Had I seen it before: No.
What IMDb says: Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) is left to care for the kids while Helen (Elastigirl) is out saving the world.
Requirements fulfilled: No new requirements fulfilled
Why I picked it: I mean, I was gonna go see it either way. Why not make it part of the blogging festivities?
What I liked about it: I really enjoyed that The Incredibles 2 gave us a lot of time to just watch the Incredibles being a normal family, specifically watching Mr. Incredible try to be a stay-at-home-dad. We really don’t get any of this in the first movie, as Mr. Incredible has relatively little screen time with his children in the first place, and even less screen time that isn’t action sequences. Since the first movie was primarily about Mr. Incredible going on adventures while Elastagirl watched the kids, I thought flipping those roles was a smart move and helped the movie feel fresh.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of Daddy Day Care since I just watched it a couple days ago, and once again it was heartwarming to watch a father who initially felt bitter about not having a job grow closer to his children. Smart move releasing this one Father’s Day weekend. I see you, Pixar.
I think this plotline will also work wonders in terms of giving parents something to latch onto and make the film less of a “just for kids” movie. I could tell the parents in the theater were able to sympathize with the sleep deprivation and lack of AA batteries.
On a related note, I really liked their exploration of the Jack Jack character. While trying to avoid spoilers, I will say that Jack Jack was arguably one of the biggest question marks I had going into The Incredibles 2, one of the subjects I was most excited to learn more about. They found ways to expand this character that were humorous, entertaining, and drove the plotline forward.
There are also a lot of really fun, creative action sequences throughout the movie. It’s not until relatively late in the first movie that all the family members are reunited and actually able to fight as a team, so it was nice that the sequel gave us a little bit more of this. The movie picks up immediately after the end of the first one, thrusting us right into an action sequence that presents all sorts of different challenges and allows everyone to use their unique powers. Several new superheroes are introduced as well, and their powers also leant themselves to fun action.
What I didn’t like: I mentioned yesterday in my write up of the first movie that I thought they had an interesting character arc for their villain. So it kind of pains me to report that I really didn’t like the villain of The Incredibles 2. For one, I thought the route they took was rather predictable. Furthermore, the motivations here were hard for me to buy. There’s a moment where the villain looks at Elastagirl and says menacingly “and then superheroes will be illegal forever.”
The thing is…. superheroes were already illegal. While there is a scheme to make them legal, I can’t shake the feeling that keeping them illegal shouldn’t have required a counterscheme as elaborate as the one we got. There’s just something about aggressively maintaining the status quo that makes for stupid movie villains. Imagine if Thanos was like “Ok, so I think the population is fine where it’s at, just no one have more than two kids.” That’s not nearly as interesting, is it? I’m not 100% sure what our villain’s endgame is, what I THINK it is seems like the status quo, and the stakes are ambiguous. I am displeased by this.
I also feel like the movie wasn’t really about anything. Early on, it looked like it had the potential to make some really powerful message about how morality and legality should not be conflated and I was here for it. But the most we get of this is a heated discussion between Mr. Incredible and Elastagirl within the first ten minutes. It never pushes past that.
Inside Out is about learning to deal with sadness and how sadness shapes who we are. Finding Dory is about embracing people in spite of their flaws without trying to “fix” them. Coco is about remembering ancestors as well as the desire to be remembered ourselves. The Incredibles is about embracing unique talents to make the world a better place. The Incredibles 2 is about… um. I guess embracing unique talents to make the world a better place… 2? I just feel like the movie lacked the emotional core that other Pixar movies have largely because I can’t figure out what kind of statement it was trying to make about the real world.
Will I watch it again: Potentially? I would say The Incredibles 2 is still good, but definitely in more of a fun kids movie sorta way. That’s fine, because ultimately that’s what it’s intended to be, but I know that Pixar is capable of blowing my mind with their storytelling. They bring great concepts to the table and oftentimes execute those concepts impeccably. I am not exaggerating when I say that some of my all-time favorite movies ever are Pixar. When I know that Pixar* can captivate me, take me on an emotional journey that pushes me to the edge of my seat, makes me laugh and cry, and make some pertinent point about the universe? Well… I can’t help but be a bit disappointed by “good in a fun kids movie sorta way.” So, yes I’m a little bit bitter that this didn’t reach the levels of Finding Dory or Toy Story 3 and I might hold a grudge for a while and avoid it.
On the bright side though, it’s not Cars 2 either.
*Ok, Pete Docter.