Incredibles 2 (2018)
SHOULD I SEE IT?
14 years is a mighty long time, but Incredibles 2 is worth the wait. This movie is a lot of fun.
Stands up well in a different cinematic landscape than when we first visited the Parr family. With the proliferation of all things superhero, Incredibles 2 sees those movies and sticks to its distinctive voice and story.
I seem to say this over and over, but is there a better animated movie than Incredibles 2. This movie looks and sounds, well, incredible.
You have superhero fatigue.
You find yourself among the handful of people who never liked The Incredibles in 2004.
You are a born contrarian, who finds things people enjoy to be adverse to your daily existence.
Since Pixar’s Oscar-winning animated classic The Incredibles was released in 2004, we have had 19 entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, 12 Warner Bros./DC Entertainment releases, nine films involving the X-Men, plus dozens of one-off films, graphic novel adaptations, the return of Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers, and a Fantastic Four movie everyone pretends never happened.
As my friend Brian (@MovieGuyBrian) points out, the overall cinematic landscape and superhero genre has exploded since we first met Bob/Mr. Incredible and Helen/Elastigirl Parr (Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter) and family, and watched them defeat crazed fan and rejected sidekick Syndrome, saving all of Metroville from destruction and chaos.
When we begin Incredibles 2, we pick almost right back up from where the first film came to a close. And we see the family engaged in a conflict with the dastardly Underminer, a villain introduced at the end of the first film who uses a tunnel boring machine to bring buildings down to the ground and rob banks. When the Underminer succeeds in robbing a community bank, the secret government program the Parrs, and countless other superheroes belong to, is shut down, and the anonymity of the superheroes in the program can no longer be guaranteed.
With options looking bleak, the Parrs old buddy, Lucius Best, a/k/a Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) convinces Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl to join him for a meeting with billionaire CEO Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk).
Deavor has concocted a plan, with sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener), to turn public and government sentiment back in favor of the superheroes and allow people to realize the importance of superhero protection in the world once again.
They choose Elastigirl to be the face of the campaign, putting her to work fighting crime in a nearby community. As public sentiment begins to turn as the Deavors intended, a new villain known as The Screenslaver makes their presence known. By hacking into screens of all kinds, the Screenslaver sends hypnotic messages and images out to the world, making civilians commit crimes and engage in terrible behavior they otherwise have no idea they are involved in.
Written and directed by Brad Bird, who served in the same capacity on the first film, Incredibles 2 is really a delightful film. While it struggles to find a way out of the tropes and formulaic set-ups now commonplace in the stories it wants to tell, Bird finds clever and spirited ways to give us more to experience than just a barrage of animated action scenes, and any possible nonsensical action-movie talk that strings along one scene to the next.
Bird makes the right call in turning the movie over to Elastigirl and giving her the lion’s share of the story. Hunter is terrific, believable and engaging, while Nelson shines as the jealous and reluctant stay-at-home dad, who desperately wants the experiences his wife is having with her new job and responsibilities.
As the Screenslaver story moves to the forefront, Bird doubles down on the domestic happenings that keep Bob home. We have just enough back stories for each of the Parr children, that we see them as their own unique creations and not just characters in the background who simply exist to drop some one-liners or sight gags.
Whether it’s the teenage Violet (Sarah Vowell) grappling with her first crush, middle child Dash (Huck Milner) constantly trying to have Dad help him with his complicated math homework, or the show-stealing Jack-Jack, who seemingly has no idea just how many powers the diaper-clad superhero just might have.
Truth be told, Incredibles 2 is rather predictable, with a premise you can basically figure out immediately if you have ever watched any number of movies like this. Bird still builds enough of a movie around his surprisingly thin script, keeping us entertained the whole time.
Veteran Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino delivers a fantastic score, which mirrors some of the best work of his legendary career, and the detail and realism on the animation and production design is among the finest work I have ever seen in an animated feature.
There is a lot to love about Incredibles 2 and it is the rare instance of a sequel that feels brand new all over again. Bird, as a filmmaker, feels rejuvenated, and though we do not have the depth of story like we saw with The Incredibles or 1999’s beloved The Iron Giant, Bird keeps the story moving at a crisp pace, with jokes, sight gags, and laughs never too far away from the action scenes breaking out around us.
Coupled with a unique, moving, and clever short film, Bao, written and directed by Domee Shi, the first woman to ever direct a Pixar short film, and one likely headed to an Animated Short Film Oscar nomination, Incredibles 2 is a summer blockbuster that finds a way to pay homage to what people loved about its predecessor, while recapturing much of the magic which made the first film so much fun in the first place.
CAST & CREW
Featuring the voices of: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Samuel L. Jackson, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Brad Bird, Michael Bird, Sophia Bush, Phil LaMarr, Paul Eiding, Isabella Rossellini, Bill Wise.
Director: Brad Bird
Written by: Brad Bird
Release Date: June 15, 2018
Walt Disney Pictures