Back to the Future Part II exhausts its fusion energy on an overstuffed and convoluted plot. Warning: unpopular opinion alert. Having just watched the sequel to the brilliantly energetic Back to the Future for the first time, whilst having a moment of reflection as I imagine myself riding a hoverboard with a pair of Nike MAGs equipped, I arrived at my conclusive destination. No time travelling back and forth between alternate timelines needed. And as much as you probably do not want to hear this, honesty is the best policy. With that, I can confidently confess that Back to the Future Part II is aggressively average. A sequel riddled in so much mediocrity, that I'm dumbfounded as to how it has received such unanimous praise from audiences. Immediately after the events from its predecessor, Doc and Marty travel to the future to prevent his son from sabotaging their family's future.
However in doing so, future Biff uses Doc's time machine for his own devious benefit and timelines become more skewed than Glover's non-existent involvement (glad he won the lawsuit). Gale returns as the primary writer, and in the short space of time between this sequel and the original, he had seemingly forgotten how to write a decent character driven plot. The story is solely focused on the mechanisms of time travel, by dabbling into several different points in time, that Gale outwardly throws in as many paradoxical plot points as possible. The present, the future, the past, an alternate present. So much story was crammed into the plot, that he had inadvertently relinquished the heartwarming emotional family drama that made the original tantalisingly refreshing.
Literally, take the first hour of this film and use it as fusion energy. It's a complete re-hash. Copying the same events from 1955 and adapting them to futuristic technologies found in this now awkward dystopian 2015 (if only we had flying cars...), may generate callback humour. But consequently makes the entire set piece monotonously dull. Zip back to 1955, adjacent to the previous film's timeline, and again it's just an identical narrative structure. This time substituting the emotional core resonance between Marty's mother and father for a simplistic yet elongated chase sequence for a sports almanac. This would be all swell if Zemeckis could actually focus on one sub-plot at a time. The constant shifting between present Marty chasing Biff whilst avoiding past Marty and past parents, Doc floating around aimlessly in the DeLorean and Jennifer...wait, what even happened to her? Talk about discarding the one and only female character almost immediately!
Essentially, the pacing was diabolically uneven. The only hint of originality was with the alternate present timeline and that whole sequence was instantly forgettable. Had it been more emotionally impactful on Marty, then perhaps I would think differently. Unfortunately he shrugs it off and consistently yells "Doc!" whenever he has a minute not chasing someone.
Atleast Gale remedied my existing criticism with the first film by giving Biff some much needed character development. His antagonistic motives actually provided sufficient fuel for Doc and Marty. Lloyd offered another perfect performance as Doc, and Fox was slightly more underwhelming than his previous iteration, but that's down to the robotic script which provided more opportunities for visual spectacle. And yes, the visuals still hold up well today (minus Glover not Glover floating upside down...). But to waste a total of five minutes by replicating the ending to the original (shot-for-shot) and spewing a teaser trailer for Part III, was futile.
In all seriousness, I'm shrouded in disappointment. From all the "woops" and "cheers" that this trilogy has received over time, I would've anticipated a solid sequel. Alas, the uneven overstuffed plot slowed the pace down to a staggeringly moderate 30mph, not nearly enough motivation for me to travel back in time and watch this again in a hurry.