The lead up to the release of Incredibles 2 wasn’t easy. Because of its delays in the foreign markets due to its coincidence with the World Cup, I’ve heard a few opinions on the movie before the chance to see it myself. All of them overwhelmingly positive, some colleagues calling it as good as the original. Sadly this wasn’t the case for me. Quite the opposite. I thought it was an underwhelming family flick and after some digging, I wasn’t alone. Today, I wanna share with you where the disappointment stems from for me and those alike.
Elastigirl was my favorite family member from the original. I still like her, but there was something less inspiring about Helen this time around. It’s as if the character direction bases itself upon the writer’s unceremonious curiosity rather than a whimsical undertaking. Ironically enough her key role comes off as the dullest. Aside from the epic train sequence, her uncompelling journey carries all the plot progression, dwindling the energy in the entirety of Incredibles 2.
Aside from that, her behavior makes no sense in a number of scenes. She has a problem with the kids going on a mission when they were on one in the opening. She undergoes a major change that doesn’t affect her behavior and mindset. The only thing she does in response is call herself a hypocrite and that’s about it. And in the last act, she hesitates to continue her chase alone when she’s already been doing that for the entire film.
I’d classify all these examples as a case of making it seem like a character is undergoing a change of inner-conflict without actually doing it.
The Aimless Household
The heart of the film is nowhere else but with the family at home, interacting with one another acting like a….well, a family. Unfortunately, these parts do nothing in terms of the story which by now you can see where I have gripes. Violet’s only purpose is boys problems, Dash’s story arc is math problems. And Bob Parr was by far the biggest victim of the plot, and I’m not even talking about the swap of gender roles.
He contributes to all the heartwarming scenes, but not without acting out of character first. Often he would overreact to act as the butt of jokes instead of the carrier of them. A perfect example of joke delivery comes from Jack-Jack who is funny through the way he acts. Quirks should happen because it is within the nature of the character. The first movie seemed to know that about Bob. Here he still has his anger issues, only hyper-embroidered.
There is a clear contrast between the world of Elastigirl and the one of her family. The line eventually blurs during the final act. The first Incredibles found a way to weave through everyone’s story that felt very much in relation to another. Incredibles 2 just decides to add more heroes with names I can’t remember as a substitute for the people we care for — with the exception of Voyd.
Rinse and Repeat
Another gripe I had with the movie was its repetition of things we’ve already been through. The public already had their perception made upon the return of supers. Violet earned the confidence to arrange a date with Tony. Mr. Incredible already learned to let others take the steering wheel. The parents already entrusted their kids to fight evil with them.
All this happened at the end of the Incredibles, yet we’re acting like it didn’t. That’s partly why they’re all oversimplified versions of what we loved about them like in the case of Bob, Helen, and Dash who now wants to press buttons with a disregard for human life. The only character who finds any further development is Frozone who was finally able to find the super suit on his own.
The villain is the worst thing about this movie. Suddenly all the evil schemes require convolution and low chances of succeeding. The terrible motivation of the villain makes no sense. She doesn’t want the help of supers because they’d make regular people too dependent on them based on one specific scenario that happened because heroes were illegal, which is what she’s trying to do. She also wants to make sure their legal status doesn’t go through by first raising the chances of making that happen.
They do the typical thing of the hero figuring it all out in front of the villain. You know, since we need to capture Elastigirl? Evelyn (yes, that was her name) brings to the table a lot of badly written lines. I think they were trying to make her cool and laid back to hide the painfully obvious reveal. I won’t attempt to compare her to Syndrome in any shape or form because it’s not even about that. There isn’t much to point out other from the sheer shallowness.
The Third Act Armageddon
The worst part of the movie, second to the villain of course. Brad Bird gave up and employed the laziest ploy to impose the intended effect: mind control. Usually, the point of using mind control is to do a spectacular fight between two characters who wouldn’t normally brawl. Well, we didn’t even get that. The Elastigirl and Mr. Incredible fight would’ve been something enticing even if the movie didn’t deliver, but we just got couple punches and a kiss.
Luckily enough Bird didn’t forget to use the main purpose of the sloppy tactic, finally giving non-utilized characters something to do out of nowhere. The act made me realize this movie tries to be many things, so many that I can’t name you a single theme. The first one was about trusting your family, letting them take charge. That was the dynamic between Helen with Bob and the kids with their mother. This one does none of that. It, again, does the opposite.
Instead of an epic family team-up, Elastigirl went in alone for the final confrontation. The reason was that it was “her mission”. Why would Violet tell her that? Did I miss another out-of-place scene where the kids had a problem with her going solo? There were social commentaries throughout the movie, but none of them are part of the bigger picture so they can’t be considered the theme. None of them go beyond their specific feature.
I’m trying to make sense out of the zero repercussions the heroes faced at the end after threatening the world on live TV when they got easily rebuked at the beginning for saving the day. We waited 14 years, we could’ve waited a year more to fix the nonsensical screenplay.
Brad Bird said he made a sequel only for the reason to dive deep into Elastigirl in her new role and Jack-Jack. You could tell since the story caters to those two things. That didn’t mean nothing came good of it.
Jack-Jack was a show stealer and made everyone at my theater laugh. The way his powers unraveled was brilliant, his interactions made me like him more than before. Surprisingly enough, this is the funniest Pixar movie to date.
I don’t remember the last time since I laughed out loud so much. Most of it came from the family interactions. I could watch an entire feature following the everyday lives of the Parrs if it wasn’t trying to also juggle a different and more diverting storyline. Almost every Elastigirl story point halted my full engagement.
In the beginning, my inner-child woke up and I couldn’t stop grinning until 30 minutes past the start. The crisp and textured animation really brought out the most from these characters visually. Eventually, the influx of negatives arrived.
Let’s Get Something Straight
This franchise means a lot to me. There’d be a time when I’d watch the original once a year on my birthday. It’s one of my favorite Pixar movies and probably deserves a spot somewhere on my Top 20 if not the Top 10 movies of all-time. This, however, is not why it was a letdown.
I can take a sequel being not as good as its predecessor if the gap isn’t too wide. If anything, the reason why I still care about this one is that it shares connections with the first.
Another go-to opinion is that I’ve built up my expectations for 14 years to a point where they can’t live up to it. This would also be false. My expectations were quite moderate. The long wait dusted off my energized kid-self (that sounds depressing).
Superhero fatigue also has nothing to do with it. If anything, I view Incredibles as its own thing, that’s not part of the superhero craze. The genre wasn’t enough to earn my interest. The fact that it’s a sequel to a world of beloved characters is.
The Pixar Decline
I could continue on with the 60s aesthetic’s departure or annoying character choices, but I’ve come to realize a lot has changed about Pixar in the last few years. It feels as if their last great movie was Toy Story 3. Many have been vocal of their animated sequels, for good reasons, yet I am under the impression their originals suffer the same fate. Brave, The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out and Coco are at best decent movies.
I’ve rewatched some of the pre-2011 releases and it’s not my memories imagining it. There are plenty of modern movies that do a better job at what Pixar is now. Almost every new movie feels like an empty attempt to make me cry. Incredibles 2 didn’t have any of those elements, but it did artificially try to hit a nerve with me at an emotional level. Knowing they’re reaching back to my favorite franchise, Toy Story, when the story already wrapped up tells me Pixar has changed…and not for the better.
Sorry for the hot takes. I said it was going to be uncensored, did I not?
Thank you for reading! What’s your hot take on Incredibles 2? Comment down below!
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