I can’t believe it has been fourteen years since writer/director Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, Ratatouille, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) gave us the first Incredibles movie. My wife and I watched it in theatres when we were in high school. Yesterday, we took our kids to see the sequel (we watched the first one the night before we went as a refresher). After such a long time, was it worth the wait? Yes, it was absolutely worth the wait. My wife and I loved it. Our kids loved it. Our daughter even asked if we could watch it again as soon as the credits started rolling. It’s that good.
Incredibles 2 begins immediately where the first film ended, with the city being terrorized by The Underminer (Pixar’s go-to guy, John Ratzenberger). It’s up to our daring family of heroes, Bob/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner), the youngest member of the team Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) and family friend Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) to do the right thing and protect the citizens of Metroville. Of course, this works against them as superheroes aren’t allowed to be out in public. It’s illegal.
Now that The Incredibles have outed themselves, the “Super Relocation” program is shut down, forcing supers across the world to permanently adhere to their secret identities. However, all of this doesn’t bother the intrepid Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), a superhero fan, telecommunications tycoon, and owner of DEVTECH, along with his gadget-savvy sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) who propose a publicity stunt to regain the general public’s support of supers. No one ever catches a hero in the act of doing a good deed, they just see the destruction afterwards. Winston pitches the idea to Elastigirl to wear a new suit designed by Evelyn complete with a hidden camera that will capture all of her heroic deeds and looks to her to become the symbol of hope in a world that has banned superheroes completely out of existence. While Elastigirl is out saving the world, Mr. Incredible is at home being super dad with the kids.
If it sounds like the first film, it kind of is (you know, minus the whole superhero killing that Syndrome was guilty of committing in #1). With roles reversed this time, you’d think Incredibles 2 would suffer from deja vu, considering Helen has now taken on the role that Bob had in the original, going out and fighting crime while he stays at home. Luckily, it doesn’t feel the same. A lot of the comedic moments come from Bob adjusting to being a stay at home dad. Maybe it’s just me, but I always find it funnier watching the dad suffer than the mom when dealing with their children. Bob juggling Dash’s math homework, Violet’s boy troubles and Jack-Jacks inability to control any of his many (seriously, many) powers are a hilarious juxtaposition to Elastigirl out saving the day. The film is constantly running at a brisk pace, jumping back and forth between the two. You’ve got your ridiculously action-packed scenes like Elastigirl trying to stop a runaway train caused by new villain Screenslaver, by literally catapulting herself over rooftops on her motorbike to get to it. Then you’ve got your quiet, meaningful moments, like Violet giving her dad a hug and telling him he’s super as he passes out from sheer exhaustion dealing with his teleporting baby.
While the story is well done, the big change here is the quality of animation. It has improved drastically since the first movie (fourteen years will do that I suppose). This is especially noticeable during the more exciting parts. It seems like they had a blast thinking up different ways for each hero to use their powers. Jack-Jack always seems to throw a wrench into the mix and this unpredictability really keeps you glued to your seat. There really isn’t a dull moment during its two-hour runtime and I guarantee you’ll never want to miss a single minute.
Each of the characters gets their time to shine here, even our favourite fashion guru Edna has some great moments, but out of everyone, Jack-Jack steals the show. I’ve never heard my kids laugh as hard as they did everytime he was on screen. He has no control over his powers which range from shooting lasers from his eyes to turning into a little demon that bursts into flames, all within a matter of seconds. This predicament is a recipe for disaster, and some serious laugh out loud moments, including one particular scene involving a racoon.
Incredibles 2 is pure fun. It’s a great sequel and a fantastic family film full of action, humour, and heart. It feels great to have the Parr family back in our lives. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another fourteen years for the next film in the series. – NVJ
Incredibles 2 is now playing in theatres