Movie Review: Incredibles 2 (2018)

Movie Review: Incredibles 2 (2018)

Does Pixar's long awaited sequel live up to the original?


"Incredibles 2", the sequel to the beloved Pixar property, has finally arrived after a fourteen-year wait. One would hope that the reason for the lengthy gap between films was to ensure that the sequel lived up to the standards of the original. Unfortunately, writer/director Brad Bird takes the path of least resistance and delivers a blatant cash-grab. Like "Monsters University", "Finding Dory", and the "Cars" sequels before it, "Incredibles 2" joins the growing pile of forgettable passing diversions from Pixar.

The film picks up moments after the end of the first film, with the superpowered Parr family facing off against the subterranean villain, the Underminer. Unfortunately, the villain gets away, leaving the family in dire straits. Superheroes are still illegal, and the superhero relocation program is being shut down. This leaves the super-family with little option but to return to normal society and ignore their natural abilities. Enter the Deavor siblings (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener), a pair of billionaire industrialists who approach Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Elasti-Girl (Holly Hunter), and Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) with a plan to make superheroes legal again. Deavor wants to reintroduce superheroes into the spotlight in the hopes of changing public opinion, determined that Elasti-Girl is the right hero to spearhead this movement.

With Elasti-Girl out in the field, Mr. Incredible is left to take care of the kids. This leads to a bloated series of scenes that comprise a bulk of the movie, unfolding without any urgency or real sense of direction. Mr. Incredible struggles to be a stay-at-home father, and hijinks ensue. Violet is mad because a boy she has a crush on had his mind wiped (and thus any memory of her) by the government following the Underminer fight, which she blames on Mr. Incredible. Jack-Jack's powers are still unpredictable, and he is a nuisance to wrangle. Dash is just an annoying kid. These scenes lack the relatable family dynamic of the original film, feeling more like a repetitive series of "What if X character did this?" moments. Meanwhile, Elasti-Girl gets wrapped up in a case involving the mysterious Screenslaver, a villain with the power to control minds (and, presumably, give the audience seizures) using flickering hypnotic screen displays. This storyline is oddly disconnected from the parts with the rest of the Parr family, further straying from the family dynamics that made the original great.

When the two disparate stories finally intersect, it is highly implausible. The Screenslaver's true identity and motivation make little sense, and their master plan is ridiculous. They plan to keep superheroes illegal by gathering a bunch of them and mind-controlling the heroes to crash a boat. Sure, okay, I guess. If nothing else, the third act at least benefits from some creative action scenes, even if there is minimal emotional investment in anything going. Several new superheroes are introduced during the Elasti-Girl storyline, and they all get a chance to show off their powers during the final fight in a series of mildly funny setups. By the time everything wraps up neatly at the end, it becomes apparent the movie had nothing else to offer than intermittent one-note gags.

Like most Pixar sequels, "Incredibles 2" is a harmless diversion in the moment but has no long-term staying power. As is to be expected from Pixar, the film looks gorgeous. The animation in the original film has aged awkwardly, as CG animation frequently does, but the sequel is suitably fresh and bright. There may not be much of substance going on, but at least there is plenty of neat animation and a fun 1960's atmosphere to look at. This is a sequel that feels like an extended coda, never adding anything new or meaningful to the original. Pixar is resting on its laurels for easy money, but even when they phone it in the result is better than most family movies.

Rating: 6/10

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11 Things Psychology Majors Hear That Drive Them Crazy

No pun intended.

We've all been there. You're talking to a new acquaintance, or a friend of your parents, or whoever. And then, you get the dreaded question.

"So what are you studying in school?"

Cue the instant regret of picking Psychology as your major, solely for the fact that you are 99.9% likely to receive one of the slightly comical, slightly cliche, slightly annoying phrases listed below. Don't worry though, I've included some responses for you to use next time this comes up in conversation. Because it will.

Quick side note, these are all real-life remarks that I've gotten when I told people I was a psych major.

Here we go.

1. So are you, like, analyzing me right now?

Well, I wasn't. But yeah. Now I am.

2. Ugh so jealous! You picked the easy major.

"Lol" is all I have to say to this one. I'm gonna go write my 15-page paper on cognitive impairment. You have fun with your five college algebra problems, though!

3. So can you tell me what you think is wrong with me? *Shares entire life story*

Don't get me wrong; I love listening and helping people get through hard times. But we can save the story about how one time that one friend said that one slightly rude comment to you for later.

4. Well, s**t, I have to be careful what I say around you.

Relax, pal. I couldn't diagnose and/or institutionalize you even if I wanted to.

5. OMG! I have the perfect first client for you! *Proceeds to vent about ex-boyfriend or girlfriend*

Possible good response: simply nod your head the entire time, while actually secretly thinking about the Ben and Jerry's carton you're going to go home and demolish after this conversation ends.

6. So you must kind of be like, secretly insane or something to be into Psychology.

Option one: try and hide that you're offended. Option two: just go with it, throw a full-blown tantrum, and scare off this individual, thereby ending this painful conversation.

7. Oh. So you want to be a shrink?

First off, please. Stop. Calling. Therapists. Shrinks. Second, that's not a psych major's one and only job option.

8. You know you have to go to grad school if you ever want a job in Psychology.

Not completely true, for the record. But I am fully aware that I may have to spend up to seven more years of my life in school. Thanks for the friendly reminder.

9. So you... want to work with like... psychopaths?

Let's get serious and completely not-sarcastic for a second. First off, I take personal offense to this one. Having a mental illness does not classify you as a psycho, or not normal, or not deserving of being treated just like anyone else on the planet. Please stop using a handful of umbrella terms to label millions of wonderful individuals. It's not cool and not appreciated.

10. So can you, like, read my mind?

It actually might be fun to say yes to this one. Try it out and see what happens. Get back to me.

11. You must be a really emotional person to want to work in Psychology.

Psychology is more than about feeling happy, or sad, or angry. Psychology is about understanding the most complex thing to ever happen to us: our brain. How it works the way it does, why it works the way it does, and how we can better understand and communicate with this incredibly mysterious, incredibly vast organ in our tiny little skull. That's what psychology is.

So keep your head up, psychology majors, and don't let anyone discourage you about choosing, what is in my opinion, the coolest career field out there. The world needs more people like us.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Short Stories On Odyssey: Roses

What's worth more than red roses?


Five years old and a bouquet of roses rested in her hands. The audience-- clapped away her performance, giving her a standing ovation. She's smiling then because everything made sense, her happiness as bright as the roses she held in her hands.

Fifteen now, and a pile of papers rested on her desk. The teachers all smiled when she walked down the aisle and gave them her presentation. She was content then but oh so stressed, but her parents happy she had an A as a grade, not red on her chest.

Eighteen now and a trail of tears followed her to the door. Partying, and doing some wild things, she just didn't know who she was. She's crying now, doesn't know anymore, slamming her fists into walls, pricking her fingers on roses' thorns.

Twenty-one and a bundle of bills were grasped in her hands. All the men-- clapped and roared as she sold her soul, to the pole, for a dance. She's frowning now because everything went wrong, but she has to stay strong, for rich green money, is worth more than red roses.

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