Movie Review: “Incredibles 2”
After the Incredibles pursue and fail to catch a super-villain, authorities blame them for the destruction that occurred in the city during the chase. Sure, if the Incredibles had not intervened, the super-villain would have gotten away with a bank vault’s worth of money—which happened anyway—but if the villain was met with no resistance, property would not have been destroyed and lives would not have been at risk. With this latest incident, the government moves to make all supers illegal. Forced underground, Bob (Craig T. Nelson) and Helen Parr (Holly Hunter) weigh their options. They do not want to give up their days of being superheroes, but they also need to provide and take care of their family, which means living a stable life not running from the law.
Ready to re-enter the mundane work force, Bob is contacted by Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), who is putting together a covert operation to hopefully put supers back in a positive light. His company is very wealthy, he can give them new tech, new suits, and he can provide their family with a nice place to live. There is only one catch, for the first few missions, Winston only wants Elastigirl—Helen—as her powers result in less of a mess than when Mr. Incredible—Bob—is involved. While Helen struggles to protect the public from a dangerous new threat on her own, Bob must manage the day-to-day lives of their three young super-children—the youngest of which just so happens to developing an assortment of dangerous and uncontrollable powers.
The Pros & Cons
Winston Deavor (-4pts)
Mr. Incredible & The Kids (+10pts)
Pro: Elastigirl (+6pts)
After seeing Incredibles, I felt like we only got a taste of what Elastigirl was capable of. We saw her doing her thing in a team format, but with a variety of powers in the family, we did not get to see much of a variety in her abilities. In Incredibles 2, we saw her on solo-missions with the Elasticycle and it was awesome. The scenes with the Elasticycle were really cool, and seeing her adapting to different situations by using her powers in creative ways kept me interested in watching her character solo.
Elastigirl kicked ass in this movie, but I also liked her story. She wanted to be a super, but she also wanted to set a positive example for her children, so she did not want to break the law. It was also interesting to see how she handled getting the spotlight all to herself, as well as how she handled Bob's insecurities. I did not like the drama that the filmmakers forced into Bob and Helen's relationship, but they moved on from that pretty quickly, without it ever really being able to hurt the movie. At the end of the day, while the first movie did a poor job of showcasing what Elastigirl could do, this movie certainly made up for that.
Con: Winston Deavor (-4pts)
Winston Deavor seemed counter-productive to the story that was setup in the very beginning of the movie. At the beginning of the movie, we saw the Incredibles fail at capturing a super-villain. Once that happened, they were captured by authorities and forced underground, with supers then being illegal. Then, not even a day went by and Winston reached out to them to offer them a job as superheroes.
The movie setup a premise that would have been interesting to see. We have seen the “superhero ban” storyline before, but it would have been interesting to see how Bob and Helen handled being looked at under a microscope, while having three super-children in a world where using super powers was illegal. Instead, we got Winston who immediately undid that premise. The movie then went in a completely different direction and gave a plot that was less compelling, and Winston Deavor, who was very one-dimensional and uninteresting.
Pro: Mr. Incredible & The Kids (+10pts)
This was definitely my favorite part of the movie. The role reversal had Elastigirl fighting crime on her own, and Bob at home taking care of the kids. We have seen a lot of films with role reversals like this, but this one was made more interesting by adding several layers to Bob’s insecurities. He was insecure about his wife working while he was at home, but he was also jealous that she got to be a superhero while he did not. He was insecure that Winston Deavor wanted Elastigirl and her abilities, and not his own, but he was still proud of his wife. The most entertaining part of his insecurities was him trying to be a good father, while feeling like he was failing at every opportunity. Violet was dealing with boy problems, Dash was struggling with his math homework, and Jack Jack was developing a vast assortment of uncontrollable and unpredictable powers.
Bob had his work cut out for him while dealing with just Jack Jack, but he did his best at helping his other two children as well. The whole Jack Jack thing was absolutely hilarious. I was worried that his plethora of powers would be used as lazy plot devices, but that really only happened once. It was mostly just used for comedic purposes and it worked really well in that regard. My favorite relationship in this movie was probably Violet and Bob. Violet was a stereotypical hormonal teenager that was embarrassed at her father and blamed him for her ill-fortune. I will not go further into detail to avoid spoilers, but know that I enjoyed how this relationship played out.
Con: Goggles (-2pts)
I really hated these goggle things. The main villain of the movie was Screenslaver, and I will get to my issues with the character later, but Screenslaver was able to hypnotize and control people using screens. One of the ways the villain utilized this skill was by creating goggles with little screens on the inside of the lenses. Rather than using the villain’s skill in creative ways, the filmmakers resorted to generic brainwashing, which made the whole concept feel like a gimmick. Also, the main characters took way too long to realize that they should be destroying the goggles as they went, which became kind of frustrating to watch.
Pro: Action (+4pts)
The filmmakers handled the action sequences pretty well. There were a few sequences that involved at least ten characters with super abilities. This could have been overwhelming, but I thought the filmmakers were able to use those powers with enough variety to make for creative and entertaining moments. The various powers created an unpredictable tone during these scenes that will keep audiences engaged.
In some scenes, it was just the Incredibles taking on one villain. In other scenes there were a team of villains taking on a team of heroes. It could have felt cluttered, but the filmmakers mastered the ensemble action to create fresh-feeling action sequences that kept the movie exciting and fresh. Do not even get me started on Jack Jack’s action moments, because those were an absolute joy.
Con: Screenslaver (-5pts)
In some aspect, I liked the idea of Screenslaver because of the character’s potential. With a villain like this, the filmmakers could have made a statement regarding how many screens are around us in our day-to-day lives. I am not saying that this was the route the filmmakers had to go in, but it would have been nice if the movie explored the unique nature of this villain in one way or another. Instead the filmmakers did not do anything to of the sort.
We disappointingly ended up getting a generic villain that had the potential to be so much more. This was made worse by the character’s motivations. Incredibles had Syndrome whose motivations were compelling. Incredibles 2 had a villain who could have been equally captivating, but was made very generic due to the lack of development. It was one of those movies where the villain was pretty much bad for the sake of being bad, and it was simply very uninteresting. The focus needed to be on the heroes, sure, but I thought it was a bad move to almost entirely neglect the villain.
Grade: B- (84pts)
The long anticipated Incredibles 2 had a few issues, but it still ended up being a decently entertaining kids movie. The villain of the story, Screenslaver, had the potential of being another fascinating villain, but the filmmakers were either too afraid to take risks with the character or they made the active decision to neglect the character to focus on other things. Either way, this villain ended up being generic, predictable, and uninteresting. In addition to a lack-luster villain, the goggle concept felt like a lazy gimmick, and the character of Winston Deavor undermined the premise that was setup in the beginning of the story. Those were the movie’s major issues, but it certainly was not all bad.
I liked seeing Elastigirl on the frontlines, as we were able to see the adaptability of the character, as we were able to see a wide variety of what she was capable of doing with her powers. We got a lot of cool scenes with Elastigirl, but I enjoyed Mr. Incredible’s storyline even more. The character dealt with a ton of insecurities in this movie. He felt inadequate for being unwanted as a superhero, and he felt inadequate as a father to each of his three children. Combine that with the overwhelmingly entertaining Jack Jack, and some very well-done ensemble action sequences, and what we were left with was a decently entertaining kids movie.