[This review contains no spoilers. You’re safe here!!]
Our favorite super-family is back in Incredibles 2, a sequel to The Incredibles, which I think is an absolute masterpiece. I don’t think there’s a single flaw in that movie, and it was one of my favorite films growing up. I still get a nostalgic rush just seeing the Incredibles logo. Because of how tied I am to the first movie, I was very excited for Incredibles 2. I also knew that Brad Bird, the director and writer of the first movie, was returning to helm this one, which added to the hype for me.
Incredibles 2 follows the Parr family (no, their last names aren’t actually “Incredible,” which may be surprising to you) immediately after the events of The Incredibles. The family struggles with the fact that superheroes are still illegal. However, Elastigirl is eventually approached by Winston Deavor, a billionaire seeking to put superheroes back in the spotlight in a positive way. As Elastigirl deals with various missions combating an elusive villain known as “The Screenslaver,” Mr. Incredible struggles with being a stay-at-home dad and helping his children through their various difficulties.
The main reason why The Incredibles is such an amazing movie is because it understands that superheroes have to feel like people, with real life problems and emotions, and can’t just be defined by the fact that they have superpowers. The Incredibles is a masterful family drama, covering significant and relatable family issues, like marrital problems and midlife crises. Incredibles 2 also puts heavy focus on the drama that envelops Parr family. However, this movie handles it differently. Rather than putting Mr. Incredible through a midlife crisis, it has him take care of the kids (Violet, Dash, and the baby, Jack-Jack) instead of having him fight crime as usual. Seeing him struggle to maintain control of an surprisingly powerful and erratic baby was obviously extremely entertaining, but the movie goes even deeper than that. For example, some of the emotional drama comes from Mr. Incredible’s relationship with Violet, as he struggles to understand and help his daughter through difficult high school relationships. This leads to many endearing and funny moments, and teenagers will especially relate to many of the situations that Violet has to deal with throughout the movie.
Incredibles 2 also greatly improves upon two things that were already really good in the first Incredibles: the humor and the action. There are some truly hilarious moments in this movie, and not because they are dumbed down to appeal to kids, but because there is genuine creativity in the script. Much of this humor comes from Jack-Jack, who received a ton of laughs and applause from the audience I saw the movie with. The action is also a major step up in this movie from the same reasons: there is so much ingenuity in the sequences that unfold, including an incredibly fun chase sequence in which Elastigirl has to stop a moving train. Other superheroes also make appearances throughout the movie, and their powers are often used cleverly in the action.
Despite being an animated movie that’s mainly geared towards kids, Incredibles 2 is also surprisingly intelligent, and touches upon the divisive nature of our current political climate. Because superheroes have been illegal for a while, lots of arguments arise for and against superheroes, which was highly interesting and even challenging. That made the story a bit more complex than I was anticipating. I really loved the entire Elastigirl subplot, and found all of her action sequences to be suitably thrilling.
Although Incredibles 2 is a really solid sequel, it’s not the masterpiece that the first one was, and it does have a couple of problems. First of all, the villain in this movie, Screenslaver, is somewhat generic in his motivations. The movie sets up some intriguing ideas about why Screenslaver goes through with his evil plans, but it’s not explored nearly enough. This is especially disappointing considering how fantastic Syndrome is in the first movie. He is an incredible character with deep and complex motivations. Screenslaver is definitely more one-note, although that may not bother some people. Also, the reveal of villain is not particularly shocking, and I founds it rather predictable, although it’s not painfully overt or anything.
The animation in Incredibles 2 is also stunning, and is a massive improvement over the first movie, which was not one of the more well-animated Disney-Pixar movies in my opinion. The detail in the animation is astounding, which definitely added to the wonderful viewing experience in my theater.
All in all, Incredibles 2 is a very solid sequel, even if it doesn’t quite live up to the legacy of the amazing first film, at least in my opinion. I definitely recommend it for viewers of all ages.