WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES (2018)
Director: Brad Bird
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Vowell, Huckleberry Milner, Eli Fucile, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener
“Boys are jerks and superheroes suck.”
I can see sense in this statement… (Sometimes)
Fourteen years since The Incredibles was unleashed on the world, the band are back in Incredibles 2 and Pixar is back to kick some animated arse. The adulation and praise that was showered on the original makes it even more unbelievable that it took so long for a follow-up but surely the long wait was worth it?
Set immediately after the events of the original, Mr. Incredible (Nelson), Elastigirl (Hunter), Violet (Vowell), Dash (Milner) and Jak Jak (Fucile), AKA The Parr family, are back. Their chaotic pursuit of the villainous Underminer causes the Superhero Relocation Programme to be shut down due to the damage caused to the city – leaving a public untrusting of superheroes and their status essentially now illegal. Having helped with the capture attempt on the Underminer, Frozone (Jackson) informs Bob and Helen of an offer from telecoms corp Devtech CEO Winston Deavor (Odenkirk). Deavor and his sister Evelyn (Keener) have cooked up a scheme and a stunt to put superheroes back in a positive light, but there’s a supervillain – the Screenslaver - lurking about who is very keen to put a stop to it.
Brad Bird took time off to pursue other projects in the period between The Incredibles and Incredibles 2, but always wanted to come back to the Parr family at some point. Here, he wisely sets the movie straight after the first, ceasing the need for any lengthy exposition to fill any time gaps and allowing the return to start with a bang. The story takes a twist this time around as Elastigirl takes centre stage, leaving Mr. Incredible as a stay-at-home husband and this is where the core of the movie resides – in the needs for change and the importance of family. Whilst the humour is more apparent this time around, at times, the narrative takes slightly more adult turns and there is a slightly ‘darker’ tone – not in grittiness necessarily, but generally in the overall colour palette. The most frustrating aspect of Incredibles 2 is Bird’s seeming desire to replicate the original movie in an attempt to recapture its magic (illegal superheroes, rich benefactors funding from behind the scenes). It’s not entirely derivative, but after fourteen years, to see a story so similar is disappointing. The action scenes are a step up but the villain is a big step down – narratively-speaking, certain elements up being mixed bags in terms of quality.
The voice talent are all uniformly good and the animation is stunning to look at – Pixar just keep getting better and better. Jak Jak emerges as the MVP of the proceedings as he finally gets a chance to realise his emerging talents, and once more Edna Mode steals the show. Elastigirl and Mr Incredible are afforded some quieter moments in amongst the parental pains that the patriarch feels (dealing with a troublesome teen son, stroppy teen girl and a wild baby can’t be easy), and these moments allow for the movie to slow down a few gears before ramping up once more.
Also, Michael Giacchino’s score is epically excellent.
After fourteen years away, it’s great to have the Parr family back once again and, though it all felt a bit too familiar at times, it’s like they never really went away. Incredibles 2 brings back the fun and Pixar remain entrenched at the top of their game.
August 1st 2018