Incredibles 2 feels like Brad Bird crawling back after the flop that was Tomorrowland. This isn’t a “we had an idea too good to not make” movie, it’s a “well I guess we’ll make this money” movie.
There was a magic to the first Incredibles, part of which is just that it’s a great movie and part of it was that it came out at the right time. Not just that it came out before we were drowning in superhero movies, but also I’m kind of sick of the Silver Age reverence in a way I wasn’t 14 years ago. And frankly being over a decade further away from that stuff it’s weirder to go back to. Which isn’t to say there’s nothing of value to mine from Silver Age comics stories, just maybe don’t suck the dick of that era of history so hard while doing it.
One of the strangest jokes to me was when Mr Incredible is shocked to discover that Dash’s textbook is using New Math, and he is incredulous about the idea of math having changed. New Math was invented in the 60s, and I just don’t get who this joke is for. Also as a kid my math homework was always beyond my parents so this joke especially just doesn’t speak to me. Do your own homework kid!
Then there’s weird stuff of the movie trying to marry 60s era gender politics with modern sensibilities and um.. it just left me scratching my head a bunch of times. It couldn’t just let Elastigirl be awesome, it had to make a thing out of it; Mr Incredible gets pretty shitty about it. And then a lot of the movie is about laughing at him for being a terrible dad; hahaha a father taking care of his children? How hilarious, look at him fail. Like, it wasn’t offensive, it just wasn’t funny.
The thing it really nails is the action. The action in this movie is spectacular all the way through and really stands out against the subpar action we get in most superhero movies. This particularly stands out with the climax, and that you can constantly feel the presence of civilians in danger. For me, this is THE draw of the movie and the reason to see it.
The villain here is a let down though. In some ways it’s a worse retread of the first movie; and when I say worse I mean a lot worse, it really lacks any of what made Syndrome resonant. Here the villain really doesn’t have a plan that makes sense, it’s just bitter and petty. There’s also a more interesting problem facing our heroes at the start of the movie, the idea that superheroes are obsolete because they’re just not helpful, but the movie completely abandons this idea once things get rolling.
I have lots of issues with Incredibles 2 but it’s very well made, has incredible action. Honestly, as it sits with me I don’t know if its issues will bug me more or less but I enjoyed watching it, it’s worth seeing. Just don’t expect it to really measure up to the original.
Thank You For Your Time.