Vividly animated and scored with a potential-rife script but weak villain in juxtaposition with extreme politicization in what’s supposed to be a kids’ movie ’90’s babies waited 14 years for, Incredibles 2 is a massively disappointing sequel to the fantastic original. 4/10.
Plot Synopsis: The family of superheroes is back in “Incredibles 2” – but this time Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is in the spotlight, leaving Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell) and Dash (voice of Huck Milner) to navigate the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life. It’s a tough transition for everyone, made tougher by the fact that the family is still unaware of baby Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers. When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) must find a way to work together again—which is easier said than done, even when they’re all Incredible.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
14 years: That’s a long time, and how long anyone who saw The Incredibles in theaters back when it released in 2004 has waited to finally see the sequel. One of my favorite Pixar movies and a cool family spin on the biggest superheroes from Marvel and DC (Bob being a Superman/Batman mash-up, Dash being obviously in reference to The Flash, Elastigirl being homage to DC’s Plastic Man (1941, who Marvel copied with Mr. Fantastic in 1961 like many of their heroes, sorry not sorry), and Violet as Marvel’s Invisible Woman) with bold direction, phenomenal voice acting and animation, a worthy villain, and something fresh and new to say about the superhero genre, I was hyped to see if a sequel could live up to the achievement that was The Incredibles. Unfortunately, after the over-a-decade wait, we are given sloppy seconds and a film that almost insultingly hijacks an otherwise-promising script to make political commentary and try to influence kids (this is a kids’ movie) worse than the film’s okay villain did. Vividly animated and scored with a potential-rife script but weak villain in juxtaposition with extreme politicization in what’s supposed to be a kids’ movie ’90’s babies waited 14 years for, Incredibles 2 is a massively disappointing sequel to the fantastic original.
There are many things wrong with Incredibles 2, but I’ll start with its positives. For one, the animation is absolutely fantastic. A showcase of how far the genre and technology have come since the early days of 2004, the animation and CGI in Incredibles 2 is top-notch, vivid, emotive, advanced in freeform, and about as good as you could ask for. The score is also, well, incredible as Michael Giacchino is back from the first film and delivers even more triumphant and majestic horn-laden themes that just scream comic book superhero and diversifies as well. You can tell that the filmmakers at least have an appreciation for the superhero genre with all the plentiful Easter Eggs they throw in like the Incredimobile and manor they move to (obviously a Batmobile and Batman/Wayne Manor reference even highlighted by them saying “I bought it from an eccentric billionaire who came and went all the time” and having a tech cave), and the new heroes having clear look-alikes to heroes like Hawkman, Vibe, Black Lightning, Magneto, etc.
Also, the MVP of the movie: Jack-Jack!! A hilarious addition that steals the show and is an intriguing conglomeration of countless heroes’ powers (from Superman’s laser vision to extradimensional travel), Jack-Jack alone pushes the movie into more lukewarm positive territory. His fight scene with the Raccoon was just genius and one of the highlight moments of the movie! The villain in Screenslaver is also decently intriguing, not in her reveal which was so obvious even young kids in the audience seemed to call or ‘feminist’ (the wrong kind of feminist, as discussed later) motivations, but in her backstory with a well-written turning point that can be perceived both ways for both siblings’ takes on it and in her “powers” being able to mind control and use dizzying vfx that, although seizure-warning deserved, were pretty dazzling and admittedly cool in things like the fight scenes and hand-to-hand combat scene in her lair set-up.
The opening act was also quite good thankfully picking up right where Incredibles 1 left off with the Underminer fight (although what tf happened to him the rest of the movie?). The fight scenes in the movie, although too few and far in-between, are spectactular and honestly even rival some of the bigger live-action ones from DC and Marvel, and the cinematography and set design is great too, pushing the envelope with things like noir-laiden cityscapes to underwater superyachts. Finally, the final act is great as it finally gets back to what the audience wanted after a bizarre and uncomfortable detour in the middle act: the family fighting together. The big family fight scene on the yacht is difficult to execute and incredible, at least letting you leave the theater on a good note, trying to exploit the cinema-cheat code Disney has been really harping on lately of including blasphemous stuff in the first 2/3 and just ending on a good note so that most moviegoers will just forgive/forget the other problems before. Not on my watch!
Now, the cons, and all of them pale in comparison to the biggest one: the film is very political. Even as someone who leans left in their views, the in-your-face way they shoved talking points down the audiences’ throats was bizarre, uncomfortable, rude, out-of-place, and a sad reflection of a world where studios care more about political correctness than art. The way they pushed Elastigirl in front of everyone else and made it basically a movie about her with (some Incredibles), repeatedly harping on the fact that she and all women do all jobs better than ALL men – doing things like painting Bob (and father figures by extension) as complete idiots who can not do one job a mother can do right or as good and javs like featured commercials that say “so easy that even HE can do it” is laughable and misandristic.
What makes it even worse is that this is a kids‘ movie they’re pushing this stuff in! The fact that they made audiences wait 14 years for this, only to hijack the script and turn it into a political lecture on Disney’s views on social justice issues is just sickening to me, and like Screenslaver’s brainwash plot in real life. That brings me to Screenslaver, a mildly intriguing and potential-filled villain whose reveal is just plan weak and obvious and goes out like a punk in classic Disney/Marvel fashion with the helium gag turning a should-be serious moment into a joke. Aside from that, the Elastigirl storyline does not even resolve well or have a point besides “feminism,” and they never even say what happened or give Underminer a good exit or even more than a couple of minutes of screen time after the ending of Incredibles 1 is a pretty major copout that should’ve been handled better.
All in all, I really wanted to love Incredibles 2 as much as I did the first one, and there were things I were like the animation, score, Jack-Jack, and villain’s potential. However, Disney’s inclination to hijack otherwise potentially-great scripts and turn them into political correctness lectures and please the very few moviegoers who actually care about social justice issue referencing over the actual movie ruined it for me and makes this a movie (unlike the brilliant first one) that I will never be seeing again. Vividly animated and scored with a potential-rife script but weak villain in juxtaposition with extreme politicization in what’s supposed to be a kids’ movie ’90’s babies waited 14 years for, Incredibles 2 is a massively disappointing sequel to the fantastic original. 14 years for this, sigh; Hopefully, it’ll be another 14 years or longer ’til the next one.
Official CLC Score: 4/10