I just came from the movie theater, and wow, “The Incredibles 2” is… INCREDIBLE (of course).
If you haven’t seen the movie yet, then I highly suggest that you don’t spoil yourself too much by reading movie reviews and comments about the movie online. Also, if you or your child or your younger sibling(s) may not feel comfortable with flashing lights, then I highly suggest that you guys don’t watch this movie in a theater. Lastly, if you’ve never watched “The Incredibles”, then you won’t enjoy “The Incredibles 2” nor understand my review. You have been warned.
I wrote my review in a casual manner because I wanted to quickly get my thoughts out after watching the movie today. So, I hope everything in this blog post makes sense when you guys read it.
“The Incredibles 2” blew me away and exceeded my expectations not just because it was released 14 years after “The Incredibles”, but also because it’s difficult to come up with a “unique” superhero movie when there are tons of superhero movies now.
Fun Facts (just in case you didn’t know these facts before):
- Disney owns Marvel Studios.
- Pixar Studios was created by Disney because Disney wanted to create 3D-animated movies under Pixar Studios while creating 2D-movies in the Disney studios.
- The last Disney “2D-animated film” was “Treasure Planet”.
- Despite how “Treasure Planet” was mostly 2D-animated and had some 3D-animations, it did very, very poorly in the box office. It was one of the most expensive box office flops of all time. The era of 2D-animations came to a sad end with 3D-animation software.
- So, nowadays, Disney and Pixar’s films aren’t distinguished by 2D or 3D animations.
- Disney creates fairytale stories, while Pixar creates stories with more realistic messages.
- The fairytale stories Disney creates are focused in a “smaller” setting, while Pixar likes to put their characters in larger worlds that seem more “believable”.
(I’ll be touching on some of these facts within my review.) 😀
How Different Are the Trailers’ Messages and Fan Theories from the Movie’s Story?
I rarely watch trailers before watching movies, and I never look up fan theories. Honestly! Because I love watching movies with a fresh mind.
I’m surprised by how I saw a lot of fan theories about “The Incredibles” floating around YouTube. I never came across fan theories about “The Incredibles 2” on YouTube before watching the movie today, nor did I really see much guessing in the YouTube comments section of the movie’s trailers. It was great to hear people talk about how ElastiGirl will be the central figure of the new movie, and their favorite scenes from the first movie like “Where Is My Super Suit?”.
The only trailer I saw for “The Incredibles 2” was the Olympics reveal trailer. (I didn’t even watch the Olympics.)
I only saw this trailer once before the movie, so without watching it again, here are some of my initial thoughts:
- Why does ElastiGirl have a new suit?
- ElastiGirl’s new suit looks like her old suit, but uglier I guess.
- Will everyone else in the Incredibles family get new suits?
- Damn, that animation style looks good.
- Does Jack-Jack have any other powers?
- Is Jack-Jack going through “a superhero phase”? Will Jack-Jack grow up to have all his powers, or just have one or two like Violet?
- Will ElastiGirl fight a villain that she knows personally? (Like how Mr. Incredible knew Syndrome as his #1 fan, Buddy.)
This trailer does drop some hints about the plot of the movie. It’s interesting how this trailer only shows that dude who wants to help bring back superheroes, and not his sister. A lot of people were assuming that that dude was the main villain of the movie. Probably because of how Syndrome’s Mirage pitched a similar idea – to not be afraid of doing superhero work again.
I totally forgot about how that dude was portrayed in the trailer when I watched the movie for the first time today, but I vaguely remembered his face. In the movie, he seemed pretty open and friendly, but my gut wanted to tell me that he might have an ulterior motive. That gut feeling worsened when I kept noticing how his sister would always sit somewhere off to the side, and sometimes in the shadows. At that point, I thought that if the sister looks suspicious, then the brother must also be suspicious. I also had another theory in mind: what if the brother was his sister’s pawn? It was a far-fetched thought, since it looked like the two siblings probably keep a close eye on each other since they plan everything together.
Brother and Sister (cont.)
I’m sorry I don’t know their names. (I’ll talk about how I feel about that detail later.)
These two siblings are by far my most favorite characters from “The Incredibles 2”.
I believe the sister is the eldest while the brother is the youngest. (So I’ll be talking about the two believing that that’s their birth order.)
According to the two siblings, their father was a man who greatly supported superhero efforts. He was murdered by someone who broke into their house, and unfortunately he was not able to contact Gazerbeam via telephone to stop the intruders.
With advancements in technology and communications, the brother feels that he can promote superheroes through his sister’s tech gadgets and submitting superheroes’ first-person videos of hero work to news reporters. On the other hand, the sister wants to use her tech gadgets to “expose” (or rather, tell a fictional, demoralizing story about) the clumsy, unflattering and abusive side of superheroes.
The brother could represent “openness to the idea of having superheroes in society”, or simply “hope for superheroes”.
The sister could represent “the old way of viewing superheroes as destructive people who fail to protect society and uphold the law”.
I think both siblings were kids when their father was murdered. Both of them lived through the same event, yet they interpreted the event differently. I’m so glad that these two characters are so different from each other instead of them both working together as villains because you don’t really see any other characters who clearly show how a traumatic experience drastically changed them and how they believe they should treat their father’s vision many years down the line.
The sister’s perspective on superheroes is far different from that of Syndrome’s. She’s totally against having any superheroes in society. She doesn’t care about being in the spotlight like Syndrome, but she’s interested in controlling where the spotlight is pointed to. Her whole game is entirely based on manipulating not just the superheroes and the public, but the media.
Like the sister, the brother very much understands how to manipulate through cameras and the media. His plan was to make ElastiGirl wait for danger in a dangerous area so that it’ll appear as if she responded to danger swiftly. He was hoping to capture footage in ElastiGirl’s perspective so that he’ll not only express how he feels about superheroes, but more importantly give ElastiGirl a better way for her to explain her account of events under a more positive light.
Theory: The Father’s Death was Caused By Syndrome? No. But Who Killed the Father and Gazerbeam?
As we all know, Gazerbeam was killed by Syndrome in “The Incredibles”. His remains were discovered in a cave by Mr. Incredible.
Now, going by what I remembered while I was watching “The Incredibles 2”, I thought that Gazerbeam was the first hero to die by the hands of Syndrome. Then, I went on to guess that Syndrome was the one who manipulated the public into going against superheroes.
But wait! Syndrome couldn’t have been alive back then.
So… If Gazerbeam didn’t respond to the father’s calls, was he still alive back then? Or did he die by the hands of Syndrome? At that point, I started to question my memories of Gazerbeam.
Is “The Incredibles 2” A Good Movie for Kids? / Media Communications
A lot of people who went to see “The Incredibles 2” are probably those who grew up watching “The Incredibles” when they were kids.
If you’re one of those people, then think about this:
Isn’t that amazing? Nowadays, we (especially kids and young adults) are exposed to so much digital news and social media. Information comes to us so easily – through the TV, smartphones, and word of mouth. And we digest A LOT of information. We’re guilty of not really analyzing the accuracy of information that comes to us because we’re so impatient and used to getting information quickly. Some of us fail to interpret and communicate information without some misunderstandings between both parties. Some of us are guilty of either fabricating information or sharing fabricated information. And sadly, the way we process information from the media and people influence our perspective on things, our decisions, and our behaviors.
The movie’s introduction subtly introduces how the media can influence people. After the Incredibles finished fighting The Underminer, a lot of movie viewers probably remember how the Incredibles defeated the Omnidroid and Syndrome in the first movie. So, it was a huge shock for me to see the police arrest the Incredibles after they were found in The Underminer’s machine. I was thinking, “The final fights from the first movie didn’t make society more accepting of superheroes yet? Well, I guess it’s not that easy to shift people’s perspectives.” Seeing Mr. and Mrs. Incredibles in the interrogation room with officers is easily one of the best scenes in the movie because it really shows how powerful superheroes are, they’re somewhat powerless under the laws of society. Moreover, this scene beautifully showed how Mr. Incredible’s honesty and efforts went unnoticed by the interrogator. “You let [The Underminer] get away?” “Yes.” “Did you try to prevent damages?” “Yes.” If the interrogator knew that Mr. Incredible was gonna admit to those things, then he was leading the conversation in that direction just to guilt-trip Mr. Incredible, make him feel like he’s responsible for all the city’s damages because of his wrecklessness. If that wasn’t the interrogator’s intention, then Mr. Incredible probably made himself look bad by answering the questions simply instead of enforcing the whole story from the get-go. Realistically, Mr. Incredible wouldn’t avoid the questions just to get his side of The Underminer fight out because he can’t argue with the law. He does argue with the interrogator a bit, but that’s after he answered some of the interrogator’s questions. Despite how Mr. Incredible tried to save his image after the interrogator accused him of such things, no one bothered to listen to Mr. Incredible’s arguments after he failed to quickly make a good impression at the beginning.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Incredible didn’t seem to argue much against the interrogator, from what I can remember. She wasn’t just careful; she respects the law more than Mr. Incredible because she sees the bigger picture – she doesn’t want to go to jail when she has to take care of her family, nor does she want to put an even larger dent on the image of superheroes. Those characteristics of ElastiGirl have been pretty evident since the first movie.
Why ElastiGirl? Why Did That Sister Pick Her?
At first, ElastiGirl seemed the least favored candidate for the sister to use her as her puppet.
One of the things I thought about after that sister brought out her “analysis reports” on Mr. Incredible, ElastiGirl and Frozone was this scene from the first movie. I saw the first movie a few days before watching the second movie, so this scene was pretty fresh in my mind. It was interesting to see how ElastiGirl’s location was UNKNOWN despite how she was married to Mr. Incredible. It’s even more interesting to see how Syndrome didn’t know that Mr. Incredibles was married to ElastiGirl and had superhero kids with her until he met the family on the island. Now, there’s no way Mirage was protecting Mr. Incredible’s family by not telling Syndrome because in the beginning, she had no sympathy for Mr. Incredible. If she was able to find Mr. Incredible so easily because he was regularly out in public, then how did she not find ElastiGirl as well? It can’t just be because ElastiGirl is a stay-at-home mother. I can’t quite figure out how ElastiGirl hid so well, so I’ll just sit on this thought.
Then, ElastiGirl mentioned how she used to have a mohawk and a motorcycle. I don’t know if those details are sufficient enough for me to make this judgment, but… I guess deep down, no matter how careful she’s been, she can be wreckless. What if she started being more cautious because of her wreckless past? Now that’s an interesting thought! She must’ve gone through a huge change in character for her to lose the mohawk and motorcycle. Anyways, the sister could’ve known of ElastiGirl’s wrecklessness, and chose ElastiGirl because of that.
Art Style and Designs
ElastiGirl’s new suit grew onto me as the movie progressed. I thought that the suit was designed by Edna, but thank god it wasn’t because it didn’t seem too fashionable. The new suit looks like a hybrid of her original suit and her red suit, I guess. The metallic design looks futuristic, and made ElastiGirl really blend in with the city environment. Had she kept the red suit, she would probably seem out of place because we viewers are used to seeing the whole family wearing red together.
The 3D, flat, retro style of the movie is spectacular. Their 3D shading is not quite the same as “Wreck-It-Ralph” or “Toy Story”. The flatness kinda has that classic feel like Pixar’s short film “Paperman”. (Sorry I can’t find a full HD version of “Paperman” :P.)
The time period is kinda indicated by stuff like the old TV sets and cartoons. I don’t know if the characters necessarily like in 20th-century America, or if they’re living in a mix between 20th and 21st centuries.
It’s funny how most of the action took place in the city than in a totally unfamiliar area like an island. The environments in this movie are pretty believable with people watching the news, the Incredibles family worried about education and daily life… I didn’t like how a lot of hero movies focus on fighting in outerspace or made the human world seem really unbelievable. I’m thinking of movies like “Dr. Strange” and “Guardians of the Galaxy”.
The hideout of The ScreenSlaver seemed pretty random. It was just an apartment building with strange collectibles, cameras, monitors, and flashing light equipment inside. I literally thought that this was one of the worst hideouts for a villain until ElastiGirl unmasked “The ScreenSlaver” and discovered that he was just a pizza guy who was brainwashed. I did, however, enjoy the strobe light effects in that apartment building. It may seem nauseating to those who aren’t comfortable with flashing lights, but I didn’t feel nauseated. Should Pixar remove or edit scenes with flashing lights? For me, I thought those flashing lights were a pretty crucial element to the storytelling. For one, they reminded me of flashing cameras. Another thing is that the disorienting effect that the lights do makes viewers confused, and not be able to think or pay attention. In reality, those flashing light scenes didn’t really last long and were scattered throughout the movie without forewarning. There are things in life that pop-up and divert our attention from reality, and that’s exactly what those flashing light effects represent. Besides the lighting effects, Pixar also paid close attention to shadows. As mentioned earlier, the sister was kinda off to the side, sitting in the shadows. What’s funny about that is that she wasn’t completely in the dark, yet some viewers (especially young viewers) may not have suspected that she was a suspicious character; a lot of people probably thought that she was simply a supporting character for the brother. Dark shadows were mostly casted on “The ScreenSlaver”, or the hostage who was disguised as the villain.
The fight scenes were pretty memorable. Two of my favorite fight scenes both included putting goggles onto the heroes. When I saw Frozone trying to protect the kids, I thought that the cliche “he defeats everyone and runs away with the kids in the Incredible car” would happen, so I was blown away when someone slapped goggles onto him. When Mr. and Mrs. Incredibe were fighting against each other, I instantly thought that Mr. Incredible would lose because obviously, who would win against a shape-shifter?
I’m kinda disappointed by the fight scenes with the kids. I thought that they would learn to stick together and fight together. But sadly they were stuck with the idea of babysitting Jack-Jack when they already know that they can just use his powers to their advantage. I figured that if Mr. Incredible, ElastiGirl and Frozone were easily defeated because they were fighting alone, then the kids would do their best to team up for survival. A lot of the fighting that happened between the kids and the brainwashed heroes seemed pretty clumsy and messy in my opinion. But then again, they’re kids who are used to seeing their parents take the lead, even though they really want to be in the front line. Because they didn’t really have their parents’ guidance, the only thing they could do is play a game of cat and mouse with their enemies.
Most Expressive – Violet
I like how she talked to Dash on the yacht while her body was invisible and her head was visible. That scene reminded me of how Pixar animators artistically portrayed ElastiGirl’s anger in the first movie by making her neck stretch when she was lecturing Mr. Incredible.
Well, this took longer than I thought it would take. I watched the movie yesterday, but I won’t edit anything in this blog post :P. I wanna keep my thoughts as close to my “first impressions” as possible.
Okay then, I hope you enjoyed reading this. Hopefully, I’ll be able to elaborate on some of the things I mentioned here in another blog post. Sorry if some of the things I wrote in this post are kinda messy; I was trying to let my thoughts flow freely.