Monday, June 11th, 2018 at 12:00 pm
The Incredibles 2 Director: Brad Bird Writer: Brad Bird Cast: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Samuel L. Jackson, John Ratzenberger, Brad Bird, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Sophia Bush, Isabella Rossellini Studio: Disney/Pixar Rated PG | 118 Minutes Release Date: June 15, 2018
The Incredibles is that perfect blend of fun and nostalgia. It’s that call back to a time where things were much simpler, but there was still a world that needed saving. There was no social media. Fun actually consisted of going outside and getting fresh air. And yet, the themes explored in that film still felt very relevant to the time of its release. Insecurities, loss, family. Everything about it was signature Pixar. Those poignant themes mixed in with a whole lot of fun. And who doesn’t love a good superhero movie?
Flash forward 14 years later. Superhero movies are now all too common. There are those who are worried about superhero fatigue. Some even roll their eyes at the fact that another is released or are shocked that there is a sequel. But not so much with Incredibles 2. It’s the sequel everyone is waiting for. The entire cast is back for this animated feature and with Brad Bird at the director’s helm for a sequel that proves good things come to those who wait.
Check out my full review here below.
Incredibles 2 takes place moments after the first film ended, with the Parr family coming together to stop The Underminer from robbing a bank. However, this proves to be a daunting task as their attempts to stop Underminer’s tank causes more mayhem and destruction. Though the group was still able to stop the tank, their efforts are frowned upon. And because of the superhero act that forced the family to go into hiding and prevented them from using their powers is still in effect, they are convicted of breaking the law.
With no job, a source of income, or a home, Bob Parr aka Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Helen Parr aka Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) have very limited options. That is until their friend Lucious aka Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) comes to their help with an offer. If they go with him to meet superhero fan and telecommunications Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), they may be able to get back on their feet. And with the help of his tech-saavy sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener), they set out to make superheroes be right.
Deavor’s tragic loss of his father due to the government making supers illegal is exactly why he wants to help change the public’s perception on supers. So he will use Elastagirl as a means to accomplish that goal. Little do they know, the mysterious Screen Slaver will do anything to make sure they don’t succeed. Using television and computer screens, the Screen Slaver hypnotizes victims and gets Elastigirl’s attention.
It seems fitting that the film takes place right where the first film left off because it feels like we never left the theater. Well, we did, it just took 14 years to get us back into it. That being said, Incredibles 2 is still an exciting film with an abundance of nostalgic fun. Nothing about the world has changed. It still has that 1960’s vibe reverberating throughout the film. But now there are even more nods to that generation with shoutouts to The Outer Limits and Johnny Quest.
And yet, the settings are still very much about the future. Monorails are a new wave of transportation. Cars can transform. There’s also high-tech security. Text to screen. It feels new yet old at the same time. Even the spandex suit tells us that this takes place in a time where there are no Iron Man suits or aliens from another planet.
But the one thing that has changed is who will be going out into the field to save the day. While Helen is out rescuing people from runaway monorails or foreign dignitaries, Bob has to hold down the fort at their new home. It’s a bit of an adjustment for the muscular hero who is known for his super-strength and not his flexibility. And yet, he somehow adapts to his newfound role as the den father. He takes care of his children’s needs. Dash (Huck Milner) struggles with math, which apparently has new concepts. Violet (Sarah Vowell) has a crush on a boy. Then there’s Jack-Jack, who is now displaying an unlimited wealth of superpowers, something the family never noticed until now.
It’s a nice change of pace for the film, and the only direction it could have gone if they wanted to display some semblance of character growth. Now we get to see Helen do the heroics. Not that she hasn’t done that at home or on the field in the first film, but we get to see her powers on full display. While Mr. Incredible’s heroism was secluded mostly to an island, Helen’s is out in the public, and we get to see that sense of urgency as she prevents a train from crashing while also running through all measures before ending up with the inevitable busting through a window.
And that’s where a lot of the film shines. The action sequences are bright and colorful, while also suspenseful and intense. It’s quite a rush to see these heroes in action. And there are even more heroes to boot with even more powers to push the sequel’s animation limits. Void sends Dash running in an endless loop using her powers to create portals. Jack-Jack’s unlimited potential of powers from spontaneous combustion, laser eyes, and multiplicity creates endless fun. And we get to see that in a full-on confrontation with a rabid raccoon. Even Violet gets a chance to display some new powers.
Although, there is an obvious difference with the animation from then to now. But that gap isn’t going to take away from the fun. In fact, it’s going to make you have a greater appreciation for the original, as it will show just how far Pixar has come since 2004. The animation looks crisp and things don’t look as one tone. The costumes don’t look like they are part of the character’s skin. There are finer details that help plus the film and adds far more complexity. It also makes things more distinguishable. Now the city feels populated unlike the first where it looked like random people inserted in places. The explosions look more real. It just looks like things have improved since then. Obviously.
Wrap all of that with Michael Giacchino‘s delightful music, and Incredibles 2 soars even higher. The music composer returns for a second go around, which only adds to the idea that this film never really left us, even though it has taken us 14 years to get a sequel. Honestly, having anyone else compose the music would have been a crime. Just as it wouldn’t be the Incredibles without its original cast, it wouldn’t be the Incredibles without Giacchino’s music.
Bird’s script knows how to keep the film going without feeling repetitive. Even though a lot of the world still feels the same. Again, while it may look like this is a film of the 1960s, the writing still feels relevant. A reflection of our times as women are striving to get out of their male counterpart’s shadow. At the same time, the use of guns is much more prevalent than it was the first time around, with Deavor’s loss of his father being one of the motivating factors to get superheroes to be legal once more.
Meanwhile, Evelyn has a different approach to establish her own place in the movie. She sees Elastigirl as the sister she never had, and is able to confide in her about her disagreements with her brother, Winston. And Samuel L. Jackson has a slightly larger role in this, providing some cool comic relief and action. And Bird even returns to voice the endearing Edna, who helps Bob with babysitting duties. Something which ends up being one of the best parts of the entire film.
As far as Pixar films go, this is probably one of the longest. But it certainly doesn’t feel that way with the pacing of the film. Every minute is filled with excitement, action, humor, and fun. There is also that air of mystery that harks back to those Johnny Quests and Outer Limits of old. If anything, this is one of the best Pixar sequels since Toy Story 3. The production design itself makes the film worth watching. And that score. That incredible score by Giacchino. There’s no doubt that Incredibles 2 is destined to be a classic just like its predecessor.