Comfortable and Furious

Incredibles 2

1 Hour 34 Minutes, G

Special Warning: Incredibles 2 has scenes with bright high-intensity flashing patterns that may induce epileptic episodes. Also, this film is chock full of subliminal messages (courtesy of the villain)- if you believe in the effect of subliminals, this is a film to avoid.

Fair Value Rating of The Incredibles 2: $6.00. Its good though not great, watchable but non-essential. A reasonable babysitter of a film. You’ll pay for an hour and a half, but that money is for 10 minutes of pure joy (two terrific scenes) and 80 minutes of good enough.

How many pina coladas will it take for me to sit through this? One. An episodic and action filled film that keeps the children entertained and the adults from complete boredom.

The Mouse Marches On: With the soon to be approved merger of 20th Century Fox into Disney, and hence the X-Men/Deadpool Cinematic Universe, the Big Mouse is about to own superheroes the way that it owns the concept of Princesses. Pixar’s Incredibles 2 universe is setting up for a grand encirclement of every permutation of the genre: Marvel Cinematic Universe for teens/ general audiences, Incredibles universe for the young kids, and Deadpool/X-Men for those seeking more R-rated fare. No doubt, the complete monopoly will be achieved with the Comcast/Disney/ATT merger of 2024 (laugh now while it still sounds like a joke).

Episodes 1-4 of The Incredibles? The pacing of Incredibles 2 is very episodic, in some ways less like a film and more like a sitcom. This vignette based structure prevents there from being any deeper cathartic development. Likewise, the characters have only the scantest of character arc development.

What is the summary of this films concept? Working mother has superhero adventures, stay at home Dad has adventures in babysitting.

Underwhelm me with your exposition: After the events of the last Incredibles, the Parr family is living in a motel, facing homelessness. Fortunately, powerful billionaire Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) is interested in sponsoring and developing a superhero renaissance. To do that, Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) is picked to be the new spokesmodel for his efforts to re-legalize superheroism. But inevitably, super heroism attracts super villainy, and Elastigirl must track down a hypnotic villain dubbed The Screen Slaver.

Meanwhile, Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) must change diapers, figure out how to help his daughter Violet (Sarah Vowell) deal with her big crush, and assist Dash (Huck Milner) with his math homework.

Can you spot the problem? A lot of potential exists in contrasting the mundane of child-raising with the superlatives of heroics, but Incredibles doesn’t manage the pacing. The result is two plot lines that feel like abrupt cuts rather than a well integrated structure building to a satisfying payoff.

How does this film compare to others like it? A lot more action and less comedic deconstruction than the first film. The Incredibles came at a time when superheroics were still a non-confident genre, and it was of the period of Mystery Men, Super, and Hancock. The new film dives wholly into the logic of a super-universe, losing some of the self-aware humor of the original.

What works in this film? The art and the score all has a well developed 60s aesthetic, the character portraits are great. Also, the vignette structure lends itself to some terrific scenes- namely, Elastigirl’s first confrontation with the villain, and also baby Jacks battle royale with a hapless raccoon.

What fails in this film? The film is a sequel that is a continuance, not an expansion, an evolution, or a revolution of the dynamics. You get more derring-do with The Incredible family. But there isnt the same dramatic arc of a dysfunctional family coming together. There’s no Randian objectivism for kindergarteners; the villain, if anything, is speaking from a Randian philosophy. Incredibles 2 has lots of bam, pow, and shazam, but very little heart or morality.



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