Before 2015 comes to a close, I knew I had to review the second part of the ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy.
The sequel literally starts where the first film concludes, with a few noticeable cast changes, taking Marty, Doc and Jennifer to the future, but wait, the sequel adds a twist that wasn’t in the first film, Biff sees the flying DeLorean, and thus gives this film a problem to overcome, however, that’s not until later in the film.
The film feels very episodic, mainly leading to three different eras of time we travel through. While the first film we see 1985, that’s more of a setup than anything, as the film is mainly set in the year 1955, and the third film is mainly featured in 1885. While it could work better if they were blended more perfectly in the film’s narrative, they do have their reasons to be featured though. For some reason, I always found the first half of this film a bit of a chore to get through, not because of its clever and inventive vision of the year 2015, which sadly didn’t came to be, but because it takes a while to get into the film’s long-term story of Biff finding the almanac and going back in time to give to his younger self, if anything the almanac is the sequel’s plot device, and I don’t think it sustains enough momentum for a 100 minute feature.
The future part of the film, the characters seem cartoony and silly, and while it’s cool to see Marty as a parent, elements of the future just comes off strange for me, like the chicken part that is featured two times in the first half, and even a third time later on in the film, because this wasn’t a character flaw for Marty in the first film, mainly his flaw was facing rejection like his old man, it just comes out of nowhere and I frankly don’t buy it.
The second half starts off slow, but as soon as we find out about George McFly, from here on out, this film becomes an entirely different film, it becomes darker, the stakes are higher, and the scene between Biff and Marty about where he found the almanac is easily one of my favourite scenes in the entire film.
The film features clever nods and references to the first film, especially the 1955 third act of the film, and while it may seem like a rehash, it does enough to still be original, but also have fun with different takes and providing more context that wasn’t in the first film, and the conclusion is another highlight of the film, offering a cloud of mystery and uncertainty towards the film’s characters.
Overall, ‘Back to the Future Part II’ has problems abound, and while it is fun and creative, the future part narratively feels out of sync with the rest of the film, and doesn’t pick up until the alternate 1985 takes place. It may not be great as the first film, but it’s a fine fun sequel that fans can enjoy. Now where are my self-lacing shoes?