The Incredibles 2

Whew! I’m sorry I haven’t posted, I’ve been working on a different project and there’s only so much screen time my eyes can take per day.

But I had to get this out, late as it is, but I have finally gotten to see The Incredibles 2!

I know I’m tardy, but hey, I can’t afford movie tickets, my dad took us. I know that some people may still have not seen it, so I’ll warn you there will be spoilers in this review.

But my overall impression was that the movie surprised me. Given the kind of sub-par Disney and Dreamworks sequels we’ve gotten over the past five years or so, (with how to Train your Dragon being an exception) and the reboots of old Disney Classics that did not go over well, it would have been hard not to be skeptical, add that to the fact that The Incredibles is one of the most brilliant superhero movies or kids movies ever made, and who was not cynical about it’s prospects. Everyone I heard was.

And we were partly right, the movie is not as good as the original, but strangely enough, it’s not a bad movie either. It’s actually above what’s come to be average.

What did I not like?

There’s plenty to not like in the film, mostly int he first 40 minutes or so. The movie had a bad case of the 15 year later addition loss of personality syndrome. Even Toy Story 3 lost a little, though I still think that movie is freaking amazing and it makes me cry, and the characters didn’t change much in it. But you can’t say that in this case, Mr. Incredible,or Bob, is the most notable example. On the surface he has the same issues of wanting to be superhero as he did before, but they really ignored all his vies on mediocrity and his concern about helping people. The mediocrity stint comes in a little bit but the focus was more on how unfair the law was. More on that later.

Dash also got hit hard, it wasn’t so much that he lost his personality as that he was barely in the movie at all except as a background character. Somehow the first one managed to give even the characters with no lines, like Jack-Jack, or minimal lines, like Violet, a lot of personality. And Dash just seems…out of it. He was still fun for what he did do, but I miss the kid who just loved using his powers.

The biggest thing not to like however was how they dumped on poor Tony Ryanger. What happened to him was completely unnecessary. The movie opens up with his perspective, which is an interesting idea that I would normally like. What does it look like to a normal kid to see a super villain shoot up out of the ground near his school? Him seeing Violet without her mask might have been interesting too. But then he gets his memory of her erased…and never gets it back. If you knew me and how many times I’ve ranted about this very thing in shows, and I watch so much super-related stuff that you can guess I’ve seen it quite a few times. It’s a common action theme also. Suffice to say, I didn’t like it in X-Men first class, I didn’t like it in Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension, I don’t like it any other time it pops up. Even Barbie has done it. My reasons are: First of all, memory erasing is unethical, and it’s always good guys who are doing it, usually the government. Which is disturbing on so may levels. Second of all: It’s unfair. Often the character never even gets a chance to be found trustworthy or mature, which happened in this case, they get their free will removed by the event. Third: This is the least wrong thing, but it is just lazy writing. You get someone to forget and you don’t have to deal with the far reaching effects of the dumb idea. Like, it was dumb to do it in the first place if it couldn’t be resolved any other way…which it could have!

I really was almost ready to cry for poor Violet, she’s always been my favorite character and I completely felt her pain. What teenager doesn’t know the frustration of your crush not even knowing you exist!…this time literally.

And Tony, who I also liked as much as he was in it, never gets his memory back, which seems just too unfair. Why should someone’s mind be able to be messed with that much?

Anyway, that was the bad, and it did leave a sour taste in my mouth even at the end of the movie, so that’s a big problem. But now for the not bad.

Though this will depend on your point of view, because the villain in this movie was full on Scary. And I mean that I started getting a Matrix/horror film vibes during one part. It was like a much more mature movie. Now I know a lot of my shortsighted peers are gong to think that’s a good thing, but as someone who works with kids and still remembers what it was like a thing movies like that when I was younger, I cans ya I’m not sure I would show this to my seven year old. Maybe it would go over their heads, but it’s pretty interest. The hypnotism, seeing the heroes you loved being mind controlled into doing evil, and it was scary. They were more terrifying then Baymax going all hulk like for a few seconds in Big Hero 6. No one would have a hard time empathizing with Violet and Dash when first their parents and then their Uncle Lucius end up controlled by the Screen Slaver.

However, because the movie does turn serious rather suddenly, it did have a compelling message. Unfortunately, the compelling one was the villain’s. The Screenslaver calls out our society for being very much like the one in Farenheit 451 (which I just recently read) how we like everything packaged to us, deliver to us in a safe format that we can process. Our danger come s via screens, our talks shows substitute for talking to each other, and we prefer to let superhero take care of a our problem while we watch form a distance, safe. Which is exactly what happens in Farenheit 451, only the problem the police are taking care of is actually the worlds’ salvation. It would be easy enough to see how the Screenslaver would put themself in that position Especially since that protagonist murdered and framed people also to ensure his escape. It’s not the happiest book.

The things is, as the villain points out at the end of the movie to Mrs Incredible. “Just because you saved me doesn’t mean I’m wrong.” And it doesn’t. However well-intentioned Mrs. Incredible might be, she cannot really disprove the villain’s points because by nature she is outside regular society. She has to be. Supers can’t afford to be lazy and indolent.

I love good characters, and I hate it when people say the villain was them more interesting one. And I won’t say she was more interesting, but in a very Marvel like fashion, this movie makes the villain’s case and fails to make the heroes.

My family and I discussed how in real life when disaster strikes, you do see ordinary people coming to the rescue. My dad pointed out that it happen during 911 on the planes, where passengers stopped the terrorist. It happened at the shooting at Columbine high school. It’s happened recently. In fact disaster brings out the best and worst in people. Humans who have some mettle in them rise to the occasion. It is because we have such boring lives that most of us are neither bad nor good. And it is also why Moral Relativism can be so popular. Frankly, only a bored and lazy society could even buy into it. Disaster forces you to pick a right or wrong, you have no choice.

That said, the villain’s professed intent is to scare people into waking up to how fake their society is by using that against them. However the movie show no ordinary people coming to help the Incredibles. In fact the ordinary people are either fired, taken out, or have their freaking memory erased. Anyone who might’ve disproved her point is removed from the equation and no one else is provided. Unlike in Spiderman where the New Yorkers were inspired by his heroism to stand up to the Goblin and Doctor Octopus.

It may be true that many of us here in the real world prefer to watch superhero movies because of escapism. But some of us, like me, are looking for inspiration. Looking for an example to be held up somewhere for us to follow. Oddly enough, in the first movie, Buddy gets this. Though he gets it in an obsessive way.

I call it Marvel Syndrome, the disappointing fact that a movie can explain the villains perspective and even back it up with its own fictitious events, but not do the same for the hero. And that’ a problem. because words have power, and people will remember them. I see the disrespect for human beings spreading in these movies. And though we give lip service to the heroes, we are are sympathizing a lot more with the villains because it seems like they are right. I have endless examples of this just form Marvel. Thankfully at leas Wonder Woman did not fall into this trap. She rocks.

Anyway, despite all the time I jsut spent on what eas wiehter bad or problematice, there is a lot of good in this movie.

I loved having Violet being the smart, take charge character that she became in the fist movie. She didn’t lose that, and that was huge since a lot of the other characters suffered set backs in their personalities. Even though Violet gets burned by being different more than anyone except her dad, she was still willing to don her suit and jump in as soon as she realized what was going on. and she’s definitely the one who can think, she figured out the villain’s plan, how to save the ship, and creative ways to fight the bad guys. She and Dash still have their funny brother-sister exchange.

Dash’es one real charcter moment was usning the incrdibile. Taht was funny. And a good chekovs’s ugn pay off.

And I’ll give Helen this much, she does get fleshed out more. We come to see why she loved being a super hero. And we know she gave that up more willingly then Bob, but she gets to rediscover why she was all “Hey, we’re not letting the men do all the saving. I’m at the top of my game!” And though Bob of course originally was the one who wanted to settle down she was the one who made it work, and she still keeps her family at the top of her priority list even in the midst of chasing down a train. It was great to Helen have her time to shine, yet to be honest, I came to the movie for the family. And we do get it for the last 20 minutes, similarly to the first one.

Now the final battle was not quite as climatic. A ship crashing into a city jsut doens’ thave the smae irng to it as a giant Robot wrecking havoc. But it was dramitc enough to give everyoen time to shine. wE get to see FRozone do a lto more and be a lot mro powerful, which was cool. No pun intended. Mrs. Incrdibles’ fake out to get eh villains’ guard down was clever, had me going almost. I kind of missed Bob having a more cirtical role, but fair enough, he got the winning shot int he last movie. It’s not all about him.

Now to talk about the other message of this movie. There’s a few different one.s One is that people who are true heroes will rise both the family and to hero work equally. Both Bob and Helen have to do this. And so do Vi and Dash, by keeping an eye on Jack-Jack even while rescuing their parents.

But I think there’s a more interesting message. No counter point is ever made to the villain, except just once, when Helen points out that she at least has core values, even if the villain thinks they are stupid.

And that is the hypocrisy of the villain’s plan, claiming you are trying to help, but being wiling to sacrifice other people to get your way and ave your own skin. That’s not heroism.

But even more than that the overall attitude that the law has in this movie, that supers are too dangerous to have around. And yeah, that’ about as original as capes and cowls by now, but the movie approaches it a little differently. The idea being that people are afraid of people who are special. That’s in the fist movie more, but if you take that foundation, then this movie makes more sense. It’s kind of like the whole anti-gun movement. Something is powerful, it’s dangerous, so that automatically makes it bad unless the government controls it. (Ri-ight.)

It’s too risky. But the movie shows that when we remove something good just because it has dangerous potential, we shoot ourselves in the foot. Because danger is what protects us as well as threatens us. Just like we need germs to have a strong immune system, we need danger in order to not be taken out by it.

Superheroes are like that. It’s not only unfair to outlaw them, but it is  unwise. Threats arise, and accidents happen because of them. But how much more could and would happen if they weren’t there? The villain could have hated people just as much without the added motivation of hating supers. And then who would have stopped her?

Eden if supers are not strictly necessary, they have gifts and they should use them for good. It goes back to being special. The question might be do we need exceptional people to keep moving us froward in order to survive? Maybe not, but we need them for other reasons. We have to have leaders, we have to have heroes. They remind us to not just subsist, but to do good.

And that’s what I’m leaving you with. Until next time–Natasha.

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