“Incredibles 2,” dir. Brad Bird
Helen is called on to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home with Violet, Dash and baby Jack-Jack—whose superpowers are about to be discovered. Their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don’t shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone by their side. That’s what makes this family so Incredible.
It’s been fourteen long, LONG years since the release of Pixar’s “The Incredibles” back in 2004. Written and directed by Brad Bird, the film was ahead of its time back when superhero movies weren’t as plentiful as they are today, even exploring similar themes that we now see in superhero films like “Captain America: Civil War” and “Batman v Superman.” In the time that’s passed since this beloved animated gem came out, Bird has gone on to further prove just how brilliant of a talent he is as a filmmaker, even making the jump to live action with the outstanding “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and the highly imaginative “Tomorrowland.” Pixar on the other hand has made sequels to some of their other films that maybe weren’t entirely necessary (looking at you, “Cars”), leaving fans clamoring for a sequel to their superhero masterpiece. Well, the time has finally come and despite the excruciating wait we’ve had to endure to get to this point, it was well worth it. I loved “Incredibles 2.”
Usually when a film gets a sequel many years after the original, there needs to be a time gap due to the aging of the actors involved. Just look at the three franchises Harrison Ford returned to decades after their previous installments. Here, thanks to the animation medium, Bird was able to make the decision to have this film take place directly following the events of the first, not only allowing fans to see what immediately happens next but also taking the themes explored before and expanding upon them in an organic way. Sure, it would have been fascinating to see the children of the Parr family grown up and using their powers to their fullest capability, but it’s far more compelling to see the direct fallout of the events of the previous film and see the continuing development of these characters, making it a perfect companion to the original that would make for an outstanding double feature.
“The Incredibles” delivered on thrilling superhero action, but it was a film about a family first and foremost, having the characters emotions and motivations dictate the story rather than the story dictate their development. This sequel keeps that focus at the forefront, brilliantly showing the continuing evolution of this family and how they continue to adapt into the changes within society. Going into the film, it may appear that Bob and Helen have the same arcs that they did before but swapped with each other, however the vast differences with the personalities and capabilities of each character make for an extremely different feel that still rings true and organic thanks to the excellent voice performances from Holly Hunter and Craig T. Nelson as well as the fantastic script. The two of them, along with Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack all have terrific character arcs that come off as a completely natural progression of where their journey goes next.
The fact that this franchise is animated not only allowed Bird to continue the story right where the last film ended but also provides nearly infinite possibilities to be inventive with action and “Incredibles 2” might just have the most creative, exciting, pulse-pounding action in any CGI animated film to date. All of the superpowers of each hero are used to great effect to provide some truly dazzling set pieces that aren’t just awesome to watch but also feel perfectly in line with the characters within each sequence. The animation itself is unsurprisingly gorgeous coming from Pixar and each scene is framed beautifully to allow the audience to clearly see every stunning beat. We’re also treated to another breathtaking score from Michael Giacchino who keeps the brilliantly memorable themes from the first film and creates some equally amazing new ones that add so much excitement to every scene. One action sequence in particular early on with Elastigirl is so imaginative and fun that it might be up there with one of the best action scenes in any superhero movie, animated or not.
The comedy in the film fires on all cylinders, delivering knock out laughs on a regular basis. Following the ending of the first film, all of us were excited to see what powers would be explored with Jack-Jack, even getting a short film on “The Incredibles” DVD release that featured just a taste of what he’s capable of. Every single scene with baby Jack-Jack is a pure delight, delivering many of the films funniest moments. A lot of the jokes don’t really go for an easy punchline but are instead all specifically tailored to each individual character, making each joke land even harder. This is especially great with Bob as he learns how to be a stay-at-home dad and once we finally see Edna Mode again who’s every bit as hilarious as we remembered her being. It’s the funniest movie Pixar has made so far.
Every superhero movie needs a strong villain and in the original “Incredibles,” Syndrome was about as good as you could possibly get. This film introduces the mysterious Screenslaver whom might not be quite as impactful as he was, this villain still has a great presence on screen and serves the story extremely well. This isn’t a case like some of the lesser Marvel villains that are only there to pose a threat for the heroes. This character is a rock solid fit for this movie. Screenslaver just isn’t quite once of the greatest superhero villains like Syndrome which was such a high bar to begin with.
Speaking of setting the bar high, expectations going into this movie were so high from fans who have loved and watched “The Incredibles” over and over again ever since it came out. I myself was around eight years old when the first film opened and vividly remember being amazed by it when I saw it in the theater on opening weekend. After being bombarded with Pixar sequels that weren’t this one, I just got more and more anxious to see the Parr family on the big screen again and continue their journey. My expectations were sky high for this movie and Brad Bird blew me away with a film so relentlessly entertaining and full of the pure fun that I fell in love with back when I was a little kid. This was everything I could have asked for.
Before going into final thoughts, it’s not a Pixar movie without a short film at the beginning. This time we have “Bao” and without going into details, it is the single most bizarre short Pixar has ever made and just might be one of their best. It’s absolutely hilarious while also being beautifully touching and heartfelt. Make sure that when you see “Incredibles 2” that you arrive at the theater on time so that you don’t miss this absolute gem.
No other film so far in 2018 has been as delightfully fun as “Incredibles 2.” Every minute of this movie delivers on the fun, emotion, and creativity that made everyone fall in love with these characters to begin with. It’s tough to say how it compares to the first movie in terms of which one is better, but the fact that its even a question and not a clear cut answer is amazing enough. Every member of the family is going to find something to love and cherish about this movie and will have you begging Brad Bird and Pixar not to make you wait another fourteen years to see a third installment. “Incredibles 2” is, well, y’know . . .
Have you seen “Incredibles 2?” Did you love the first film? Are you happy that the wait is finally over for the sequel? Comment down below with your thoughts.
Follow me on my Letterboxd to stay updated with all my reviews of films as soon as I see them.
Thanks for reading!