The Colossal Disappointment That Was "Incredibles 2"
Movies were an essential part of my childhood, especially Pixar films. Pictures like Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc, Toy Story, and Up all had a huge impact on me growing up and contributed to the person I am today. However when it comes to Pixar's Animated features, one in particular's influence looms large over the rest and that is Brad Bird's, The Incredibles. It is without a doubt, my favorite film the studio has ever released and since it came out a few months after I was born I've literally been watching it all my life. I have vivid childhood memories of running around the house in my Dash pajamas and for two years in a row I even went as Mr. Incredible for Halloween from ages 4-5. Not Mrs. Incredible, not Violet, Mr. Incredible. Bob. Parr. Needless to say when I heard they were making a sequel to one of my favorite movies ever I was ecstatic. Imagine my disappointment when I first saw Incredibles 2 in theaters...
However before I talk about what this film did wrong I first need to talk about what it did right. The animation throughout Incredibles 2 is gorgeous, all of the characters look leagues better than they did before and you can really tell how much effort went into perfecting the designs. Along with that the voice acting is also pretty great, I'm glad they kept the original cast and Bob Odenkirk was a fantastic addition. However, that is pretty much everything about this film that falls in my good graces. The rest of this has got to be the most ill-conceived, disappointing animated film I have seen from Pixar since Cars 2. And yes, you read that right.
The problems Incredibles 2 has run deep but first let's bring up the plot. The story is nowhere near as compelling as the original. The plot of The Incredibles was so layered and endlessly entertaining but I found myself pretty bored throughout quite a few parts of the sequel which isn't something I can say for the majority of Pixar movies. This movie includes my absolute least favorite twist villain of Disney’s yet. I remember whispering to my brother in the theater what I thought was going to happen twenty minutes in and lo and behold, I was right. The whole point of a twist is that it’s unpredictable and with a writing team as good as Disney’s I’m shocked at how bad this was. And the motivation behind the villain felt so contrived and unoriginal I got secondhand embarrassment on behalf of the studio.
My main problem that I have with this film is going to take a little bit of extra explaining. To understand why this movie was such a let down for me I have to talk about what made the original so great. The original Incredibles movie is by far one of Pixar’s most mature films. The genius of it is that it’s easy for children to enjoy it while also dealing with themes of unfulfillment, midlife crisis, infidelity, domestic monotony and struggling to cope with society. It’s the kind of movie that gets better the older you get. Incredibles 2 does not have any of that maturity, in fact it seems to go out of its way to be as kid-friendly as possible. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing until you consider how they had to sacrifice all the grit of the original. Like for example, The Incredibles has a scene where Mr. Incredible has to apologize to his family about how his reckless desire to relive the past and escape the monotony of his average life almost cost him everything. Incredibles 2 has a sequence of Jack Jack fighting an anthropomorphic raccoon...a far cry from the down to earth nature of the original.
Incredibles 2 is one of many films to come out of Pixar's worst decade yet, the 2010's. Since 2011 Pixar has produced Cars 2, Brave, Monsters University, Inside Out, Finding Dory, The Good Dinosaur and Cars 3, almost all of which were the studio's least positively reviewed work or lackluster sequels with no originality. In many ways the failure of Incredibles 2 makes no sense, and I say failure very loosely because it currently has an inexplicable score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed a total of $1.243 billion dollars worldwide. But at the same time it feels money was all this film was made for. Not artistic fulfillment, not fan service but purely to make boatloads of money for the world's largest animation company. I am still wracking my brain trying to figure out how terrible this movie turned out with the original director, writers and voice cast on board. I guess it really just goes to show how much the film landscape has changed since 2004 and the content studios are willing to put out in theaters.
I did not go into this sequel wanting to hate it. In fact there’s nothing I would’ve liked more than a continuation of my favorite Pixar film. Unfortunately Incredibles 2 reads more as a shameless, lazily made cash-grab made to sell toys. I sincerely hope there's no third. After the triumph that was Pete Doctor's Soul was released to rave reviews in December, it seems like a new Renaissance era for Pixar is just around the corner and with that I hope we never have any sequels as disappointing as Incredibles 2 ever again.