This morning, as I’m preparing to buy tickets:
Me: “Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom?”
15yo: “Why does that movie even exist?”
Me: “People running from dinosaurs!”
15yo: “We’ve seen that.”
Me: “In a glass ball!”
15yo: “That too.”
Me: “And they get saved by a dino that eats another dino.”
15yo: “That too.”
Me: “People in a ball running from dinos eating dinos being devoured by a volcano OVER A CLIFF INTO THE OCEAN.”
15yo: “Okay, that’s new, but it doesn’t FEEL new.”
True story, and it’s why I went by myself.
I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the cliff-diving hamsterball amid a volcano-powered dinosaur stampede marked the end of Act I. As were pretty much all the scenes from the trailers¹. Nice!
In that spirit, I won’t spoil the film for you. I will, however, state that it doesn’t really feel new. I did enjoy it more than Jurassic World, however. Much more competence on display, for starters. Plenty of stupid mistakes, too, but the people who are supposed to be good at their jobs are quite good at them.
Aaand some of them get eaten by dinos.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom clears my Threshold of Awesome because I was having fun pretty much the whole way through.
¹ Updated to add: I guess I didn’t see ALL the trailers. The movie didn’t get spoiled by trailers for ME, but it definitely got spoiled for other folks.
Before I begin my review, a public service announcement: Incredibles 2 may trigger seizures in sufferers of photosensitive epilepsy¹, and may in other ways afflict anyone who is sensitive to flashing lights. Seriously. There’s a fight scene in a room full of patterned strobes, and in the darkened theater there will be no steady-state light source to provide refuge for your eyes. The scene is only a small slice of the movie but it’s enough to absolutely ruin your day if flashing lights can hurt you.
And now, the review: I really enjoyed Incredibles 2, but it petered out for me toward the end. My very favorite super-powered engagement took place mid-movie, and while there were plenty of cool heroic bits later, none of them lived up to that level of awesome.
Still, it’s a fun film. It suffers mostly in comparison to Incredibles, which is to my mind the best Fantastic Four film we’ve ever had (in the same way that Galaxy Quest is the best Star Trek film we’ve ever had².) Incredibles 2 doesn’t clear my Threshold of Awesome, but I definitely want to see it again. In my own home, where I can fast-foward through the flashing lights, because they triggered a brief migraine, and I already get enough of those.
¹ I’m not a medical professional, nor an expert in epilepsy, but that scene hurt *me* and I’m just a guy who sometimes gets migraines. The picture on the Epilepsy Foundation’s page? Imagine that, strobing, only without the helpful yellow bits.
² “How can it be, if it’s not ACTUALLY a Star Trek film?” Hence the comparison. It’s kind of nuanced.
Deadpool 2 was more fun and less uncomfortable than 2016’s Deadpool. At least for me. YMMV, of course. The film unmistakably earns its R-rating, so it’s not one to bring the kids to.
That said, it does clear my Threshold of Awesome, thanks to some final scenes putting it over the top. Yes, there’s a scene interrupting the early credits, and although there’s no after-the-credits scene, stick around for the audio at the very end.
In terms of tone, I’d categorize Deadpool 2 as an action-comedy in the same vein as Spy and The Hitman’s Bodyguard (both of which I really enjoyed.) And then there’s the way Wade Wilson breaks the fourth wall¹, allowing him to tell jokes other movies can’t get away with like commenting on the soundtrack².
¹ Deadpool knows that the Marvel Cinematic Universe exists, and that he’s not part of it. If you’re heavily invested in the Avengers films Wade Wilson’s commentary may be very satisfying.
² Children of the 80’s may get a bit more out of the musical juxtapositions than later generations will. My daughter loved that the music was weird and out-of-place. I loved that it was weird and out-of-place, and yet perfectly suited for the scene because I remember the music video.
I enjoyed Avengers: Infinity War, but not unreservedly. It has brilliant, beautiful moments, and it does some daring and wonderful things with character and story, but there are reasons why audiences are not exuberantly cheering on their way out of the theater.
I want to make a recommendation, but I can’t do so without brushing right up against the threshold of spoilers and pointing at some interesting footprints on the other side of that line. Here’s the line.
And here’s my recommendation: If you’re an adult with kids who love the Marvel movies, you should see Infinity War without them before deciding to see it with them. This film is about 75% what you expect from an Avengers film, but that other 25% is definitely not what you expect. It might be more convenient for you, as a parent, to have already processed those bits before you have to process them with small people.
Avengers: Infinity War marks the point where the Marvel Cinematic Universe fully and finally commits to being a collection of blockbuster films that are also serial installments, with everything that the word “serial” implies. It does not cross my Threshold of Awesome yet. I hold out hope that it will do so in 2019…