Director: Brad Bird
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell
Length: 2hr 5m
This review may contain spoilers.
The Incredibles came out in 2004 when I was 10 years old and therefore the perfect age demographic for that film. I went to watch it and came out blown away by how good it was. It is one of those rare films that I watch again and again and at each age it has new meaning for me, which is exactly what Pixar and Disney do at their best. Therefore, when I heard that Incredibles 2 was finally coming out I really was interested in seeing it and hoped that it would be just as good.
I was not disappointed, Incredibles 2 is an excellent film that manages to build on the strengths of the first one without just appearing as a retread. The movie starts off just as the last one finished and has a great action sequence. However, just like the first one the real standout moments are the bits with family, focusing on Bob and Helen as people, not as superheroes. They are a team and the conflict between the two of them is no longer a driving point as it was in the first film.
While we can see that Bob is upset that Helen gets to be the one to rehabilitate the image of superheroes he still accepts that it is for the best and gears up to look after his children. The scenes of him being a loving father and trying to help his kids through their issues, such as Violet’s boy trouble and Dash’s homework issues, as well as the reveal that Jack-Jack has an immense array of powers that he cannot control are by far the best in the movie and serve as a welcome counterpoint to all the action. The children also get an expanded story-arc and have their own issues to deal with which is good as a sequel needs to develop the characters. In the first movie they really served as satellites around Bob but here they are their own characters who really manage to add more to the plot.
As with the first film the side characters are truly outstanding here and put a smile on my face. Frozone returns as one of the funniest characters and has an expanded role. He is still very much a sidekick but he manages to continue to be funny and heartwarming as well as being a friend to the family. However, many of the new characters are also really good. Bob Odenkirk’s Winston Devoar is a well-rounded character who manages to combine being a bit sleazy with also having his heart in the right place. His campaign to bring back superheroes is really nice as is his decision to work to save everyone in the climax of the film. Odenkirk’s performance kind of mirrors his character of Saul Goodman but that’s not bad company in any regard.
The new superheroes are also a lot of fun to work with and have a variety of interesting and engaging powers. Voyd in particular was a delight to see with her open fangirling and her powers being heart-warmingly reminiscent of Portal (and any comparison to that game is always a good thing). I am sure we will get more material and honestly I would not mind seeing a film with her as the star, or the other DevTech superheroes. With supers being legal again there is no reason why that should not happen. However, the best side character award has to go, again, to Edna Mode. Pixar seemed to realise how much everyone loved her and made her front and centre of the trailers. Yet they did not let her overshadow the film which is good. She appears again for two scenes and manages to put a smile on everyone’s face while doing so in her signature hammy and yet fun way. If there are any more Incredibles films, they need an appearance by E.
The only part of the film that is worthy of criticism is the villain. Screenslaver was not a very compelling character and even with a motive rant it did not feel like they really worked on the reasons for the villainy. The reveal as to the identity of the Screenslaver was telegraphed far in advance and surprised no one and it never really felt like the heroes were being challenged in any way. The action was good and the villain set up those scenes well but it did not feel like a real lesson was going on. Perhaps it is just because Syndrome was such a good and fun villain that it is next to impossible to actually fill those shoes but it felt like he was better developed and had a heavier impact on the plot than Screenslaver. Syndrome had motivations and more of an actual character and that should have been done better for Screenslaver.
However, that does not change the fact that this was a very enjoyable movie that is highly recommended.