It’s family first and family last? It’s family first and family last? The Addams’ Family cinematic universe reviewed

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Addams family? A family that is creepy and kooky? Mysterious and spooky? All together ooky, even? All of these elements are essential to who the Addams family is at their core. However, more important than the hijinks and their macabre way of interacting with “normal society” are the values they have been upholding for decades. The Addamses as characters, but also as a brand, are about the importance of loving and supporting your family unconditionally, about loving yourself for who you are, and about standing up to corrupt systems of oppression. It is these core Addams family values that I used as the basis for my ranking system, and so it seems fitting that my favourite Addams family movie is easily Addams Family Values (1993).
Before I properly dive into my rankings, I should say that I only reviewed four of the five existing Addams family movies, and I will be ranking these movies from best to worst because you need to know the Addamses at their best to really understand their worst. So, let’s start with the fan favourite, Addams Family Values (1993).
To be perfectly honest, I had never seen an Addams family movie in its entirety before writing this article. As someone who hates horror movies and all things scary, I never understood the appeal of watching a family whose whole dynamic is scary. But this movie made me understand; it is entertaining, funny, genuinely charming, and it has some incredible social commentary that has aged pretty well. Has it aged perfectly? Definitely not. But given that this movie came out two years before Disney’s Pocahontas, it is amazing how brutally honest and poignant Wednesday’s “genocide is bad, white settlers are bad” speech is. The scenes with Wednesday and Pugsley at summer camp are easily the best parts of the movie; these scenes combined with the superb acting of the main cast make up for any of the movie’s flaws.
In second place, is the first Addams family movie, The Addams Family (1991). This movie is kind of all over the place when it comes to plot, and the ending is bizarrely abrupt. However, this movie introduces the best Addams family cast to date and is overall a good introduction to the Addams world. Gomez and Morticia are truly the healthiest couple to be portrayed on-screen, and the family dynamic is genuinely amazing to watch. These people care so deeply about each other, not just because of familial obligation, but out of love, and it shows in every scene.
In third place, shockingly, is Addams Family Reunion (1998). Overall, this movie is not good. Aside from Tim Curry, none of the other actors seem to care about the movie they are in or the characters they are portraying. Yes, Tim Curry plays Gomez in this movie. How we went from having a Puerto Rican actor play Gomez in the 1991 and 93 movies, to having the 80’s favourite Hollywood white boy Tim Curry play Gomez, I could not tell you. There is a lot that is bad about this movie; the CGI is absolute garbage, a lot of the Addams family values are lost in favour of cheap gags, and the ending is terrible and the pacing is somehow even worse in this movie than in the previous two. In spite of all this, fourth place is reserved for a movie that takes everything the Addams family stands for and throws it all out the window: The Addams Family animated movie (2019).
I watched the Addams family movies in chronological order, and by the time I finished The Addams Family (2019), I could have written an entire article on why this movie is so distasteful. Arguably, this movie is the best made of any of the Addams family movies. From a purely technical standpoint, this movie has good animation, character designs that are faithful to the original 1938 comic strips, decently funny dialogue, some clever references to previous Addams family media for hardcore fans (or for someone who watched four Addams family movies in three days), and a plot with logical pacing. However, when it comes to tone and consistency, this movie falters a lot.
The Addams family is at its best when they stand up for marginalized communities against normalcy/oppression. No matter how macabre they may be, the Addamses have always had respect for other people, and they are always welcoming to “normal” people who want to join their family, so long as those people are accepting of the Addams way of life.
The Addams Family (2019) is all about how the “normal” people of Assimilation Town (yes, that is the town’s real name) hate and fear the Addamses just as much as the Addamses hate and fear them. Then, the movie pivots during its climax to have everyone in town suddenly get along perfectly because the one villain has been defeated. I cannot believe that I watched the Addamses of all people confront their biases towards the poor, misunderstood oppressors, only for everyone in town to learn to love each other because Wednesday Addams made one friend.
None of these movies are high end cinema, but if you are looking for a fun Halloween movie with some important social commentary peppered throughout, check out The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values for sure, and maybe even Addams Family Reunion if you can find it. I will probably go see The Addams Family 2 (2021) out of morbid curiosity (it’s what the Addamses would want), but an Addams movie that is all macabre-ish jokes without any of the family values and social commentary so intrinsic to the Addams core is semi-amusing entertainment meant for children and children only.

The Addams’ Family cinematic universe reviewed
By Christina Acton

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Addams family? A family that is creepy and kooky? Mysterious and spooky? All together ooky, even? All of these elements are essential to who the Addams family is at their core. However, more important than the hijinks and their macabre way of interacting with “normal society” are the values they have been upholding for decades. The Addamses as characters, but also as a brand, are about the importance of loving and supporting your family unconditionally, about loving yourself for who you are, and about standing up to corrupt systems of oppression. It is these core Addams family values that I used as the basis for my ranking system, and so it seems fitting that my favourite Addams family movie is easily Addams Family Values (1993).
Before I properly dive into my rankings, I should say that I only reviewed four of the five existing Addams family movies, and I will be ranking these movies from best to worst because you need to know the Addamses at their best to really understand their worst. So, let’s start with the fan favourite, Addams Family Values (1993).
To be perfectly honest, I had never seen an Addams family movie in its entirety before writing this article. As someone who hates horror movies and all things scary, I never understood the appeal of watching a family whose whole dynamic is scary. But this movie made me understand; it is entertaining, funny, genuinely charming, and it has some incredible social commentary that has aged pretty well. Has it aged perfectly? Definitely not. But given that this movie came out two years before Disney’s Pocahontas, it is amazing how brutally honest and poignant Wednesday’s “genocide is bad, white settlers are bad” speech is. The scenes with Wednesday and Pugsley at summer camp are easily the best parts of the movie; these scenes combined with the superb acting of the main cast make up for any of the movie’s flaws.
In second place, is the first Addams family movie, The Addams Family (1991). This movie is kind of all over the place when it comes to plot, and the ending is bizarrely abrupt. However, this movie introduces the best Addams family cast to date and is overall a good introduction to the Addams world. Gomez and Morticia are truly the healthiest couple to be portrayed on-screen, and the family dynamic is genuinely amazing to watch. These people care so deeply about each other, not just because of familial obligation, but out of love, and it shows in every scene.
In third place, shockingly, is Addams Family Reunion (1998). Overall, this movie is not good. Aside from Tim Curry, none of the other actors seem to care about the movie they are in or the characters they are portraying. Yes, Tim Curry plays Gomez in this movie. How we went from having a Puerto Rican actor play Gomez in the 1991 and 93 movies, to having the 80’s favourite Hollywood white boy Tim Curry play Gomez, I could not tell you. There is a lot that is bad about this movie; the CGI is absolute garbage, a lot of the Addams family values are lost in favour of cheap gags, and the ending is terrible and the pacing is somehow even worse in this movie than in the previous two. In spite of all this, fourth place is reserved for a movie that takes everything the Addams family stands for and throws it all out the window: The Addams Family animated movie (2019).
I watched the Addams family movies in chronological order, and by the time I finished The Addams Family (2019), I could have written an entire article on why this movie is so distasteful. Arguably, this movie is the best made of any of the Addams family movies. From a purely technical standpoint, this movie has good animation, character designs that are faithful to the original 1938 comic strips, decently funny dialogue, some clever references to previous Addams family media for hardcore fans (or for someone who watched four Addams family movies in three days), and a plot with logical pacing. However, when it comes to tone and consistency, this movie falters a lot.
The Addams family is at its best when they stand up for marginalized communities against normalcy/oppression. No matter how macabre they may be, the Addamses have always had respect for other people, and they are always welcoming to “normal” people who want to join their family, so long as those people are accepting of the Addams way of life.
The Addams Family (2019) is all about how the “normal” people of Assimilation Town (yes, that is the town’s real name) hate and fear the Addamses just as much as the Addamses hate and fear them. Then, the movie pivots during its climax to have everyone in town suddenly get along perfectly because the one villain has been defeated. I cannot believe that I watched the Addamses of all people confront their biases towards the poor, misunderstood oppressors, only for everyone in town to learn to love each other because Wednesday Addams made one friend.
None of these movies are high end cinema, but if you are looking for a fun Halloween movie with some important social commentary peppered throughout, check out The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values for sure, and maybe even Addams Family Reunion if you can find it. I will probably go see The Addams Family 2 (2021) out of morbid curiosity (it’s what the Addamses would want), but an Addams movie that is all macabre-ish jokes without any of the family values and social commentary so intrinsic to the Addams core is semi-amusing entertainment meant for children and children only.

One Response

  1. Hello! This post couldn’t be written any better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my good old
    room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this post to
    him. Pretty sure he will have a good read.
    Many thanks for sharing!

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