It’s hard to fathom that the first installment of The Incredibles was released 14 years ago. I was in middle school then! Now, a college grad and working professional, I was just as excited to see Incredibles 2 as I was the first one at my young age. What’s funny is most of the moviegoers in the theater seeing the new film with me looked to be my age.
We find ourselves jumping in pretty much where the first film leaves off: superheroes are still illegal. Despite that, the Parrs have not completely given up their calling to save the world. The family’s superhero future seems to be crumbling to pieces before the Deavor siblings (played by Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener) of tech company, Devtech, present a hopeful offer in the form of a project that will aim to restore public perception of Supers. The Deavors choose Helen Parr/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) to be their prime example for the project, leaving Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) to look after the kids. But things aren’t what they seem, and our superhero family must work together not only to save the world and themselves, but to restore the perception of all Supers.
I’ll preface my review by saying there will be slight spoilers embedded, here, when I talk about character development and one of my favorite scenes. You’ve been warned.
First off, see this film in IMAX if you can. I know it’s costly (particularly if you have more than one person attending) but seeing Incredibles 2 in this format was totally worth it! The film begins in classic Incredibles style. Michael Giacchino returns with a brilliant score that accompanies the swift and enthralling 118 minutes of action. Speaking of action, we get into it right away as we’re greeted with the Incredibles family trying to stop the Underminer from terrorizing their town.
The animation is absolutely stunning as well. Dare I say, the best yet from Pixar? Maybe it was the IMAX format but everything looked spectacular and life-like. Right down to water dripping from Violet’s nose after she shoots water through it (long story, but it involves a boy she has a crush on). Bottomline, the animation was sensational.
Character development is a big part of any film, but Incredibles 2 did it well. I liked how director, Brad Bird, chose to switch the real-world roles of Bob and Helen Parr in the second installment. In the first film, Bob worked a typical office job at an insurance agency while, if memory serves, Helen took care of the kids while both parents also dabbled in superhero business. Now, Helen is seen as the working parent, away from the family and taking on the Deavors’ project, while Bob is no longer at his office job and is a stay-at-home-dad, taking care of Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack. All of whom are growing and finding their own way in the real and superhero worlds.
I also liked the choice to specifically include more of baby Jack-Jack and scenes of him discovering his own superpowers (13 of them, to be exact). Which I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my favorite scenes in the film: when Jack-Jack tussles with a raccoon after mistaking it for a burglar like he saw on television. It was not only downright hilarious, but we get this nice juxtaposition of a still immature Jack-Jack trying to grow and utilize the full breadth of his powers to fend off the enemy. The same could be said for Violet and Dash, who still have some maturing to do in their own right, but who look to have a bigger role in the family as superheroes. Particularly in the final scenes of the film when it’s up to the three kids to save their parents.
It has been a long time coming, but we finally got ourselves a sequel and it delivered big time. I’ve always liked the fact that The Incredibles was sleekly cool and fun for the entire family, yet did not sacrifice the action or dialogue to make a family film. A happy medium. Incredibles 2 does the exact same thing and easily joins the first installment as a top five all-time Pixar favorite.
I Give It An: A