Posted on June 26, 2018
Incredibles 2 (2018)
Incredibles 2 is a computer-animated film directed by Brad Bird that stars Holly Hunter and Craig T. Nelson.
This adventure/comedy film is the sequel to the 2004 Pixar film, The Incredibles.
Taking place immediately after the original, it focuses on the Parr family aiming to regain the public’s trust of superheroes while balancing family struggles.
As the 20th feature release by Pixar Animation Studios, Incredibles 2 garnered massive success and critical acclaim.
The Story (SPOILERS)
Incredibles 2 picks up immediately after the original. The Parr family: Bob, Helen, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack are at Dash’s track meet when a villain named the Underminer declares war on “peace and happiness”.
After a brief showcase of their powers, their attempt to stop the Underminer ultimately fails. He escapes and the authorities are angered about the damage caused by the incident.
Rick Dicker, a government employee, informs the family that he can no longer help them and places the family in a motel for two weeks.
Later that evening, Bob and Helen are approached by Lucius Best (Frozone). Winston Deavor, a superhero fan and telecommunications tycoon, wants to meet with them.
Owners of DEVTECH, Winston and his sister Evelyn Deavor (OBVIOUS ENOUGH?), propose a publicity stunt to regain the public’s support of superheroes.
Helen is selected to be promoted as Elastigirl, as she is the least destructive of the three. Body cameras are attached to their super-suits to provide public view of their missions.
Winston provides the family with a new extravagant home and Bob offers to take care of the kids while Helen is away doing hero work.
Bob is met with difficulty becoming a stay-at-home parent.
- Violet is upset that he had Tony Rydinger (a boy she likes) lose his memory of her.
- Dash is having difficulty with his math homework, which Bob struggles to comprehend.
- Jack-Jack has developed multiple super powers, but Bob becomes exhausted managing the baby’s abilities.
Needing help, Bob takes Jack-Jack to Edna Mode (family friend and costume designer). She is hesitant at first but becomes fascinated with the baby’s powers.
Helen, in another city, confronts the Screenslaver – a villain who hijacks screens and uses hypnotic images to brainwash people.
She foils the Screenslaver’s attacks on a high-speed train and an important ambassador. Helen tracks down the villain, who is just a pizza delivery man with no recollection of what he did.
While attending a celebration of the Screenslaver’s defeat, Helen discovers that he was being controlled by screens in his goggles. Evelyn Deavor immediately forces the goggles onto her, revealing herself to be the mastermind.
Angered by her parent’s unwavering trust in heroes (instead of being self-reliant), she wants to keep heroes illegal by helping make them legal first (yeah, it doesn’t make much sense).
Evelyn lures Bob into a trap and sends other mind-controlled Supers to capture the Parr children. Lucius arrives to protect the kids but is overpowered, just as the children escape in Bob’s car, the Incredibile.
Using Bob’s old high-tech car, they flee the house and go aboard the Deavors’ ship. The mind-controlled Helen, Bob and Lucius frighten the public and veer the ship to hurtle back toward the city. Jack-Jack frees Helen from her goggles, leading to the supers to regain their senses after a super-powered battle.
Evelyn tries to escape in a jet attached to the ship but is captured by Helen. Bob and Lucius manage to slow the ship down before it crashes into the city.
Evelyn is arrested, Winston apologizes, and Supers around the world regain full legal status.
The film ends with the Parrs fighting crime as a family.
Analysis/Review – No Significant Spoilers
Incredibles 2 is good for a number of reasons. It also has several missteps that are obvious after a second view.
I viewed the film both in 2D (first) and in 3D (second). The 3D wasn’t too spectacular, so the best option is to view the film sans-glasses.
In preparation for this review, I went back and watched the original film for extra context. Having weighed the two films separately, I feel that the original is superior. The pacing, villain, defined character roles, and lasting impact just hold up better objectively.
This review will be broken into two parts: What I enjoyed and What I didn’t.
What I Liked
- The animation is gorgeous, mainly due to the art design having less technological limitations. The 1960’s aesthetic, heavier detail, and character refreshes add to an already unique look. The city at night is breathtaking.
- Elastigirl’s action sequences are spectacular. Every single one. The monorail, Screen-Slaver fight, her short fight with Bob, and the jet incident all showcase her powers wonderfully. Giving her additional screen-time is great.
- Jack-Jack isn’t horrible. Having him be a central focus could’ve ended horribly but is well-executed. Competent development strengthens the character with the raccoon fight, Edna’s visit, and the power polymorphism.
- The comedy is stronger. More slapstick, goofy animation (the spit take), and more situational comedy helps make this long film feel much shorter. Tired Bob, Edna, and Jack Jack’s fight are major highlights.
- The score is good. Not something that I’d listen to separately, but good enough to mention as a plus. The opening instrumental, action set-pieces, and the ramping tension at the boat scene stand out dramatically.
What I Disliked
- The villain is weak, obvious, and not threatening. There is a monologue and parental motivation, yet no evil-doer simply being evil. There is one excruciatingly grating flaw that I mentioned in the story overview.
- Easily editing the footage to make the heroes look incompetent, refusing to initially help, or simply hi-jacking the boat before the law is reversed would’ve solved so many questionable choices. Being labeled a genius yet having no fail-safes, clear planning, or general aptitude makes the villain look awful compared to Syndrome.
- Both Violet and Dash are not well executed. More-so Dash than Violet. Whereas Violet has an arc of becoming more enthusiastic and responsible with her hero work, Dash is just there and a jerk. He wants to launch rockets at civilians, wrecks the new house, looses Jack Jack, and does very little to help anyone (except an old lady). Yeah, he is young but his character has nothing in common except for his name and speed.
- The voice actors sound much older. It would be fine if there was a time jump, but there isn’t one. Having them mention the island like it was a few months ago compared to 14 actual years is jarring. The production gap was simply too long for no jump forward in time.
- Dash’s powers were significantly reduced. In the first film he could run on water. Now he can’t catch Jack Jack before he phases into a wall at the end of a hallway. This is a small nit-pick, but an annoying plot issue.
Fans of the original will have plenty to enjoy. Regular film-goers may be confused by the tonal shift after the second act.
Minor faults aside, I still highly recommend watching Incredibles 2. It adds to an already enjoyable film, sets up potential sequels nicely, and gives enough new content to make this worth a watch.
I wouldn’t exactly call it incredible but as sequels go, this one succeeds.