By: Felix Felicis (Four Beers) –
There are things I’d wait five minutes for. There are things I’d wait a year for. And there are (a very few) things I’d wait one and a half-ish decades for. The latter includes season five of Schitt’s Creek (hopefully it doesn’t take *that* long), Channing Tatum’s everlasting love, and/or Jeff Goldblum gift wrapped on my doorstep with retrograde amnesia and a willingness to be called “daddy” whilst being nursed back to health. Incredibles 2? Kind of doesn’t make that list for several reasons. It’s not bad, but… much like a refried burrito with a little bit of residual freezer burn, it’s not exactly gonna change your life a whole lot, either.
Incredibles 2 begins a heartbeat after The Incredibles ends so I hope you’re current on the events of the first film. The First Family of supers launches into a destructive battle with The Mole (Mole Man? The Underminer? Whatever.) and manages to save the day but, lacking a stellar publicist, are branded the culprits due to bad PR. Drop in a wealthy benefactor with questionable motives to make supers more palatable to the public, some slightly setup branding opportunities and an evil *villain with a name so punny there had to be team of dads locked in someone’s basement coming up with that shit (“Screenslaver” controls people via technological brainwashing, also there’s a *twist to the villain you’ll probably figure out fifteen minutes into the movie – unless you’re a comatose root vegetable or emotional support hamster someone snuck into the movie).
There’s also a gender-swapped lead as Elastigirl takes on the spotlight super role for the First Fam, leaving dad to single parent that shit. Blah blah men struggle with being the primary caregiver blah blah light patriarchal stereotypes get overcome as Mr. Incredible takes a backseat to Elastigirl blah Jack Jack has powers blah evil speedboat blah blah more Frozone please. The End.
It was fun to see The Incredibles back together again, and to see a new group of supers introduced. The action sequences were also sufficiently dope. The incomparable Edna Mole (who reminds me A WHOLE LOT of an animated Anna Wintour) cannot be missed. Honestly, can we get/could we have gotten a spinoff Edna Mole movie? Take my money. Just take it if you can give me that.
Incredibles 2 was, at best, three-quarters baked (more like half if we’re gonna be 100). This flick was supposed to premier June 2019 but, for some reason, swapped spots with Toy Story 4: Seriously Why Is This Still Relevant. It might’ve taken fourteen years to make but Incredibles 2 still could’ve used an extra year to develop a better plot and more genuine character arcs… also tighter pacing. But hey, that teaser vid before the film where the voice cast thanked us for waiting fourteen years for a sequel didn’t feel AT ALL like a slightly desperate plea to our nostalgia for the first flick that they weren’t IN ANY WAY hoping would bolster this one across the box office finish line.
Incredibles 2 wasn’t a bad movie. It wasn’t a great movie, either. I2 was decent. Riding on the coattails of the first flick (lightning in a family-friendly bottle), it was going to be a difficult act to follow under the best of circumstances. That said, the entire movie felt like one big inhalation that never quite got over the hump to exhale (shockingly one of the few times I’ve ever used the word hump in a non-sexual reference – that one’s for you, ma). Incredibles 2, slightly bland and predictable narrative aside, doesn’t really ramp up the tension or dangle dangerous consequences in front of our faces like The Incredibles did. I remember, to this day, the darkness Mr. Incredible felt, and battled, exquisitely, in the first film when he thought his family had died in a missile strike. THAT SHIT STICKS WITH YOU. Here? Here we get nothing so memorable. Seriously. I sat for about ten minutes trying to dredge up anything nearly as dramatic and failed harder than my ninth grade stylist at Supercuts who didn’t understand that “trim” doesn’t mean CUT SIX INCHES OFF MY HAIR AND GIVE ME BANGS.
Jack Jack. So much of this movie could’ve been tightened up but I spent a large chunk of the film trying to remember why people were surprised Jack Jack had powers (65% of my brain power was computing this for most, perhaps all, of Incredibles 2 and it was *lowers shades* INCREDIBLY distracting – I’m not sorry for that pun). I eventually figured it out, days later, that Syndrome was the only one who was close enough to see Jack Jack’s hijinks in the first finale showdown. That said, a significant chunk of Incredibles 2 focuses on the family trying to adapt and deal with their super baby. Surely, you would think, this means he has a huge part to play in the final – nope. Never mind. That definitely wasn’t a waste of our time.
To be fair, maybe I just didn’t get it. Holding a sequel up to the mirror of its (admittedly stellar) original is, perhaps, slightly unfair. Maybe this movie was less about being superheroes and more about being a super family. If that’s the case, fine. Mea culpa. But don’t tell me there isn’t something subversively misogynistic about making two fulcrum plot points turn on the standards placed on women in the workplace and/or men discounting/resenting their capabilities to do, and have, everything. For example, Mr. Incredible’s entire character arc is learning how to stay-at-home parent and not resent his wife for being the breadwinner/getting all the super street cred.
Enjoyable in a vapid way, Incredibles 2 counts on fourteen years of goodwill to guide this lazy train back into the stadium-seated station. Consider me “gruntled” (a first cousin to being “whelmed”). I didn’t expect less, but I did expect a hell of a lot more than I got.
Go see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom this week instead if given a chance. Trust me.
The Incredibles 2 (2018) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever Elastigirl pwns a foe/life-threatening situation.
Take a Sip: for every Jack Jack power-related incident.
Take a Drink: each time Mr. Incredible can’t handle this parenting gig.
Do a Shot: for each Screenslaver public broadcast. Rule Cap: Three Shots.
Shotgun Your Beer: when “Ice Ice Baby” meets Speed 2: Cruise Control.