Incredibles 2, 2018.
Directed by Brad Bird.
Featuring the voice talents of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Catherine Keener, Eli Fucile, Bob Odenkirk, Samuel L. Jackson, Sophia Bush, Isabella Rossellini, and Jonathan Banks.
Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) is left to care for Jack-Jack while Helen (Elastigirl) is out saving the world.
It’s been a long road, but the sequel to Pixar’s 2004 hit The Incredibles is finally here. Pixar and returning writer/director Brad Bird make the long wait for Incredibles 2 worth it with an engaging story, fun character development and some entertaining action pieces. It’s a good return to the world of the Incredibles that delivers a lot of what most fans would want from a sequel.
Incredibles 2 continues the big storyline from the first film with supers being illegal and thought of more as a menace than heroes. When a billionaire approaches Mr. Incredible, his wife Elastigirl and their pal Frozone on a PR campaign to create a positive image for supers and repeal the law against them, a new supervillain named Screenslaver takes to the airwaves to combat the supers’ rising popularity and it’s up to the Parr family to stop them.
The sequel’s plot allows for a nice role reversal from the first film where Elastigirl is front and centre for most of the action and Mr. Incredible is left at home to take care of the kids. It not only offers new dynamics between the characters, but allows them to branch further out of their comfort zones, particularly in the case of Mr. Incredible as he can’t wait to get back to superhero-ing and has to deal with raising three vastly different superpowered kids.
Where it shines though is in Elastigirl’s expanded role as she spends most of the film apart from her family and on solo missions. The film uses her powers in some very unique ways, the most memorable of which involves a motorcycle chase across the city. Elastigirl is not only very capable with her own powers, but is shown to be very smart as she attempts to uncover the identity of Screenslaver and is an active agent to bring them down. There is also the examination of her status as a role model for new supers which raises her own identity aside from just portraying her as a mother away from her kids. Elastigirl’s is a very well done arc.
The kids also get expanded roles as they settle more into the superhero lifestyle, though it’s Violet and Jack-Jack that get the most screentime between the three children. Violet in particular has a fair amount to do as she comes to terms with being a young super and how that interferes with her social life, but she and Dash play a fairly key roles in the third act. Jack-Jack, however, is mostly used for comedic effect as the family discovers he has a wide range of powers that appear at random, but this story never really rises above anything but comic relief rather than being an integral part of the plot. It’s the one area where Incredibles 2 falters since it seems like Jack-Jack’s powers are being built up for something, but ultimately doesn’t lead to anywhere significant.
The voice cast does such a great job that you’d hardly think it’s been 14 years since they last played the characters. Holly Hunter’s portrayal of Elastigirl is earnest and shows how much of a fierce hero she is while Craig T. Nelson captures Mr. Incredible’s burgeoning responsibility of fatherhood with the three kids. Sarah Vowel’s performance as Violet gives the character a bit more depth as she comes to terms with her double life and Huck Milner takes up the role of Dash with the same amount of spirit as Spencer Fox from the original. Samuel L. Jackson is a slick as ever as Frozone while Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener are welcome additions to the franchise.
The story itself is fairly simplistic, much like the first one was. Incredibles 2 does add a bit of social commentary to its plot, touching a bit on body cams and laws that may not be morally right, but it doesn’t come on too strong with any particular political message. Rather, the film is about coming to terms with identity, whether that be as a superhero, teenager or parent. However, Pixar is well-known for creating strong, emotional themes in their films, especially when it comes to a parent and child relationship, but this doesn’t go quite as far as it could to examine the role of a parent raising a child who is literally different from everyone else. Instead, it focuses mainly on delivering a superhero adventure, which it does succeed at, but the film still could have gone a little further to pack more emotion into it when it comes to Violet and Jack-Jack’s stories.
One aspect that benefits from the long gap between films is the advancement in technology. While the graphics for The Incredibles still hold up, Incredibles 2 takes it to another level as it delivers some stunning imagery and tightly choreographed action sequences. The motorcycle chase mentioned previously is a standout, but the film takes full advantage of updated technology to really make characters and the powers of other supers look unique. Seeing all the various powers in action with each other is great and delivers some well thought-out action beats, but the facial expressions on the characters are amazing in their own right with so much detail. Dash’s freckles, for example, look very real while Violet’s facial ticks, from anger, exasperation or hardcore blushing, change with a great amount of ease.
Incredibles 2 is a worthy successor to the original film that delivers fun and exciting action sequences, good character development and outstanding visuals. The story could have been a bit stronger, particularly with the emotion in the parent/child dynamics, but Brad Bird and company still capitalize on everything the first film did so well. Fans will not be disappointed as Incredibles 2 is a fun ride for young and old alike.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★