I grew up with animation of all kinds, but especially from the works of Pixar. It’s hard to believe I was 9-years-old when the first Incredibles movie came out.
Not to mention, this was before superhero movies was a well-developed genre, so between this, Hellboy and Spider-Man 2, we had very few great Superhero movies back in the old days, so to see this be the best representation of Fantastic Four is, for the lack of a better word, incredible.
Like many folks out there, I was very much looking forward to the sequel, seeing how they were exploring other areas of being a heroic family, sticking to why the first one was so loved while being its own thing. So, other critics have all said that this movie is a worthy watch, but whether or not it succeeds past it’s predecessor is a divisive one.
What do I think of Incredibles 2 is what this write-up will center on!
First, we must examine the plot! After failing on the job to protect the city from mass damage and a criminal who successfully robbed a bank, the government officially declared superheroes illegal, stating that their presence will only bring more harm to the city.
Our superhero family, Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), Helen Parr/Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter), Violet Parr (voiced by Sarah Vowell) & Dashell “Dash” Parr (voiced by Huck Miller), along with baby Jack-Jack, all had to move in a motel after losing their jobs.
Luckily, an opportunity approaches the family, along with their neighbor friend, Lucius Best/Frozone (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson), when heads of a telecommunications company, Winston & Evelyn Deavor (voiced by Bob Odinkirk & Catherine Keener), recruit our heroes to help revive their positive perception.
They believe the best spokesperson on making superheroes feel welcomed again relies on Elastigirl, meaning it’s Bob’s turn to look after the kids. In this sequel you see family portrayal on the flip-side, with mom out working and the dad having to manages kids who don’t have the most calm behaviors.
Of course, everything must eventually connect when an unknown villain called “Screenslaver”, is pulling a string of televised crimes. Will our family be able to work as a team and save the day?
So much hype is around this movie, to a frightening level. What I will say is, most of what made the first film worked so much, is still alive and enthusiastic 14 years later. There’s something special about a superhero movie using its themes and characterization as a metaphor for reality makes the narrative all the more effective, why Marvel is at the top far as these types of films are concerned.
Being a parent is not an easy task and they’re able to poke fun, while still adding that level of heart you’ve come to expect from this family. Though you’ll get plenty of action, the highlights for me are the family relationships.
Bob gets to have the taste of being a stay-at-home dad, dealing with two sons, Dash having ADHD and going out of control, while the littlest child becomes a day & night job of its own. The teen goes through puberty phase from dating, which adds another layer of problems for Bob, who is trying his best at being a decent father to his kids.
It makes you see how working jobs and taking care of kids have a balanced level of responsibilities. In the end, no one has it easy when you’re a family, and it’s amazing to see this work so well. Lucious, who has a bigger screen presence this time around, works as that loveable neighbor, semi-uncle to the kids. We’ve all had those friends in our lives that is close to the point of being a member of your own family.
Thanks to great chemistry among these individuals, the movie works on its own merits…mostly. While the action is energetic as ever, partially thanks to the 14 year upgrade in animation, the narrative portion of Helen’s mission leaves much to be desired.
You can see there was potential to make with Elastigirl’s side, specifically, herself having a revamped perception on superheroes, knowing that not only is she inspiring people, but other super-powered beings as well. Yet, you don’t get much out of these other heroes, despite marketing suggests otherwise with one known as “Void” (voiced by Sophia Bush).
Everyone of those characters are there to create cool set pieces or remind you that either a franchise or TV series involving these characters is down the road. Helen’s primary focus instead becomes catching The Screenslaver, which the movie does a terrible job leaving you in suspense on who the culprit could be.
Their motivation in committing these acts is standard villain persona, a much step backwards to Syndrome from the first, who held another emotional tide to the family themes. Fans of Edna Mode (voiced by Director Brad Bird) should not get their hopes too high on seeing her much in this sequel.
Last, and certainly not least, the movie’s opening with fighting The Underminer (voiced by John Ratzenberger) resulted with his victorious escape with the city bank’s entire stash of cash. You don’t see The Underminer ever again in this movie and the stolen money never gets brought up again. Did the bank and a few other structures rebuilt themselves at no cost?
Not only that, his presence makes me think a main antagonist should be substituted for these fun, campy B-C listed baddies, so that the ideas with Helen’s portion can be fleshed out more.
Incredibles 2 is a fun, if flawed follow-up to a cult-classic. Most Disney sequels fail to top their originals and this one is no different, but if you take that aside and ask does this at least do the spirit of The Incredibles justice, I’m going to say “most definitely”.
The charm, humor, and chemistry between the Parrs & Mr. Best is all you need for the part 2 to become a “Good” watch, supported by epic action scenes, just don’t expect a complete successor to the 2004 original.
I envy you to watch this one with parents or kids for the authenticity!