Jun 20, 2018

[Movies] Incredibles 2 (2018) Review


When The Incredibles first came out in 2004, it was a revelation. It was a celebration of the classic superhero story genre with a retro aesthetic but very modern storytelling. It had a strong character-driven narrative that was strongly tied to the Parr family and it was just a LOT of fun.

There has always been a fan demand for a sequel and initially it felt like the only Pixar property that was getting any sequel love remained to be Toy Story. Brad Bird had made repeated statements that he wasn't sure what story to tell and thus wasn't rushing into the project.

Fast-forward to 2018 and here we are with a brand new movie in Incredibles 2 that is everything that we needed. Some speculated that it was going to become a commentary on more recent superheroes and related movie franchises but I'm glad that they didn't go in that direction and kept things well-focused on the family. That's the heart of this franchise and celebrating that family is way drives things forward.

Synopsis: Incredibles 2 is the animated sequel the first movie The Incredibles and like before this movie was written and directed by Brad Bird. The movie directly continues the story of the first story and is not some effort to revisit the family after some time.

Like the first movie, things on a seemingly parallel track - in this case Agent Dicker (Jonathan Banks) interviewing young Troy (Michael Bird) and what he witnessed. And thus he relates the events picking up from the end of the first movie when the Underminer (John Ratzenberger) appeared and the Parr Family suited up to fight it. And while they do their best, in the end things don't go accordingly to plan and the city officials once again get upset about the damage to the city and blame our heroes.

As Agent Dicker relocates the family one last time as the program has been shut down. But their big adventure didn't go unnoticed as telecommunications tycoon Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) reaches out to Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) and eventually Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) and Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) as well. His big plan is to better documentary superhero activities to gather public support to overturn the laws banning superheros. And with his inventor sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener), they re-arm Elastigirl and send her out into the world. This leaves Bob Parr at home to take care of their three children, which is a superheroic feat in itself.

What I Loved: More than just a basic turnabout story that focuses on Helen Parr instead of Bob Parr in terms of going out to do superhero stuff, it's a pretty complex narrative about juggling career and home life. It just happens to be a superhero life that involves trying to make things better for super-powered individuals all around the world.

The movie has a lot of high points and moments of awesome - and this goes well beyond the inevitably awesome scenes with Edna Mode (still voiced by Brad Bird). We see the kids in better command of their powers and the use of these abilities is seamlessly woven into the typical behaviors we see in children and teenagers. And when you bring in the other supers that come out of the woodwork because of Deavor's initiative, the interaction of their powers and how these powers are used together is amazingly creative and in some cases goes beyond how we've seen similar powers depicted in comics books.

There are SO MANY great moments. I cannot get over it. The trailers barely scratch the surface of things.

What Could Have Been Better: My biggest issue with the movie, which is a minor point in the greater scheme of things, is how obvious the villain was. It's obvious that a villain called "Screen Slaver" would be able to use anyone as an agent for their schemes but the eventual reveal of who Screen Slaver was should have obvious even to kids.  But hey those are the kinks.

Beyond that, there are minor problems with how things were resolved or why didn't fight in a smarter manner sooner. I know we need to build up a little suspense at times but really once the end game began you'd think they would address the cause of the all their problems sooner, but they don't. I know this is vague but I really don't want to spoil things so that's what you get. You'll understand what I mean after you see the movie and we can talk about it privately so we don't spoil things for other people.

TL;DR: Incredibles 2 is an AMAZING follow-up to the first movie and it doesn't at all feel that 14 years have passed since the first film apart from refinement of animation techniques and technology. It's a great adventure that hit so many different story beats but on the whole never stops feeling like a story about a family that is super in so many different ways. Thus the movie gets a clear 5 surprise super power manifestations out of a possible 5.


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