Film review, by Nadine Shambrook, of Incredibles 2 about the further adventures of the nuclear superhero family who are called out of retirement to help with the PR of heroes mistrusted by the public.
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After beating their first supervillain as a team, the Parr family are adjusting to life under the radar amidst the superhero ban, when an opportunity to get the authorities on the side of superheroes arises. Mum Helen Parr (aka Elastigirl, voiced by Holly Hunter) leads the way, while Dad Bob (aka Mr Incredible, voiced by Craig T. Nelson) looks after their teenage daughter, pre-teen son and baby who have recently discovered their superpowers. When mysterious villain Screenslaver begins brainwashing civilians, Elastigirl’s new plan is to stop them and her family are right behind her.
Review, by Nadine Shambrook
It’s been 14 years since Pixar’s superhero hit The Incredibles first hit cinemas and left audiences on a cliff-hanger of the Parr family masking up to take on the Underminer. Audiences have been preparing for the sequel since its announcement in 2014, especially young adults who were children the first time they saw this superhero family in action.
While the audience has aged since the first outing, there’s not a wrinkle on Bob or Helen’s face, because Incredibles 2 picks up exactly where the first film ended. Brad Bird, the film’s director, has stated the film had to occur directly after the events of the original film so the format of parents, teenage kids and a baby could stay. It also allows the film to jump straight into the action, without needing a cringey ‘catch up’ with what the characters have been up to.
Hardcore Pixar fans will notice just how far technology has come when Incredibles 2 flashes back to a couple of scenes from the first film to show off its sleek updated animation. Sure the human characters were never designed to mimic real life, but the small things like their movements being smoother and the details on faces being softer show that Pixar are constantly improving on their award-winning animation.
One weak area for Incredibles 2 is that the story feels too familiar. Without going into spoiler territory, The Incredibles has Bob away on superhero duty while Helen looks after their children. Incredibles 2 flips this. Lover of superheroes Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk ) and his tech-clever sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) from company DEVTECH want to introduce body cams to show the public the good side of superheroes and they need Elastigirl to kick start their campaign. Although the subtle social commentary of depicting a working mum, while Bob struggles to be a stay-at-home dad, is refreshing for Pixar, the narrative is too similar to the first film.
This is not Incredibles 2′s downfall though – that comes in the villain. Compared to Syndrome, Mr Incredible’s #1 fan turned evil genius in the first film, Screenslaver’s drive for targeting superheroes and their identity reveal is underwhelming. Buddy’s evil motives were cleverly planned and inspired by his childhood heartbreak, while Screenslaver feels like an afterthought in Bird’s sequel idea.
That’s not to say there is not a lot to love about this Pixar hit. Like Toy Story 3 which was a coming-of-age and an adventure movie, Incredibles 2 is two good films combined.
It’s a hugely refreshing superhero film (not long after the release of Marvel’s 10 years in the making Avengers: Infinity War) and it’s a family comedy. There are cool powers and mass destruction, but there are no unnecessarily complicated superhero tropes. The Incredibles weren’t an experiment gone wrong or touched by nuclear juices and Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack don’t have ridiculous superhero names to replace their own. It’s different from superhero films we’re used to and it means there’s more time spent on jokes, explosive set pieces and pretty animation.
The other reason Incredibles 2 will be just as popular as its predecessor is the (pardon the pun) incredibly likable family. We may not have superpowers like the Parrs, but struggling with homework, dinner table arguments, finding the work/home life balance and getting your baby to sleep through the night are things we can relate to. It’s why the original film is still quoted 14 years later and why there has been years of anticipation for the sequel.
Baby Jack-Jack is the highlight and has the funniest scene involving a slapstick fight with a hungry racoon, which will certainly get kids giggling. It is because of Jack-Jack that Bob calls in the iconic fashion designer Edna Mode, whose appearance feels short but is worthwhile for her sassy humour. In true Pixar fashion, there are just as many jokes for adults as there are for kids making it more than just a cheesy, dumbed-down animated flick.
While it lacks the unpredictability of the first film, and a real villainous threat, there’s a lot of fun to be had with Incredibles 2. See it with families and enjoy watching the Parr’s do what they do best: save the world.
Cast & credits
Director: Brad Bird. 1hr 58 mins (118mins). Pixar Animation/Walt Disney. (PG)
Producers: Nicole Paradis Grindle, John Walker.
Writer: Brad Bird.
Camera: Mahyar Abousaeedi, Erik Smith.
Music: Michael Giacchino.
Sets: Ralph Eggleston.
Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Sophia Bush, Isabelle Rossellini, John Ratzenberger.