Best Incredibles 2 Review You’ll See Online
Pixar movies are so universally wonderful that a new release from the animation house comes with its own set of standards. New films aren’t just judged on their merits; they get compared to everything else in the Pixar library, too. It’s a brutal task to live up to such lofty expectations, but the studio somehow tops itself again and again. Is that the case with their latest release? You betcha! Here’s my The Incredibles 2 review ofPixar’s latest cinematic masterpiece.
In 2004, Pixar introduced director Brad Bird’s first animated movie for the upstart CGI animation studio. He was far from a neophyte in the realm of animation, though. Bird had worked for The Walt Disney Company all the way back in the early 1980s, helping with the illustrations in The Black Cauldron and The Fox and the Hound. He’d followed this work by holding the title of creative consultant for eight seasons on The Simpsons. Not coincidentally, those seasons are perceived as the show’s glory years.
Not content to consult on projects, Bird went out on his own in 1999, directing The Iron Giant, one of the best movies of the 1990s. Seriously, if you haven’t watched this film, you owe it to yourself to do so immediately. It’s a masterpiece. Unfortunately, Warner Bros. Pictures had no idea how to market this instant classic, and so it became a box office bomb.
Frustrated, Bird joined Pixar, the place that had garnered a reputation for prioritizing quality over studio politics. By this point, Bird was already an industry legend, but his next few years would cement his legacy. First, Bird wrote and directed The Incredibles. Then, he followed this project with Ratatouille, another beloved Pixar film. After its success, famed actor Tom Cruise personally recruited Bird to direct Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, a live-action blockbuster that cemented Bird’s reputation as one of the most talented storytellers in the world.
With so much going on, Bird never had time to follow up on the immediate and sustained popularity of The Incredibles, his masterwork. While other Pixar classics received prequels and sequels, the story of Bob and Helen Parr and their three children languished without resolution. The first movie had set up a sequel during its final seconds, but Bird was too busy to conclude that tale. Until now.
After 18 years on the sidelines, The Incredibles 2 is finally here, and it literally picks up where the last one left off. Yes, it starts with a not-quite climatic battle between the nefarious Underminer, who has mined his way up from the Earth’s core to attack and rob the Metroville Bank. And that’s the glory of the film aptly summarized.
Bird chooses to tell a timeless, stylized story with The Incredibles 2. Rather than set it in a modern world that’s easily recognizable, the director borrows liberally from all of his decades of Disney training. The world in which the Parrs reside is one that somehow seems quasi-futuristic and decidedly retro.
At different moments in the film, our heroes fight on the most advanced forms of transportation ever invented. During other key sequences, the loving tribute to the 1960s style of action cinema is unmistakable.
This film feels like a 2018 perspective of what the world looked like during the final years of Walt Disney’s life, but it also seems like a snapshot of a not-too distant future when technology has improved everyone’s lives. Bird’s story deftly walks this tightrope between loving tribute to the days of Our Man Flint and a tweaking of ideas the director had previously presented in 2013’s Tomorrowland.
The story of The Incredibles 2 expands on themes from the original. In that movie, Elastigirl was clearly the superior superhero, but she fell for Bob Parr, an invulnerable man with a giant chin and an improbable physique. When they married, she demanded that the couple live an ordinary, law-abiding life. That was convenient because a series of lawsuits had caused the government to sour on superhero vigilantes. Our Man Bob wound up working in a boring white collar job for an insurance company. He wasn’t satisfied by the banality of this decidedly unheroic existence and sought more.
The Incredibles 2 parallels this idea, only substituting Helen Parr as the one seeking more. Winston Deavor, the media mogul of a telecommunications company, wants to bring superheroism back into the collective consciousness. He selects Elastigirl as the person who can restore and redeem superheroes.
Since he’s a media man, Deavor understands that public opinion is everything. He and his sister, Evelyn, a talented inventor, hire and befriend Helen Parr. Bob Parr, who quit his insurance job, is left in charge of the household, a difficult challenge for the father of three children with powers. Daughter Violet is still trying to gain the notice of Tony Rydinger, a goofy teen who…well, I won’t spoil it, but his crush on Violet causes him a lot of problems early in the film.
As for The Dash aka Dashiell Parr, the middle child of The Incredibles is, well, a middle child in this film. He’s there for support and the occasional joke, largely a supporting player. As happens in real life, it’s the baby who draws all the attention in The Incredibles 2.
We learned in Jack-Jack Attack, an animated short on The Incredibles DVD, that the baby has superpowers. What we didn’t know then is that he has more than 10 of them. A running gag throughout The Incredibles 2 is Jack-Jack’s development of new and exciting powers, seemingly at the worst times. He also develops a mortal enemy, which places him way ahead of the superhero curve in this area. Jack-Jack’s scenes are the comedy violence portions of the movie, and they are universally hysterical. Jack-Jack toys are already in high demand this summer. Expect that trend to continue through the holidays, too. He’s the breakout star of the movie.
The plot of The Incredibles 2 involves Elastigirl’s battle to persuade citizens of Metroville of her utility. She wants people to believe in superheroes once again. Helping her in this attempt are a new batch of inexperienced supers like Voyd (her power is basically the videogame Portal as a superhero), Brick (a person with brick-like strength and power), and Reflux (don’t ask…just don’t).
The mysterious character trying to stop them from their goal is the Screenslaver. This supervillain hypnotizes anyone watching a television broadcast that he’s hacked. With this ability, Screenslaver can turn superheroes against one another or even persuade loved ones to fight. You can see where this is going.
With so much time between movies, Bird pilfered his fertile imagination for countless great ideas. At its base, The Incredibles 2 is an examination of gender roles in society, but that foundation is a minimal baseline for a much more expansive vision. With five superheroes in the immediate family and Bob Parr’s buddy, Frozone, seemingly the sixth resident of the house, the film has a strong core of characters. The introduction of new superheroes plus the Deavor siblings gives The Incredibles 2 a cast that’s not quite as large as Avengers: Infinity War, but it’s still 15 people deep. With such a large roster, Bird can swap moving parts in and out on the fly, giving the film tons of action and comedic relief.
The Incredibles 2 is an extraordinary accomplishment in modern cinema. It’s the rare sequel that’s more than worthy of its predecessor. It entertains with a joyous combination of big laughs and shockingly good action scenes.
Sure, people don’t expect an animated movie to have intense action sequences, but the third act of The Incredibles 2 masterfully ties a lot of pieces together in easily consumable whizbang moments. And any time the tension grows too strong, Jack-Jack Parr is there to do something so ridiculous that everyone laughs loud and long.
In a year that’s already offered three very good to exceptional Marvel movies (Black Panther, Deadpool 2, and Avengers: Infinity War), The Incredibles 2 is my favorite superhero/comic book movie. It’s a gorgeous, wildly entertaining movie.
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