Summer Catch-Up: Part 1

This summer movie season hasn’t necessarily been churning out a host of must-see entertainment. In fact, it’s one of the weaker seasons I can remember. With that in mind, it felt like a great opportunity to flex this whole MoviePass business and take it for a drive, which has allowed me to catch up on a lot of films at the multiplex I wouldn’t have normally rushed out to see (I’m still not rushing). So let’s catch up with some of these would-be blockbusters and see how they fare, starting with some sequels…

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Deadpool 2
While I enjoyed the first Deadpool’s irreverent and 4th-wall-breaking brand humor, it wasn’t some huge groundbreaking experience for me. Knowing a sequel was on the way, I was a bit concerned that the Merc-in-a-Mask’s shtick would grow tiresome. While I don’t think this sequel is tired — it has some great additions to the cast and a couple of really fun sequences — the novelty does seem to be wearing off. It’s a fun time with some solid ideas about found family and while I was entertained in the moment, it didn’t leave me much to take home. Grade: B

 

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
There has only been one good Jurassic movie, and after five films, I’m starting to feel inclined to give The Lost World more credit than I gave it even at the young age of 9 years old. Jurassic World I thought was big, sometimes fun, most times dumb, and not all that memorable while simply mimicking the original film. In this strangely conceived sequel of trying to rescue the Dinosaurs before a volcano takes out the island (aren’t there two islands?), we spend a grand total of maybe 30 minutes on the island. J.A. Bayona is one of my favorite recent filmmakers, but not even his exceptionally keen eye for shot design and staging sequences can save this dreary and baffling script. Grade: D

 

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Incredibles 2
There are many out there who consider The Incredibles to be the best of what Pixar has to offer. I am not one of those people. While I very much enjoy the first film (definitely Top 10 for Pixar), it’s not one of my personal favorites. It’s been 14 years since the original and whenever it takes that long to get a sequel out, it’s fair to wonder whether this was a good idea anymore. Well I’m pleased to say that Incredibles 2 matches the original in action, humor, and its resonant depiction of family dynamics. Watching Mr. Incredible act as a stay-at-home dad is chock full of great moments and Holly Hunter is wonderful as always, especially now being given a larger spotlight. It may not be as cohesively satisfying as the original, there’s quite a few things to juggle and the villains are more or less functional, but you’ll be damned to find a much better time at the theaters this summer. Grade: A-

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