s incredibly lazy. It would be like Dash in the first movie saying “I act out because I feel the need to prove myself through my powers, and the fact that we can’t use our superpowers is incredibly frustrating for that reason.” It’s far more interesting to see that play out in scenes like the one where he puts a thumbtack on his teacher’s chair rather than it just being told to us. The same is true here.
Let’s get to how the movie’s story is told. The movie is incredibly predictable. The moment a certain character came on screen, my friend leaned over to me and said “That’s the villain, isn’t it?” He was right. If you think you know what’s gonna happen, and you have a shred of uncertainty about it, throw it away. There are no surprises in sight. You’re sitting there waiting for them to get to the big reveal (that you 100% know is coming), but you’re forced to sit through some pretty bad pacing. The first act takes up most of the movie, then the second act lasts for ten minutes, and the third act is the rest. This makes the plot stall, and it there are long stretches of time where it felt like nothing was progressing. This makes everything with Elastigirl begin to feel tedious, especially with the villain reveal being as obvious as it is. This is unfortunate, because her plotline started out really interestingly. She’s chosen over Bob and Lucius to be the main campaigner for superhero legality, and her first mission is to stop a runaway train. I like this scene, and I like the setup it gives the main villain. A mysterious message flashes on the train conductor’s screen that reads “welcome back, Elastigirl.” That was interesting. It’s a shame the rest failed to follow through on that interest, and The Screenslaver turned out to be a disappointingly bland villain.
Something else that I wanted to mention that ties back to the lazy point is Jack-Jack. A lot of humor in this movie revolves around Jack-Jack’s antics as a baby, meaning that there aren’t nearly as many written jokes. They just relied on Jack-Jack. Why put effort into writing jokes when you can just have the baby do something? It was funny to begin with, but it got old as they continued to use him. Something else that got old was the sheer amount of powers he has. He seemed to be getting a new one in each scene. It even got to the point where they introduced a new power just because they couldn’t figure out how to write their way out of a corner they’d backed themselves into. It made the action scenes with him feel tensionless, because it felt like they could just come up with a new power on the fly and everything would be fine. The rest of the action is similarly tensionless, bar the train scene.
I guess I enjoyed myself overall, even if my review hasn’t particularly conveyed that. I’ve been told I can be too negative about movies, and I guess that’s true. I feel like people will have that reaction to this review especially. “It’s just a kid’s movie” is something I hear a lot when I’m criticizing a movie like this. If you really believe that I shouldn’t be so hard on this movie because it’s a kid’s movie, and that it’s not meant for me, and it doesn’t matter because kids are stupid, I have this to say to you:
That also means you should stop treating it like a masterpiece if you’re willing to excuse flaws because the movie’s made for stupid people. The same is true about movies like Transformers and 2012. Stop excusing what this movie does wrong if you won’t do the same for anything else.
Up next: A double feature.Connect to me