Incredibles 2 (Film Review) – A Fun Sequel

Incredibles 2 is an animated superhero film directed by Brad Bird. It is a Pixar film that acts as a sequel to 2004’s The Incredibles with an ensemble voice cast that includes Brad Bird, Sophia Bush, Jonathan Banks, Catherine Keener, Bob Odenkirk, Samuel L. Jackson, Huck Milner, Sarah Vowell, Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter.

The story of Incredibles 2 follows the Parr family who have to try and find a balance between regaining the public’s trust of superheroes as well as having a civilian family life at the same time. However, a new enemy now seeks to turn the public against superheroes which could threaten everything that Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and his family have built after years in underground exile.

My Expectation For Incredibles 2

14 years. 14 years since The Incredibles came out to critical acclaim and, even to this day, it is still regarded by many as one of the best Pixar films ever made. It was a film I used to watch a lot as a kid and the ending of The Incredibles was something which definitely laid the groundwork for a sequel. However, we have had to wait 14 long years for Incredibles 2 to finally become a reality.

Parr Family in Incredibles 2

Thankfully, it seems that the majority of those who have seen Incredibles 2 so far have really liked the movie. Some prefer it to the original and others do not but the majority of those people still see the film as a worthy sequel. All I wanted Incredibles 2 to be was a worthy sequel that made me feel as though the wait for it was worth it.

My Thoughts On Incredibles 2

Thankfully, Incredibles 2 is a really good, fun sequel. While its core story is not as good as the original, it still delivers on entertainment. A couple of things which Incredibles 2 does improve over the original is the quality in animation as well as the action set-pieces. Both of these things are absolutely stellar and they show how far animation has come and what you can do with this medium of storytelling since the mid-2000s.

In terms of characters, I would have to say that my favourite from an entertainment standpoint was Jack-Jack. Every scene he was in was really funny and he kind of steals the film from everyone else when it comes to comedy. Dramatically, I liked what Mr. Incredible went through when it came to his role in the family and the family had a dynamic that was still as great as it was in The Incredibles.

Edna in Incredibles 2

Still, as I said, Incredibles 2 falls short of the original when it comes to its core story and the same can be said for its villain. I am not going to give away who the villain is in Incredibles 2 because it is meant to be shocking twist but the reveal was pretty predictable. You knew it was coming from a mile away and the villain in the film was nowhere near as compelling, imposing or personable as Syndrome when it came to their motivations.

My Final Thoughts on Incredibles 2

It took 14 years for Incredibles 2 to happen but I have no doubt it will take much less time to do an Incredibles 3 if Pixar chooses to do so. I am not sure how I feel about a third film in this franchise. If it is going to happen, then I would like the film to be set way in the future. I believe that seeing these characters considerably aged could provide some interesting character dynamics.

Still, whatever direction a possible Incredibles 3 goes in, I will see it thanks to how much I liked Incredibles 2 even if it does fall short of the original. If you go in with the right expectations, then I am sure that you will enjoy your experience with this movie, especially if you have a family.

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GLOW Season 2 (Television Review) – Very Good But I Prefer Season 1

It is always a great feeling when a season of television comes out of nowhere and surprises you in the best way possible with its heart and fun tone and that is exactly what Season 1 of GLOW did. While I did not think it was a masterpiece that a lot of people proclaimed it to be, it was a fun show to watch. I really liked the 30-minute, 10-episode structure of Season 1 and I was looking forward to seeing more of the same with Season 2.

My hopes for Season 2 were considerably raised when I saw a lot of reviews stating that this season was an improvement over the first. This is not an easy feat for any show to achieve and the glowing reviews gave me a lot of confidence in Season 2 of GLOW to expand upon and improve on what made Season 1 such an easy, enjoyable watch.

My Thoughts on Season 2 of GLOW

In my opinion, Season 2 of GLOW was very good. At times, it was even better than Season 1 but, overall, I prefer Season 1 to Season 2. This was largely down to an absolute disgrace of an episode in Season 2 but before I bash on that particular episode, let me first talk about how, for me, GLOW is stronger as a television show when it leans into its dramatic beats rather than its comedic. The drama and more grounded, human aspects in Season 2 were more compelling and I liked what the show was dealing with dramatically more than it was doing from a comedic sense.

Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling GLOW Season 2

Indeed, none of the jokes were really side-splitting. Throughout Season 2, I was only lightly chuckling at a lot of the jokes and the majority of them came whenever Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron) was involved. That was not a bad thing as Marc Maron is, just like Season 1, the best thing about Season 2 of GLOW. However, for a comedy-drama, both of these things really need to deliver and sadly, while the dramatic elements in Season 2 are done well, the comedy fell short for me in this season of GLOW.

The highlights when it came to the drama in Season 2 of GLOW include episodes such as Episode 4 (‘Mother of All Matches’) which dealt with the theme of family through characters such as Debbie (Betty Gilpin) and Tammé (Kia Stevens). Episodes 5-7 (‘Perverts Are People, Too’, ‘Work the Leg’ and ‘Nothing Shattered’) were the best of Season 2 of GLOW when it came to drama because of the development of the relationship between Debbie and Ruth (Alison Brie).

#MeToo

Clearly, they do not have the best relationship after Ruth’s affair with Debbie’s husband and everything came to a head as these episodes progressed. In ‘Perverts Are People, Too’, Ruth has a #MeToo moment with Tom Grant (Paul Fitzgerald), the President of the TV network that airs GLOW. Ruth leaves before anything worse happens to her but it was such an uncomfortable scene to watch and it was a timely episode of television which dealt with a serious subject matter in a way that will have an impact on you.

Alison Brie as Ruth Wilder in GLOW Season 2

Clearly, this moment has massive ramifications. GLOW gets a worse time-slot and this led to an intense scene between Debbie and Ruth about what Ruth went through. The response given by Debbie is horrible and this scene would not have been as powerful as it was without the fantastic acting given by Betty Gilpin and Alison Brie. Little did I know that this acting would be topped my an even more emotionally charged scene between Debbie and Ruth in ‘Nothing Shattered’.

Indeed, this episode dealt with the ramifications of ‘Work the Leg’ where Debbie, in a moment of rage towards Ruth, broke Ruth’s ankle during a wrestling match. In ‘Nothing Shattered’, where Ruth is lying on a hospital bed, things come to a head between Ruth and Debbie in a brutally intense moment. They let everything out and, for me, Episodes 5-7 were the pinnacle of Season 2 and GLOW in general. It signalled an upward trend in the quality of Season 2 and I could not wait for Episode 8 (‘The Good Twin’).

Episode 8 Sucks But Season 2 Ends Strong

Sadly, Season 2 came to a screeching halt with its eighth episode which was utter garbage. This episode was an actual in-world episode of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling and I was dumfounded with how completely unnecessary this episode was. Literally, all you have to do is just skip to the last moments of this episode where Justine (Britt Baron), Sam’s daughter, is seen by her mother on the television.

Chris Lowell as Bash and Betty Gilpin as Debbie in GLOW Season 2

This is the only important thing that happens in ‘The Good Twin’. The rest is just unbearable to watch and that episode immediately brought Season 2 to a place where it fell below Season 1 in terms of quality. Thankfully, Episodes 9 and 10 (‘Rosalie’ and ‘Every Potato Has A Receipt’) put Season 2 of GLOW back on track. Both of these episodes made me excited to see a third season of this show which would seemingly take place in Las Vegas.

Indeed, in ‘Every Potato Has A Receipt’, we see that GLOW is on the verge of being cancelled but the show is being pitched to new networks in the hope that GLOW can live on. Sadly, this does not happen but Ray (Horatio Sanz), a strip club owner that Sam met at Justine’s school dance in ‘Rosalie’ (Yeah, I know that sounds creepy but Ray was not being a pervert, he was just being a chaperone for his daughter), proposes that GLOW should be a live show in Las Vegas.

Ruth and Sam

The final scene of Season 2 shows everyone on a bus heading to Las Vegas and we see Ruth looking uncertain about the future. To me, this partly stems down to what happened in the last two episodes of Season 2 when it came to Ruth and Sam. As I mentioned earlier, Marc Maron as Sam Sylvia remains my favourite thing about GLOW. All of the comedy that works in GLOW comes from him and I really like his relationship with Ruth.

Alison Brie as Ruth Wilder and Marc Maron as Sam Sylvia in GLOW Season 2

Indeed, in ‘Work the Leg’, Ruth also confides to Sam about what happened with Tom Grant and why that was the reason GLOW got a worse timeslot. Sam has the complete opposite reaction to Debbie when Ruth tells him what happened. He praises Ruth for what she did and he goes on to vandalise Tom Grant’s car which further solidified my belief that Sam is the MVP of GLOW and his moments with Ruth in Season 2 are a big part of that.

Whether it is in the first episode of Season 2 (‘Viking Funeral’) where they are talking in Sam’s car or in ‘Work the Leg’ where Sam tells Ruth that she is irreplaceable to him despite her broken ankle, these two always have great moments together that elevate the show. Yet, Ruth and Sam’s relationship may now be a bit more awkward after what happened in ‘Rosalie’ where, at Justine’s high-school dance, Sam and Ruth slow-dance and Sam tries to make a move on Ruth which she rejects.

My Final Thoughts on Season 2 of GLOW

This has set up a potentially fascinating dynamic for Season 3, especially as Ruth is now romantically involved with Russell (Victor Quinaz), a cameraman who worked with Sam. I look forward to see how the things which were established in Season 2 play out next season.

Betty Gilpin as Debbie and Alison Brie as Ruth wrestling in GLOW Season 2

On the whole, I liked Season 2 of GLOW a lot but the awful eighth episode really brought it down for me which was a shame because, without that episode, Season 2 may have surpassed Season 1 in terms of overall quality. Unfortunately, it did not but I am eager to see Season 3 of GLOW when it comes out which I guess would be sometime in 2019.

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Sicario 2: Soldado (Film Review) – A Worthy, Brutal Sequel

Sicario 2: Soldado is a crime thriller directed by Stefano Sollima with Taylor Sheridan being the screenwriter for this film as he was for Sicario. Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin and Jeffrey Donovan reprise their roles from Sicario with Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Catherine Keener and Isabela Moner joining the cast.

The story of Sicario 2: Soldado is set at the United States/Mexico border and focuses on the drug war in these two countries. This war has intensified to such a brutal point that the drug cartels have started to smuggle terrorists across the border. This forces the CIA to enlist Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and Alejandro Gillick (Benicio del Toro) to end this threat to national security.

My Expectation For Sicario 2: Soldado

Sicario was one of the best films I saw in 2015. It was a powerful film that was criminally robbed of several Oscar nominations in categories such as Best Supporting Actor for Benicio del Toro and Best Picture. Moreover, a strong argument exists for Sicario to have won Best Picture over Spotlight, let alone just being nominated.

Benicio del Toro as Alejandro Gillick in Sicario 2 Soldado

As you can imagine, when I found out that a sequel to Sicario was being made, I was ecstatic. While I would have loved for Denis Villeneuve to come back as director, having Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro come back to play their characters as well as having Taylor Sheridan return to write the script was good enough.

I was intrigued to see what Stefano Sollima would bring from a directorial perspective in addition to seeing how Sicario 2: Soldado would expand on what Sicario established when it came to its characters, themes and story. It would be unfair for me to expect that Sicario 2: Soldado would be better than Sicario. Instead, all I wanted was this film to be a good sequel to Sicario. If this film got anywhere to the quality of Sicario, I would be shocked in the best possible way.

My Thoughts On Sicario 2: Soldado

While Sicario 2: Soldado is, as I believed it would be, not on the same level of quality as Sicario, it is still a very good film and a worthy sequel to the original. The biggest compliment I can give to Sicario 2: Soldado is how well it kept the feel, look, suspense and tone of the first film while also dealing with the same themes in a compelling way.

Isabela Moner as Isabela Reyes and Benicio del Toro as Alejandro Gillick in Sicario 2 Soldado

Right from its brutal opening, you are engaged with the story being told where themes such as morality, criminality and terrorism are at the forefront of a film where the performances given by the cast are just as stellar as they were in the first. Again, Benicio del Toro steals the entire film and his character’s relationship with Isabela Reyes (Isabela Moner) was something I really enjoyed.

Clearly, it evoked other films with similar character relationships such as Man on Fire and Logan and I really liked how the relationship between Alejandro and Isabela was portrayed in Sicario 2: Soldado. The dynamic between Benecio del Toro and Josh Brolin was as strong as it was in Sicario and I hope any sequel to Sicario 2: Soldado involves both of these actors. Certainly, a Sicario 3 is absolutely set up in the third act of this film.

Sadly, the third act is also where the film falls short when compared to the original. Indeed, Sicario 2: Soldado loses a bit of steam in its third act when compared to the first two acts. It is also not as powerful as the third act of Sicario. Still, I am absolutely keen to see a third film in this franchise, especially if it ties the first two together. If you loved Sicario, I am confident you will like Sicario 2: Soldado and be interested in a potential Sicario 3.

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