Written by Rick Warren / gfn21
It’s been well-over a decade, but the sequel to Pixar’s phenomenal film about a family of superheroes is finally here. Even with such a long wait and a tremendous amount of hype having been built up over the years, Incredibles 2 delivers in every way. The animation is some of Pixar’s very best, with the action scenes being intense and gorgeous. Every joke in the film lands, with Jack-Jack stealing the show in terms of big laughs. While all the members of the Incredibles get a chance to shine, focusing on the return of Elastigirl makes for a well-paced and well thought out movie. Incredibles 2 is a near-perfect film that works for all ages, and it’s an absolute must-see on the big screen.
For a deeper, spoiler-packed review, read on!
SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT!
A New Focus
Mr. Incredible may have had the largest role in the first film, but this time around it’s his wife’s turn to take the reins. Mrs. Incredible returns to her old look and name early into the film, as Elastigirl becomes the first of the supers to be allowed to work legally again. While a time jump just like the real-world gap between movies would have interesting, it now makes sense why Pixar made Incredibles 2 take place immediately after the original; this Elastigirl-heavy story was one worth telling.
Elastigirl’s fight to make supers legal leads to plenty of jaw-dropping action sequences, such as a train chase and a one-on-one battle with the film’s villain, Screenslaver. These sequences are expertly animated, making multiple clever uses of Elastigirl’s superpowers. While similar abilities have been handled poorly in the Fantastic Four films, Incredibles 2 makes them look as cool as possible.
With Elastigirl spending most of the movie fighting on her own, the rest of the Parr family makes up the scenes in between the action. Dash struggles with school, Violet’s relationship with a boy she likes falls apart, and Jack-Jack is... Jack-Jack. Mr. Incredible tackles these issues head on and watching both his struggles and successes as a parent makes for plenty of laughs, along with some heartfelt moments. The role reversal of the parents works brilliantly, and there’s not a single moment that feels forced or unnecessary.
Disney’s talented animation studio truly stepped their game up with this movie, and it shows in more ways that just the quality of the visuals. The soundtrack is brilliant, fitting the family of heroes perfectly, and the acting is as on point as one could hope for. The storytelling, though, is perhaps the most impressive feat the film pulls off. Every creative decision made by Brad Bird and the rest of the team pays off.
Jack-Jack’s unlimited potential is displayed brilliantly in the film through his encounter with a raccoon, as he cycles through every power as the fight goes on. It’s a huge standout moment, and it’s sure to deliver plenty of joy on first viewings and re-watches alike. Edna Mode filling in as his babysitter also brought plenty of laughs, and it felt genuinely great to see her again. Frozone may not have had a large role, but he too added something to every scene he was in. Even with all the time that has passed, the Incredibles characters haven’t become any less incredible.
As for the new characters, it’s no surprise that Pixar delivers here as well. Both Winston and Evelyn Deavor are very well-written characters, with their opposing viewpoints being fleshed out in believable ways. Screenslaver is a neat villain, with the monologue delivered by the character before they fight Elastigirl being very reminiscent of Rorschach. While the reveal of Screenslaver’s identity was limited to one of two options, it’s nice that the less predictable of the two was chosen. Finally, the miscellaneous background heroes. While Voyd is the only one from the group who is likely to reappear in the future, these characters serve their purpose by having a creative set of powers used in the final moments of the film. If there’s one issue with The Incredibles 2, though, it’s that finale.
The final act of the movie is very far from being something one could consider bad, but it is a bit less amazing than the rest of the film. The final ship sequence feels both drawn out and like it’s missing something, and this might have to do with the fact that Screenslaver isn’t the type of villain who could fight a team of supers. As soon as this villain’s identity is revealed, and their mind control plan fails, they become far less of a threat and the heroes turn their focus to stopping the ship. Instead of making use of all the supers on the ship and giving the family a chance to work together to focus on a villain, Elastigirl takes down Screenslaver with relative ease. The Incredibles spend little time together in-costume, so it’s a bit anticlimactic that when they do regroup they have nobody to fight. Still, this issue with the ending isn’t nearly enough to hold the movie back from being special.
With a smart decision to focus on Elastigirl, great action, a strong soundtrack, and tons of jokes that land, the Incredibles 2 easily ends up being on Parr (sorry) with the original. There’s plenty of potential for a third film, and it’s sure to be just as great as this one... let’s just hope it doesn’t take as long to make!
Incredibles 2 is just as strong as its predecessor in every way, making it an absolute must-see.
Elastigirl focus works +2
Brilliantly animated action sequences +1
Humor always lands +1
Old and new characters are well-written +1
Third Act lacks a super villain presence -.5
FINAL SCORE: 4.5/5