While it might seem like yesterday, it’s actually quite a while (14 years) since Pixar first introduced us to Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Violet, Dash, Jack-Jack (a.k.a. the Parr family, a.k.a. The Incredibles).
In the midst of battling the Underminer, Violet protects her family by throwing one of her most super force fields yet in “Incredibles 2.” (©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.)
It’s been so long, in fact, that since the last time we saw them, a rat has become a gourmet chef; a young Mexican boy walked with the ghosts of his ancestors; a Boy Scout and a septuagenarian moved a house with helium balloons; Buzz and Woody went to war with a megalomaniac teddy bear; and we were subjected to three helpings of talking cars.
But after watching “Incredibles 2” one thing is certain – good things come to those that wait.
The film picks up right where the first one ended – with Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) and Dash (Huck Milner) doing their best to thwart the actions of super villain, The Underminer. Their efforts aren’t enough, and after the villain escapes with the loot, and the city is heavily damaged by their actions, they (and all other supers) are shelved, and must go back into hiding.
That hiatus doesn’t last too long as business mogul/superhero enthusiast Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his brilliant engineer sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener), devise a plan to pave the way for all supers to return to active duty – secretly enlisting Elastigirl to stop some minor crimes to prove the value of heroes.
Savvy siblings and business partners Evelyn and Winston Deavor summon Frozone, Elastigirl and Mr. Incredible to share a plan designed to ultimately make Supers legal again. (©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.)
Almost as brief as the hiatus is Elastigirl’s cushy crime-fighting gig. Rather than stopping pick-pockets and the like, she quickly finds herself up against a tech-savvy super villain known only as Screenslaver.
While Elastigirl is working to keep the streets safe from a madman, Mr. Incredible is tackling something equally as terrifying … being a stay-at-home dad to an overly energetic pre-teen, an easily-embarrassed and sometimes defiant teenager, and a baby that has uncontrollable powers.
When Jack-Jack's many powers are revealed to his family—finally—in "Incredibles 2," Bob finds himself turning to Edna for help. (©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.)
As annoying as it can be to wait such a long time for a movie that’s inevitably getting a sequel, the trade-off is that more time can be spent developing a great story and visuals. “Incredibles 2” hits on both of those.
The story, at least at its core, is pretty straight forward – good vs. evil, redemption, family, friendship, trust, etc. But it also takes a pretty clear swipe at people’s dependence on technology, and a more subtle one at using comfort items as crutches to get through life. It hits those notes without getting preachy, which would be pretty easy to do. Instead, it’s fun, and generally pretty light, but it makes an impression on you.
Elastigirl is called on to lead a campaign to bring Supers back in “Incredibles 2.” (©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.)
The other thing that makes the story stand apart is that this time the focus is on Elastigirl. It’s a change, and not one I’d classify as bad, but my preference would have been a larger focus on the family as a whole – it’s certainly a case of being stronger as a unit. If, however, they needed to focus on one character, I think Violet is the most interesting of them all. Hopefully that’s in the pipeline.
In terms of visuals, well, it’s Pixar, so it’s safe to expect top-notch animation. It not only delivers, but exceeds by making it faster, brighter, and more vibrant.
A word of caution: the IMAX theater we saw the film at was incredibly loud (borderline too loud, actually), and there’s an extended fight scene between Screenslaver and Elastigirl that could affect those with epilepsy.
Another enjoyable aspect of the film is the expansion of ancillary characters. Back for another go are Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) and Edna Mode (Brad Bird), and they’re joined by an eclectic crew of supers, Voyd (Sophia Bush), Krushauer and Helectrix (Phil LaMarr), and Reflux (Paul Eiding). And, of course, no Pixar movie would be complete without the John Ratzenberger cameo.
When Elastigirl is called on to lead a mission to bring back Supers, she meets a group of new Supers who aspire to join the ranks. (©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.)
Honestly, “Incredibles 2” was pretty much everything I could’ve hoped for, which was a lot given the original was my first exposure to a Pixar film. It’s fun, endearing, and has a story that can engage even the most cynical among us.
★★★★ of ★★★★★