Wednesday, June 20, 2018

INCREDIBLES 2: My review

Those of us who loved THE INCREDIBLES had to wait 14 years for the sequel. It was worth the wait. Even if it had been 15 years (16 might’ve been stretching it). But the sequel is incredible too.

Having the same creative voice writing and directing was a huge factor. I’m in awe of Brad Bird. How can one person be that great a writer AND animator? INCREDIBLES 2 is visually stunning, there’s fun at every turn, and none of the superheroes brood!

Since THE INCREDIBLES is my all-time favorite animated movie (sorry RAINBOW BRITE), it was hard for the sequel to live up to the original. But it’s certainly risen to my top five. The story itself is similar in structure to the original but there are enough surprises and new elements that you don’t feel you’re watching ROCKY VII.  And no songs!  Yay!

INCREDIBES 2 sure spoiled me for superhero movies. You can pair the Avengers with the Justice League of America and the X-Men and I’d still yawn at this point.

Now let me save you some angst. You’ll be watching a new character, Evelyn Deavor and go nuts trying to guess who does the voice. It’s Catherine Keener. You’re welcome.

Another thing I loved:  In the closing credits, all of the animators and other department heads got billing before the actors.   That Pixar animation team WERE the stars.  

I’ll be seeing INCREDIBLES 2 again. There’s so much going on and the pace really moves so I’m sure there are more things I’ll pick up that I missed upon the first viewing. Contrast that with the new AVENGERS movie. You couldn’t pay me to sit through that exercise in excess again.

I don’t want to hype INCREDIBLES 2 too much because there’s always the danger you might go, “Huh? He loved THIS?” But it’s well worth seeing. Several times even.

What did you guys think? 


Andrew said...

I'll see it this weekend. My kids have already seen it, and want to see it again with me. They're teenagers, and still love Pixar movies. We've been waiting years for this. Pixar does it right.

If you have a couple of minutes, this interview with John Ratzenberger about the movie is great. "There's no such thing as a voice actor."

Leilani said...

It wasn't as good as the original, but that's to be expected. I thought it was an amazing movie and it was certainly one of the best I've seen in a while.

mhowell said...

I really missed Wallace Shawn as boss-from-hell Gilbert Huph. "I'm not happy, Bob." is one of my favorite lines ever.

Some other quibbles
- Screen Slaver is just not as well conceived as Syndrome. Jason Lee had more to work with.
- Jack-Jack is all over the place. Pick any three superpowers and develop those. A dozen is too many.
- Give Bob Odenkirk more to do.
- Elastigirl had to carry too much of the story.

Overall, TI-2 is still a solid double. Just not the home run of the original.

John Hammes said...

Ken Levine: Another thing I loved: In the closing credits, all of the animators and other department heads got billing before the actors. That Pixar animation team WERE the stars.

It is very humbling (and embarrassing) for yours truly to go through old comments, posts, e-mails, etc., and to realize favorite film/radio/television quotes have been attributed to the actors reciting them... not the writers who provided the scripts in the first and only place ( I have made myself do twenty push-ups as atonement ). Writers, directors, show runners are just as much - and many times far, far more - deserving of star treatment and star recognition, than stars whose job is to stand before the camera and memorize blocking and dialogue.

However one feels about the technology, at least social media has leveled the playing field. Fame is pretty much now available across the board. We can now get to know and appreciate the many people who, only twenty-plus years ago, were names we saw briefly before act one, and mainly during closing credits. Fame, appreciation, and recognition have been long, long overdue.

Burt said...

I stopped watching cartoons when I was 10.

McAlvie said...

I'm planning to see it, so thanks for the recommendation.

Last weekend I went to see Ocean's 8. I read some really mean reviews beforehand, with "unoriginal" and "lacking depth" being the kindest. Apparently they thought they were going to see a remake of Out of Africa or something. Instead, they got a fun summer movie with a fabulous cast that seemed to be having a blast and invited the audience along. Heck, I may see it again.

Anonymous said...

Character Voiced by Keener but looks like Elizabeth Ashley

blinky said...

Will it be the last Pixar movie that doesn't get totally Disneyfied? I remember going up to Pixar in Emeryville to see sneak previews and it was like going to Oz. Totally magical. I'm not sure going to preview Cars 5 - Teslas Revenge will be so special.

Anonymous said...

The battle between Jack Jack and the raccoon was worth the price of admission by itself.

A. W. Carter said...

That I could sit in a theater almost 80% children and they were mesmerized and quiet the entire time (even my 21-year-old son) is a testament to how non-stop entertaining this film is.

And I especially loved the shout out to "The Outer Limits," as a television in the background plays the control voice opening. Probably only a couple boomers in the audience got the reference, but obviously Brad Bird is also a big fan.

Michael said...

I thought it was blah. Too many under discussed thoughts and unresolved arguments.

Movie could have been a lot better had an editor stepped in. Given the list of editors shown in the credits perhaps too many cooks spoiled the broth.

And Underminer, whose name could have been mined for more comedy, remains at large.

Matthew Kugler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

As one movie critic pointed out, Brad Bird is by far the director who respects his audience the most. His movies are ostensibly for children and yet he turns out brilliant stuff like the Incredibles movies, Ratatouille and The Iron Giant. He's great.

Mike Bloodworth said...

I loved the first INCREDIBLES.
But, I only saw it on DVD. That's why I'm hoping to see Ti2 within the next couple of weeks on a big screen. I'm glad you liked it, Ken. Huge box office is rarely indicative of quality. I don't remember the exact wording, but Brad Bird has said that he feels that the animation should serve the story. Not the other way around. That attitude also shows in his work with THE SIMPSONS. That's one of the main reasons I prefer Pixar movies to DreamWorks and others. Bird has also said that he doesn't believe that animation is a medium exclusively for children. He knows that originally, Bugs Bunny and other theatrical cartoons were meant for adults. Its only after they came to television did they become electronic babysitters. Yet another black mark against us "baby-boomers." I just hope Ti2 is as good as you say.

Jit said...

[Spoiler] I love the opening (starting on the mind wipe), but the second half lacked sizzle for me. I would have loved to see Mr. Incredible take on Mrs. Incredible, and to have one of them put the other in real jeopardy... but those mind-control glasses are just toooo easy to flick off. The final bit where they deal with the ship just wasn't comparable to the first movie where the family teams up to deal with the robot.

In the first movie, Brad does a beautiful job of plant vs payoff (e.g. Capes end up being Syndrome's demise; The way to defeat the robot is to remember that the only thing hard enough to penetrate it is itself;) In this one, there's no planting and payoff in defeating the bad guy. Mrs. Incredible gasps for oxygen, and suddenly she finds a gun? I'm disappointed.

The first movie is also more thematically unified than this one. I know I'm holding Brad Bird and Pixar up to the incredibly high bar of the first movie, but c'mon, they're Brad Bird and Pixar. They set the bar, and they (usually) reach it or even exceed it.

sg said...

Hi Ken,

Did you read Peter Fonda's tweet?


Mmryan314 said...

First off, I am pretty old and went to see this movie the second day it came out. I thought it was one of the best things I've seen in a long time. I particularly liked the way the movie showed parents in 2018 navigating role reversal. Jack Jack absolutely stole the show as did Violet. Such an entertaining movie and I will see it again.

Todd Everett said...

I stopped watching cartoons when I was 10.

Noted. And filed.

Bob K said...

I smiled for two hours straight.

DBenson said...

Also the clip of "Jonny Quest". Those boomer shows and the New Math bit seem to place the show in a fantasy version of the 60s, albeit with a lot of modern tech.

DBenson said...

If there's a problem, it's that nearly every superhero trope, twist, and theory appears to have been milked dry. The animated Justice League shows did long straight-faced arcs on the theme of superheroes being banned; various of the Marvel movies have focused on it. And even the I2 villain's motivation echoed one of the big Marvel movies (Wondering if Bird banged his head on a wall when he saw a live action summer flick blunder onto one of his carefully crafted story facets).

The real core of the first Incredibles was Mr. Incredible himself, not only prevented from using his powers but forbidden to do good at his insurance company desk job. Incredibles 2 was about taking that in a different direction: What if doing good meant being a stay-at-home dad while his wife got to do the super stuff? There was tension between his genuine heroic impulses and his (male) ego.

The actual villainy was well executed but standard (anybody surprised at the identity reveal?). But then, the alien invaders in the excellent first Avengers flick were just generic video game fodder. The movie wasn't about them, except as a reason for the Avengers to get their act together.

Steve Bailey said...

At least you didn't get as, er, worked up about Elastigirl as The New Yorker's Anthony Lane did.

Jeffrey Graebner said...

Since you made the comment about no songs, I wonder if you stayed through to the end of the credits. If not, you should do so on the next viewing. They end with very clever theme songs for Elastigirl, Frozone, and Mr. Incredible.

Poochie said...

and none of the superheroes brood!

Are we watching the same movie becuz the daughter, Violet, was brooding the whole movie.

There was a definite gurl power agenda to the movie as all the females (Elastigirl/Evelyn/Violet) get more story and lead time than there male counterparts (Mr. Incredible/Odenkirk/Dash). Which I thought was a case of an agenda being a (slight) detriment to an otherwise wonderful film.

I can understand the impulse to separate Elastigirl and Mr. Incredible and give her the spotlight, but the fun is in there chemistry together and having her isolated from the rest of the family for so long stretches her character thin (pun intended). Case in point seeing her use the parachute trick ad nauseum or watching her play detective for multiple scenes when the mystery of Screen Slaver's identity has been telegraphed from the beginning is unengaging veering on frustration waiting for her to catch-up to the audience.

Likewise Violet's scenes felt like a step backwards considering we're waiting for to accomplish the same arc from the last movie that surreptitiously got reset via Men in Black neuralizers. Meanwhile Dash receives no arc or insight whatsoever.

Likewise whereas there was history/relationship and a genuine sense of resentment/dread to the original movie's Syndrome. Screen Slaver's motivations felt one note and simplistically evil for evil's sake. It was too big a leap in logic for an otherwise intelligent character to have such poor reasoning. On the plus side, I'm thankful this meant Odenkirk's love of supers was genuine and a reflection of it's audience love and not a cheap twist to 180 him as the villain.

That said, this was all just nitpicking. I do love I2 and am glad we finally got a sequel. I just thought it was worth pointing out how having a clear agenda (however well intended) can be a detriment to an otherwise wonderful film.

Andrew said...

Just saw it, and loved every minute of it. What a great movie. It was both clever and laugh-out-loud funny. The action scenes were astounding. The music was sensational. I agree with other commenters that the main plot was weak, but everything else was so high quality that it didn't bother me. It's refreshing to have a FUN experience at the movies.

However, there were at least two babies in the theater that cried on occasion. What is wrong with people? Why bring a baby to a loud and intense movie and disturb everybody?

I can think of at least 5 Pixar movies that were better than the movie which won Best Picture that year.

PatGLex said...

Incredibles has been my favorite Pixars movie since it came out. I have been a Fantastic Four follower for over 50 years (yes, I'm old), and the parallels thrilled me. I got to see Incredibles 2 last Thursday, and for the first time in many months, I didn't check my watch halfway through. The other thing I loved: my other childhood crush, Jonny Quest, being watched on television. [Also: big chuckle to Edna Mode becoming a baby fan. I've seen this happen with way too many "career women" who absolutely fall in love with their new baby, in one case actually quitting her job to become a stay at home mom.]

Brian Phillips said...

I stopped watching Burt when he was 10. So, blame me for his missing this movie. As for me, I dug it.

slgc said...

Thank you for the recommendation! I wasn't inclined to see this, but gave it a shot based on your column. My husband, son and I really enjoyed it :)