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TAS Reviews: The Incredibles 2

TAS Reviews: The Incredibles 2

It's been over a month since I've last reviewed a movie, and what better movie to review than The Incredibles 2 - the sequel to one of my, and many others, childhood movie. The Incredibles needs no explanation, so I'll get straight into it by saying The Incredibles 2 is not as spectacular, fresh, inventive and impactful as the first film, but is still an entertaining, fun, funny, action-packed family-superhero movie. In simplest terms, I'd describe it as a more diluted version of the first movie. Which isn't a terrible thing. It just means that while the first film was a kids movie with a surprising amount of depth, the second film is simply a kids movie with less depth, deconstruction and emotional weight than the original. But make no mistake: this is a positive review.

The first and most noticeable aspect of this movie to praise is the animation. Although I love the first Incredibles, the animation is a little rough around the edges, which is to expected with age. The sequel, on the other hand, is beautiful beginning to end, with a rich, vibrant colour scheme, and a few of the visuals bordering on photorealism. Brad Bird's direction is fantastic, and he crafts a handful of visually dynamic, energetic action-sequences. I loved how the director was able to find new ways to display the powers in new visually arresting ways, and how much of the set-pieces were environmental.

And despite all the action, it never feels chaotic, as Brad Bird never forgets to infuse the action sequences with character. Not only in visual terms, but also in literal: the action-sequences are rich with dialogue, character-interactions and narrative reason. Returning to score the sequel is Michael Giacchino, who - between Star Trek, War For The Planet of The Apes, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man: Homecoming - is at the peak of their career. His ever so triumphant, powerful score does a tremendous job breathing life into the action and giving the movie the classic Incredibles magic.

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There's a lot I admired about this movie from a character standpoint. People will find ways to argue how this movie retreads ground from the first film, but I thought it did a great job expanding on the characters while also allowing them to shine in unexpected ways. If there's one thing that made the first film so great, it's the humanity of the characters, and how relatable each and every character and their struggles were. Mr. Incredible might have superhuman strength, but he's just a dude going through a mid-life crisis. Violet might be able to be invisible, and Dash might be able to run faster than the speed of light, but at the end of the day, Violet is still just a girl with anxiety issues and Dash is still an annoying younger sibling.

Bird captures this once again in the sequel, emphasising the human qualities of these characters that keep them grounded and appealing. There's a classic Pixar rule of storytelling that says "we admire a character more for trying, than we do for succeeding" and this rule is relevant to this film in a specific way that I won't spoil. Mr. Incredible's arc in this movie is my personal favourite, but I also loved what they did with Violet's character, and Jack Jack Parr, who gets most of the laughs. Interestingly enough, Elastigirl's parts were the least interesting parts of the movie despite being the most action fueled, which is in no way a criticism of the film, but instead a testament to how well-written it is, that the most engaging parts of the film are the character driven ones. The pacing of the movie is fantastic, as it does a great job of providing the action that we expect from superhero movies, all the while devoting a lot of scenes to character building. This movie wouldn't work if there was too little or two much of either of those aspects.

Considering The Incredibles 2 is a sequel we've been waiting for for no less than 14 years, there were expectations to deliver on something exceptional, and this where the movie falls short. This is a great family movie, I had a good time, so why did I walk out of the movie with a "that's..... it?" Impression. The movie feels a bit inconsequential, is thoroughly predictable, and resolves with an action sequence devoid of conflict and tension. This would've been fine for an entry in the MCU, or even something like the Mission Impossible franchise, but for a sequel to a 14-year old Pixar classic, I left not completely satisfied, and feeling as if Brad Bird could've done something a little more with this movie. The movie brings up a lot of interesting ideas in the first-half, and it's sad to see them neglected in favour of a "beat-em-up" climax.

Perhaps this movie would've benefited from a time skip from the first movie, to explore these characters at a radically different stage of their life, but I get that Pixar didn't want to lose the family aspect from the first movie, so at least exploring the interesting ideas brought up in the first half would've been good enough to elevate this movie into something with more weight than just a "day-in-the-life" side quest, which this movie can feel like. I remember in the last few seconds of the movie thinking "please don't be the final shot, please don't be the final shot, please don't be the final shot" and it turned out to be the final shot. I was hoping for more. Something to ensure I didn't wait 14 years for a movie that I would forget after 14 hours.

To end on a positive note: I loved the villain in this movie. Everything revolving around them: from their presentation, to performance, to motivation, to their interactions with the heroes, were on point. I haven't seen the first movie in a couple of years, but I recall Syndrome being a damn good villain, and so was the villain in this movie.

To finish off this review, I enjoyed and would recommend The Incredibles 2. It's a solid movie with a great balance between character and spectacle, with some of the best action and animation you'll see all year, a fantastic score, and a great villain, even if the third-act is lacking in tension, and the movie isn't as impactful as it could've been, especially for such a long awaited sequel.

Conclusion: 7.5/10

Two more things:

  1. If you have epilepsy, you should be cautious because a lot of scenes in this movie contain flashing lights. If you have issues with epilepsy or migraines, be aware because the movie relies a lot on flashing lights and it's the dumbest thing ever.
  2. I've finally gotten the chance to see SOLO, and my review should be up soon.

Thanks for reading!