21 July 2018

The Fantastic Five

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Fourteen years after The Incredibles hit theatres we finally get the wittily titled Incredibles 2. Each member of the family has a different super-power whilst the franchise as a whole displays the amazing skill of having not being sued by Marvel for ripping of the Fantastic Four. Mr Incredible is super-strong, his son and daughter are super-fast and posses the power of invisibility. Meanwhile Elastigirl, the family matriarch, has the kind of power that makes her super flexible and therefore able to easily achieve the kind of positions that we men would usually have to have a rib removed to achieve. As her name suggests her body also appears to be made of elastic with her limbs and torso able to stretch much further than my patience when at the cinema with a bunch of screaming fucking brats. At this point in the story, all superheroes have been made illegal because, at the end of the day, I guess they're just a bunch of fucking do-gooders with too much time on their hands and a latex fetish. In which case it's even more admirable of Elastigirl that, when forced to give up her job as a hero she chose to live a quite domestic life, when she could be making a fucking fortune in Amsterdam.

I mention Elastigirl more than the other members of her family because this sequel is very much belonging to her. Despite the decade and a half gap since the original film was released, this second part to the franchise only takes place a mere minute or two after we left off. For live-action, this would of course be impossible due to an actors insistence on ageing as humans do, or attempting to dodge the aging process by turning into whatever the fuck Mickey Rourke is. However one of the little joys of the film is in how it starts with the gang still facing off against that mole-man villain that's also a rip-off of a Fantastic Four villain. The family quickly decide to deal with him only to find themselves in even more trouble due to the destruction that the ensuing battle ends up causing to the city. Although if I was a member of that family I'd simply show them the end of Man Of Steel in which Superman leaves Metropolis in such a state that you could filter it through a fucking sieve and tell them to count their lucky fucking stars. As such, Elastigirl finds herself being picked up by an influential brother and sister who claim that they can change the super-hero image around and have her profession re-legalised by winning public favour. All she has to do is a few missions that will show her in a more positive light. Although the way the world seems to be going right now, she could save herself the bother by just mentioning some “shithole countries”, locking a few kids up at the border, and then watching her fuckwit followers grow by the day. 

Throwing a small spanner in her works however is the arrival of a new super-villain known as the Screenslaver who essentially acts like an evil Derren Brown and dresses like Tom Hardy's Bane in a gimp-suit. I won't give too much away here except to say that any twists revolving this character are about as obvious as a mans cock in a pair of speedos and you've have to be pretty dense not to see them coming. At the same time as all of this, Mr Incredible is forced to stay at home with the children and seems to be having such a miserable time with it that I began to understand why wrestlers go mad and kill their families. Originally oblivious to his baby Jack-Jack's super-powers, we watch and laugh as he struggles to keep track of the infant as it reveals more and more of its gifts. There's at least one particularly hilarious sequence in which the father attempts to control his baby as it fights a racoon that really does hammer home how much Louise Woodward over-reacted when all hers did was cry a bit too much. If there's any criticism of the stuff with Mr Incredible it's that, although the funniest part of the movie, his section has almost nothing to do with the main story at all. Where Elastigirl is really pushing the narrative forward we simply seem to cut back to the rest of her family whenever it's time to lighten things up with a funny scene. If a perfect film is like a clock with everything ticking over then this is like a sundial in which you're allowed to tug one out every twenty minutes. Both essentially get the job done it's just one is a little messier. 

If we take for granted that everything else about the movie was pretty great, from the animation to the action, then I'd like to point out that one of the things that I enjoyed about it was its message. Screenslaver's power is that he can hypnotise you to do his bidding but only if you stare at a monitor which is something that we obviously all do these days. Whether it be the television, your phone, or a computer, I'm at the point now where I consider reality my loading screen and I can't wait to get back to staring at my precious pixels. As such I suppose the villain of the movie is a subtle warning about the powers of manipulation that these screens can have on you which, in an online world of Russian bots, is something remarkably current. Just look at adverts alone which can have a remarkable effect on our behaviour and you might see this film as a cautionary tale of giving in to the demands of the screen. Essentially the film used trailers to get you to come and stare at it on the big screen and then gave you a lecture about having given in to these demands. Although watching Elastigirl discovering the source of the villains power and seeing her run about manically attempting to stop people staring at the monitors, I was reminded of my own Mum during my childhood. Except with Elastigirl I understood that it was to the benefit of everybody's health to turn the televisions and computers off and she wasn't just being a fucking kill joy. 

The other thing that the film does pretty brilliantly is take a look at the correlation between legality and morality. Is something bad simply because it's illegal? And is breaking the law justified if it's an unjust law in the first place? As I take a drag from an outlawed but ultimately relaxing substance, I have to admit that I'm not sure where I stand on this. But it's also interesting to see a family film deal with a subject so interesting, when only a mere few weeks after the James Corden-voiced Peter Rabbit made us ponder how far we can kick a fucking rabbit. It was also interesting to see Elastigirl justify her own hypocrisy of believing the law to be absolute and then setting about breaking that law in order to have it changed. Essentially she has to be a superhero to prove that being a superhero is a good thing in order for the law prohibiting super-heroics to be abolished. I guess she's of a similar mind to the members of MI6 inCasino Royale who only give out a licence to kill to agents like Bond once he's proven that he can kill at least two people first. Incredibles 2 doesn't delve as hugely into this issue as perhaps I would have liked it to, but it's still a pretty lofty and impressive subject for it to touch on. Toy Story is obviously a great movie but the only real idea that it has is that you should have your action figures facing away from you when you want to knock one out... unless you're a perv. 

So overall I'd say that this sequel is a completely worthy follow-up to the original movie, if never quite being as brilliant as it. If the first movie was Kurt Russell then this one is his son Wyatt in that they look the same, are both great, but I've spent longer loving the original to be able to consider them equal. If you want a film that you can take everybody to see and don't mind the widespread sexual harassment and deeply worrying misogyny from the studio behind it then Incredibles 2 is the film for you. I have no idea if they'll make a sequel to this movie but if they do I'll certainly be first in line to watch it. And then I'll be boarding up the fucking doors when I get in because I hate children and it pisses me off that I have to endure their noise just because I want to see a film in which they're the target audience. At two hours long I suppose this movie might test the youngest of children's patients but it's also rated PG. Which means if you're taking your very young child to see this movie then you're probably a terrible parent anyway and so may as well go one fucking further and show them it on a double feature with The fucking First Purge.Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.

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