The Incredibles are finally back and ready to save the day in this long-awaited sequel. Picking up literally moments after the first film, Incredibles 2 follows the Parr family as they try to make an impact in a world where superheroes are illegal. Once again written and directed by Brad Bird, Incredibles 2 doesn’t quite match the original but it’s packed full of heart, humor and big questions.
With superheroes outlawed, the Parr family is making an ethical choice to break the law every time they put on their masks. Without ever taking itself too seriously, Incredibles 2 asks a lot of interesting questions about the efficacy of the law and if it’s okay to break it to do good in the world. Every member of the family, and Frozone for that matter, has a different interpretation of what is right and their personalities all shine through based on what they do in difficult situations. Dash believes his powers define him, and it’s interesting to watch these characters choose to ignore or embrace their abilities as a result of living in a restrictive world. Thanks to newcomers Winston and Evelyn Deavor, a brother-sister duo played by Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener who run a massive corporation, there’s a plan to make superheroes legal again and Elasti-Girl is put front and center in a mission to remake the public perception of superheroes.
Every member of the cast does a fantastic job bringing their characters to life. First-time voice actor Huck Milner is the perfect choice to fill Dash’s shoes and it’s hard to even notice a different performer is behind the character. Craig T. Nelson has a new sandbox of emotions and challenges to deal with as Mr. Incredible and his performance keeps Bob likable and relatable even as he starts to lose his grip. While each cast member may be praiseworthy, it’s really Holly Hunter’s emotional and funny performance as Elasti-Girl that carries the movie. She is an intelligent, resourceful character and Hunter does a great job at constantly making her feel real as she sets off on a new journey without her family. Whether she’s interacting with her family or riding around town on her awesome motorcycle, Hunter’s powerful performance helps Elasti-Girl come across as calm and in control at all times.
While all of Pixar’s films are breathtaking, the animation in Incredibles 2 is, well… incredible. Thanks to the Presto animation system, every character looks ridiculously life-like and detailed. The big set pieces are all beautiful to look at and none of the action scenes come across as visually cluttered or messy, even when multiple characters use their abilities at the same time. Bird understands that the way someone looks and dresses is an extension of their character, and the animation team goes out of their way to incorporate small details into the storytelling. As Bob settles into his stay-at-home dad routine, his hair starts getting messier and the stubble on his face gets darker, two small signs to show that he is no longer in control of his surroundings.
From a design perspective, Incredibles 2 is just as beautiful as the first film. The same 1960s spy-movie influence is there, with extremely dramatic lighting and interesting camera movement. Thanks to the inclusion of a New York-like city, there are more dark alleys and shadows in the mix that all add a dramatic flair to the movie’s visual palette. All of the new characters have an interesting look to them that works perfectly in this world. To match the film’s positive spirit, Incredibles 2 is full of bright tones and lively colors, and at one point Elasti-Girl even makes fun of her new gray costume by saying “I’m not dark and angsty,” a subtle jab at the obsession with darker shades in superhero movies.
With Elasti-Girl taking the lead on the solo superhero missions in Incredibles 2, Bob gets stuck with parental duties a lot more than he did in the original. Seeing this role-reversal is an interesting and entertaining way to better explore the characters’ short-comings and strengths. It’s clear that Bob is desperate to be a superhero again, almost to the point of jealousy that his wife is soaking up the limelight, and it takes him some time to realize that the work at home is just as difficult and important as anything he does in a mask. Watching Bob grow and realize that being Mr. Incredible can extend into every part of his life is a really humanizing experience that makes the larger-than-life character more relatable.
While Jack-Jack has a relatively minor role in the original film, the youngest member of the Parr family is a bigger force in Incredibles 2. It’s hilarious watching the family bicker about who gets stuck with “babysitting duties” during a fight, and Jack-Jack becomes a major asset for the family towards the end of the film. His various abilities all blossom here and the non-verbal character is incredibly expressive. Since the baby doesn’t speak, his mannerisms and even his powers take on an increased importance because they help him communicate his feelings and thoughts in a clever, visual way. The movie is likely at its best whenever the baby is on screen, and a showdown between Jack-Jack and a raccoon in the backyard is so humorous and entertaining it already feels like an iconic Pixar moment.
At its core, the Incredibles franchise is about family, and this movie does a great job at making the characters feel like a real family. It’s clear they all love each other, but that doesn’t stop them from bickering or embarrassing one another in public. These characters may be super, but their family dynamics are the as normal as anyone else’s. There are a lot of hilarious interactions between Dash and Violet that feel like incredibly authentic moments between siblings who love and constantly annoy each other. Watching Bob try to understand his kids and help them with their homework or dating is both touching and entertaining as the character tries to be the best father he can be. The Parrs will do anything for one another, and it’s nice to see the family adapt and grow together as they confront a new set of challenges.
Despite the fact Incredibles 2 is coming out 14 years after the original, the franchise feels just as fresh and entertaining as ever. While the twist in the film is pretty obvious, Incredibles 2 is a clever, action-packed movie that does a good job talking about bigger ideas. Incredibles 2 tackles our society’s obsession with screens and the concept of packaged experiences all while poking fun at politicians who don’t understand people who do good deeds just because they want to help people. Full of entertaining moments for kids and adults, Incredibles 2 is a satirical look at superhero films that simultaneously makes fun of and embraces the genre’s tropes.
Final Score: 8/10
10 Marvel Characters Who Can Replace Iron Man After ‘Avengers 4’
He may not be the most powerful hero, but Iron Man is clearly the heart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His first solo film in 2007 kick-started the shared universe and directly led to the Avengers joining forces on the big screen. After starring in three solo movies and playing prominent roles in three other Marvel films, now seems like an appropriate time for Iron Man, or at least for Tony Stark, to slowly bow out of the spotlight.
Ever since The Avengers, Stark has been obsessed with the bigger threat out in the Universe. Well, Thanos finally launched his primary attack in Avengers: Infinity War and Iron Man is going to have to think creatively to save the universe. Rumors have been pointing for years that Robert Downey Jr. is ready to say goodbye to the Marvel Universe, but if that happens, Marvel will have to send Iron Man out in style. Whether he sacrifices himself to resurrect the universe or just stalls Thanos long enough for Doctor Strange to save the day, the potential loss of Tony Stark will leave a giant, Iron Man-sized hole in the MCU that will desperately need filling.
Hit Next to discover which characters should replace Iron Man after Avengers 4!