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Incredibles 2 (2018); And Why I Walked Out

July 2, 2018

I had about half an hour of Incredibles 2 left before the credits were set to roll. That remaining half hour was sure to tie up any loose threads that had been fraying from the opening sequence. How would Elastigirl react to Jack-Jack’s new powers… which I thought were revealed at the end of the first? Would she reveal any insight into the secrets she’s kept from her husband? Would Mr. Incredible work through his frustration of being a house-husband while his wife gains notoriety in the public eye? Who’s really behind the mask of that notorious, villainous hacker? Will Tony and Violet work out? All of these answers and more were mere moments from my grasp of knowledge. But instead of sitting through it, I left.

That’s right, I walked out of Incredibles 2. Not because I was angry, or frustrated, or thrown off by the unnecessary cursing used throughout— but because I was bored and would have much rather been taking a nap (plus MoviePass takes the pressure off feeling obligated to sit through a bland movie). I would argue that Incredibles 2 is one of the weakest Pixar films to date, and I found its noticeably cumbersome tone to be very problematic, even worrisome of what may come with future Pixar projects. Incredibles 2 is dark, tonally and physically. It feels as though it takes place in Gotham City, as Elastigirl leaves the suburbs in order to fight crime with the hopes of making “supers” legal again. Upon her arrival, smog-laced, dingy nights follow. It’s a stark contrast against the family’s temporary home complete with brightly colored interior design and sunlight that beams through the open, curtain-less windows. But those candy-colored scenes are simultaneously filled with teenage angst, frustration and stress experienced by the family adjusting to life without their matriarch. And throughout, people get shot, hurt, and killed. During a fight scene, Elastigirl even gets her ass kicked. It’s really dark.

And this time around, the film’s villain is a hacker who is using subliminal messages to brainwash the people. Incredibles 2 rings true to real threats happening in our society today. During once scene when the villain hijacks a television station, he berates the viewers by listing all the ways in which we exist as somnambulant zombies craving interaction online but not personal intimacy; we lack the desire to play games so we instead watch game shows. It’s a legit critique on American society in the age of technology, and all the while the inner world of this film is struggling with the fight of whether superheroes should stay illegal or not. Have I emphasized the fact that is a kid’s movie yet?

I came to Incredibles 2 after spending hours in the hot sun holding a sign above my head with 10,000 people in front the Atlanta Detention Center, as we protested the arrest and detainment of immigrant families who are being separated from their children. The building itself is gigantic and daunting to look at, even more so when we could see the faintest movement of bodies from the tiny slits that served as windows within those enclosed bricks separating the inside of the building from the outside world. The immigrants within those walls frantically waved their hands our way in what I can only imagine was support. The windows were so tiny, we couldn’t see faces just the movement of hands. I marched with people of all races, identities, and ages while being continuously reminded of the injustices that continue to happen under this current administration.

I left the rally wanting to let off steam. I wanted to sit back and laugh at goofy kid humor. I wanted to hear children laugh, to be reminded of a lighter, happier side of existence. Instead I got a movie riddled in adult humor and seemingly set within the confines of real life dangers. Jack-Jack serves as the film’s primary comic relief and while seeing a cute baby do silly things made me giggle, it felt like sitting in the writer’s room hearing them throw out options they thought would be funny. “Oh, what if he could turn invisible? Or what if he sneezed and had laser rocket powers? Ooo oooh, what about if he split into multiples!? Then we could sell a series of collectible Jack-Jack dolls!”

Look, I’m all for adult themes in kid’s movies, someone’s gotta teach them reality. But there are ways of doing it, ways that Pixar usually excels in. Incredibles 2 isn’t among those ways. It’s dry, flat, and poorly written. Plus, the diversity within this film is arguably worse than before, considering minorities are demoted to being background characters that only show up to help the Incredibles receive the glory. I’m sure in the end, it’s the friends and side characters that are responsible for saving the day, but the journey they take in getting to know any of those characters is nonexistent. As a whole, Incredibles 2 didn’t move the needle with the kids in my audience either, as I can count one hand the number of times I heard collective laughter. It’s an adult film masked as a kid’s movie through animation and brand name. Its brand will no doubt continue to make money, especially as Disney continues to gobble up every company it can. I just hope in the inevitable take over, audiences demand better quality over mediocre quantity and nostalgia.

AVOID IT. Wait until a DVD or streaming release for this one. 

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