“Incredibles 2” stars Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, and Samuel L. Jackson. Released on June 15, 2018, the film has Elastigirl fighting for the return of superheroes while Mr. Incredible stays behind to look after the children.
The film is directed by Brad Bird, who also directed films such as “The Iron Giant”, “Ratatouille”, and “Tomorrowland”. It is a sequel to the 2004 film, “The Incredibles”, also directed by Bird. It has been 14 years since “The Incredibles” punched its way to the big screen and won the hearts of critics and audiences alike, and throughout the years after its release, they were demanding to see the return of the beloved superhero family. After helming the last two live-action projects, animation director Brad Bird heard the pleas and started working on the long-awaited sequel as his first animated project since “Ratatouille” more than a decade ago. I was pretty excited to see this sequel for two reasons. The first reason is Pixar’s impressive track record with crafting follow-ups to their animated classics (with the exception of “Cars 2”). The other reason is that I really enjoyed the first film when it first came out more than a decade ago. Man, how time flies since then. I revisited “The Incredibles” a couple of days ago to get myself all caught up, and as a result, my excitement towards its follow-up grew more and more by the minute. However, I am still keeping my expectations at a minimum because sequels tend to fall short in being as good as their predecessors, especially animated ones. With that said, it’s time for me to suit up once again and see if this latest Pixar sequel is worth the wait.
Despite the 14-year gap between “The Incredibles” and its sequel, the latter’s story takes place almost immediately after the events of the former, with the Parr family battling the Underminer (voiced by John Ratzenberger). So yeah, remember that “Incredibles” game that involves Mr. Incredible and Frozone battling the Underminer? Well, you better get that out of your head now because this film is here to remind you that that game does not exist in the franchise. When their latest battle causes a bunch of property damage (again), the authorities once again lose their support of superheroes, thus shutting down the “Super Relocation” program run by Rick Dicker’s (Jonathan Banks) department. Soon afterwards, the Parr family teams up with superhero fanatic/telecommunications tycoon, Winston Deavor (voiced by Bob Odenkirk), to bring superheroes back into the spotlight. Deavor informs that Helen Parr, aka Elastigirl (Hunter), is the best option to complete this task since she’s the least-destructive of the supers, leaving Bob Parr, aka Mr. Incredible (Nelson) to stay behind and look after their kids, Dash (Milner), Violet (Vowell), and Jack-Jack, with the latter developing some powers of his own. Their newest mission gets a bit more complicated when they come face-to-face with a diabolical villain known as Screenslaver, who plots to turn the public against the supers. One of the things that made “The Incredibles” great was its unique blend of the three genres: superhero, spy, and drama. The sequel looks like it is placing more focus on the superhero elements and the family drama while dealing with some similar themes that were introduced in its predecessor. While there were a few moments that didn’t quite live up to the first film’s clever take on the concept, such as its villain, the film never lost sight at perfectly blending the family dynamic with the superhero genre. Not only that, but it contains the heart and fun that made its predecessor an exciting, action-packed treat that people grew up with. The cast once again did an amazing job voicing the lovable and relatable characters, with Nelson, Hunter, and Jackson being the main highlights as Bob, Helen, and Frozone, respectively. I would also give Pixar credit for finding the right person to voice Dash in the sequel since the original actor, Spencer Fox, hit puberty a few years after the first film was released. The fact that Huck Milner sounds almost exactly like Fox made me appreciate Pixar’s casting choices even more. The animation has made an improvement since its predecessor, and to be honest, I thought that it looked better than the animation in the first film. From the characters’ powers to the flashy and energetic action sequences, the animation style is just…well, incredible. I also thought that the humor was just as hilarious as the first film, if not, better, mostly because of the family dynamic and, of course, baby Jack-Jack. Oh my goodness, that little bundle of cuteness almost stole the entire show with his newfound powers. I’m willing to bet that if you love him in the first film, you’ll love him even more in the sequel. Michael Giacchino, who wrote the music for “The Incredibles”, returned to provide the score for “Incredibles 2”, and it sounds exactly how you would’ve imagined it. A unique, jazzy sound that enhances the experience of fighting crime with the superheroes. As for its flaws, I did mention that the villain was one of the reasons why this film wasn’t as great as its predecessor. The way they handled this type of antagonist was good despite the obvious twist in the third act, but I thought Syndrome from “The Incredibles” was better in terms of character depth.
Overall, “Incredibles 2” falls a bit short at being as incredible as the first film, but thanks to its lovable characters, its splendid use of animation, smart humor, and Giacchino’s score, it’s definitely worth the wait. It just comes to show you that a little time and effort can make an animated sequel live up to its hype, and Pixar knows that. If you’re a fan of the first film, this is something that you don’t want to miss seeing on the big screen. Also, before the film, Pixar included a short film called “Bao”, which is about a lonely mother who cares for a dumpling that came to life. It’s a heartwarming and emotional short that’s also relatable to those who dealt with this situation before or is dealing with it now. I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short because it was honestly that good.