That was totally wicked!
Incredibles 2 is directed and written by Brad Bird and stars the voices of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, and Samuel L. Jackson, who reprise their roles from the first film. Newcomers to the cast include Huck Milner, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Jonathan Banks, and Sophia Bush.
The world wanted it. Fans of the first Incredibles movie had been demanding a sequel for years, and finally, after 14 years of waiting, Braid Bird and company grant our wish and deliver us a follow-up to everyone's favorite superhero team from 2004. While the mystery of how and why three Cars movies were released before The Incredibles got a sequel is anyone's guess, let's just let bygones be bygones and be thankful that Bird and Pixar were listening to our cries for an Incredibles sequel. After The Incredibles, Bird continued to show his animation prowess with the release of Pixar's Ratatouille in 2007. Around the time of Ratatouille's premiere, Bird mentioned that he was open to an Incredibles sequel, but that he would only do it if he could find a way to make the sequel better than the original. No definitive news of a sequel came about, until March 2014, when Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that an Incredibles sequel was in the works.
After The Incredibles was released in 2004, the 21st century superhero renaissance kicked into high-gear; the Marvel Cinematic Universe took the world by storm, Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy became one of the greatest trilogies released since 2000, and by 2018, every superhero imaginable either had a film or was soon going to get one. The benefit that The Incredibles had by being released in the early 2000's was that superhero movies were still in a bit of a funk, many of them trying to be dark, depressing films that were allergic to fun. And while the X-Men films, Sam Raimi Spiderman movies, and the Hellboy films are the most notable exceptions, probably no one in the early 2000's could have imagined that superhero movies would one day go on to be fun, exciting blockbusters that could accumulate gargantuan box office numbers without even breaking a sweat. The Incredibles stood out from the early 2000's crowd, because it was both animated and a whole lot of fun.
Brad Bird faced the difficulty of making a sequel that would be a worthy follow-up to The Incredibles and also distinct from the mega-lineup of superhero movies that had been dominating cinemas for the majority of the fourteen years after The Incredibles. With that said, should we be surprised then that it took this long for The Incredibles to get a sequel? Why would Brad Bird want to rush the sequel he knew everyone had been clamoring for for years? Let us not forget: Bird's original idea for The Incredibles started back in 1993, and besides, it's not like Bird wanted to spend the next fourteen years doing nothing but putting together Incredibles 2.
Incredibles 2 kicks off right where the first film ended: the Parr family getting ready to take on the Underminer (John Ratzenberger). They attempt to stop the Underminer from robbing the Metroville Bank, but their efforts fail; the Underminer escapes, and the city suffers hefty damages. Rick Dicker (Jonathan Banks) relocates the Parrs to a motel, but informs them that his "Super Relocation" Program is being shut down, leaving the Parrs with just a matter of weeks to find regular employment. Bob, Helen, and Lucius are contacted by Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), a die hard fan of superheroes and the owner of a corporation called DEVTECH. Winston, along with his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener), propose a publicity stunt in order to get the public back in favor with Supers. They choose Helen to lead the stunt and insist that she do so as Elastigirl. Helen accepts the offer, moving with Bob and the kids into a new home provided by Winston. During her assignment, Helen discovers the Screenslaver, a masked villain who uses screens to brainwash viewers. While Helen is away on her assignment, Bob stays at home to watch over the kids; Bob discovers that Jack-Jack has powers, but he struggles to keep the baby under control. Meanwhile, Dash struggles with math homework, and Violet faces trouble with her boy crush from the first film: Tony.
The plot should tell you that Incredibles 2 puts greater focus on Elastigirl, but at the same time, it expands upon the world of Supers that was only lightly touched upon in the first film. A brand new group of Supers is introduced to us, the most notable member being Karen / Voyd (Sophia Bush), who can create voids and is a big fan of Elastigirl. We only saw the names and faces of other Supers before; now we get the chance to see them in action alongside The Incredibles and Frozone. This is a smart screenplay decision on the part of Bird, because there should be more to the plot than strictly The Incredibles kicking ass.
- Incredibles 2 is about as fun, maybe even a little bit more fun, than its predecessor, thanks to some exhilarating action scenes. Hold on. Great action scenes in an animated movie? Who would've thought? But it's true, I tell you; the action is as explosive and entertaining as in any other high-quality superhero or action movie, with terrific lighting and swift movement. And because it's animation, Bird can get away with making action scenes, like Helen chasing a train, as colorful and as involving as he wants. In live action, the colors, the way Helen twists and turns her stretchy body, and the pure excitement of it all, it may all just be too much. But under the guise of computer animation, Bird does whatever is necessary to make the action look fluid and have it be jam-packed with excitement.
- Incredibles 2 is also loaded with humor, largely from Jack-Jack, who loves to make things more difficult for everybody. Some of Jack-Jack's powers include firing lasers and travelling across several dimensions, and because Jack-Jack has such a wide variety of powers, it's impossible to say what kind of a Super he is. Being a naive baby, it doesn't feel right to call Jack-Jack annoying for all his troublemaking, and given his heavily limited role in the first film, it was a given we would see more of him in the sequel. Jack-Jack confronts a raccoon (a Looney Tunes-style fight scene that I thought was the funniest part of the entire film), keeps Bob up late at night, and even makes friends with Edna Mode. Though the lion's share of the comedy stems from Jack-Jack, each of the other Parrs and Frozone get their humorous kicks in.
- The one and only place where Incredibles 2 falls short is its villain; Screenslaver is a far cry from Syndrome, with Screenslaver's true identity being totally obvious from the get-go. Screenslaver has no memorable bad-guy lines, nor a thought-provoking motivation, and he is responsible for Walt Disney Studios having to send out a warning message to theater-goers that the film contains flashing lights capable of causing epileptic seizures. There is an entire fight scene with flashing lights going on in the background, and it's a bummer that not everyone can watch it, because it is a very neat looking fight scene. But anyway, Screenslaver is a meh villain that, on paper, has some potential, potential in how he operates through screens, which opens the door on commentary of how our own screens (phone, TV, etc.) can hypnotize and control us. But since there's no indication that Incredibles 2 takes place in the year 2018, I suppose that kind of commentary wouldn't make a whole lot of sense.
In this day and age where sequels and reboots are popping up like weeds, it is a welcome sight to see a sequel like Incredibles 2, one that everyone actually wants to see. We've been demanding it for years, and Brad Bird did not disappoint. It's not quite on The Incredibles' level, but is that really much of a surprise? Incredibles 2 doesn't need to be as masterful as it's predecessor in order to thrive in every department it functions in, serving up another blast of colorful fun, bolstered by Brad Bird's always reliable direction and bucketfuls of good humor. Incredibles 2 will easily be one of the most riveting experiences you'll have in a theater during 2018, and since a third Incredibles film is sounding like a strong possibility, hopefully we won't have to wait until 2032 to see it.
Recommend? Yes! Be warned though, the movie does have flashing lights that can cause seizures.
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