The Incredibles 2 Review You’ll Want to Read
On a chilly November Friday in 2004, I went to my hometown movie theater to catch a screening of the newest Disney/Pixar movie all about superheroes. This past Friday in June of 2018, I visited my hometown and walked into that very same movie theatre 14 years later to see the next in the now-revered Disney/Pixar super series. The Incredibles 2. The music, animation, and story from the original had set the bar pretty high, so my expectations were through the roof; after all, they had 14 years to get it right! Before you continue on with the review, you can check out my pre-film rundown here and see for yourself how accurate (or off the mark) my predictions were. So, how much time has passed since the original? Did Elastigirl play as big of a role as we anticipated? Who is the new villain? Just one thing before we answer all of these questions: spoilers ahead.
A Fearless Opening Fight
I was apparently the only one who had aged since the Incredibles and I met in that movie theatre 14 years ago. The film picks up exactly where the first left off as seemingly all of 5 seconds passed since the end of the first film. We pick up at the track meet where Violet meets Tony and The Underminer launches his attack. Basically, the Incredibles + Frozone suit up and save the town, which succeeds in both saving lives and angering the superhero officials who passed laws to make superheroes illegal.
The opening fight sequence is an action-packed, edge-of-your-seat scene complete with unbelievably sharp animation, quick, exciting cuts, and that famous Bond-esque underscore. The advancements in animation are immediately apparent as The Underminer cuts through huge buildings with a blade that appears so life-like, the metal literally shimmers in the computer animated sun. Mr. Incredible and his family use their specific powers to push, stretch, run, and freeze, and force field their way to defeating the villainous threat. Right off the bat, Disney/Pixar are flexing their super muscles by starting off with an action scene; risky business considering that when the film originally opened, we were hooked on the action scenes because we weren’t yet numbed by the over production of fight-heavy Marvel Universe films. I think opening with an action scene was a great way to show that not only are the Incredibles back, they can more than hang with the best of them.
“Mom’s New Job”
After the opening fight scene, we are reminded by officials that, despite the heroes’ efforts, superheros are still in fact illegal, and the Incredibles are sent into hiding. After the movie kicked off with a larger than life battle scene, the mood shifts from electric to calm as we get a glimpse into the superheroes’ incredibly average family life. Arguments and rifts arise over dinner, and the hilarious banter and relatable volleys of insults remind us that Dash, Violet, Bob, Helen, and Jack Jack are no different than the faces you see at your own family dinner table. I loved the reminder that, no matter how crazy life can get, family really is what we all come back to at the end of the day, and it is the glue that holds the uncertainties together.
By the way, watch how talented Brian Hull is performing his amazing impressions of many of your favorite characters from The Incredibles (no spoilers here)! Truly remarkable!
After catching wind of the recent heroics, Helen- aka Elastigirl/Mrs. Incredible- is called upon by an entrepreneur to come out of hiding and face off against the city’s newest villain, Screenslaver. He hopes that, when she succeeds, her actions will be enough to grant superheroes a pardon so they can get back to saving the day. Elastigirl’s kick-butt new suit and skills on a motorcycle elicited ooh’s and ahh’s from moviegoers all around me, and my prediction was correct that a strong (or in this case, stretchy) woman is exactly fitting with the times, and I can’t think of a better role model for girls than a mother of 3 who holds together the family, holds down a job, and holds together an entire universe- thanks Elastigirl!
With their mom’s new job, the kids and Bob are left to handle the day-to-day trials that come with home life like school, teenage drama, and sleepless nights. When Helen is away, Bob finally realizes that parenting is not easy- it might even be harder than saving the world. His struggles play out in a hilarious sequence of mishaps, jokes, and banter that any parent and kid will appreciate. The role reversal here is a perfect reflection of 2018 families’ more ‘nontraditional’ appearances.
1960 or 2018?
The Screenslaver is the new villain on the block, and his whole play is hypnotizing the superheroes and controlling them to perform evil acts, ultimately turning the world against them and making them illegal forever. His plot is surefire because, in this day and age, screens are in front of our faces 24/7, right? Well, not right. The film is set in the 60’s; this much is made clear by the attire and houses the characters live in…a time well before pocket sized screens. The person behind Screenslaver turns out to be an ultra chic chick with a layered pixie bob haircut who sports tight pants and loud eyeshadow in all of her scenes. Her appearance- along with her brothers’ dress and ultra-modern new ship- blur the line between 1960 and 2018 in ways that are simultaneously very smartly crafted and entertaining, and stylistically disjointed.
The Screenslavers’ identity reveal wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped and was, in fact, predictable. I craved a villain with a clear motive, a great super suit, a cool look, and comic relief. The whole plotline of turning Supers evil made the film lack one clear, clean target- a formula that I feel would have worked much better here. I didn’t feel connected to the villain plot at all and found myself craving more moments of Elastigirl’s heroic feats and Bob at home with the kids. Perhaps the more homey moments were the studios’ focus in this film, but judging from the huge battle scene at the end, I don’t think that was the case.
The Newest Supers Step Up
The wait for the reveal of Jack Jack’s powers is over, although something tells me we don’t even know the half of what this super baby is capable of. In the heartwarming scenes of Bob with the kids at home, Jack Jack’s powers come to light in hilarious mishap scenes that succeed in both pulling at the heartstrings and making you laugh! With Jack Jack’s growing powers, Bob realizes that Jack Jack needs a protective suit just as badly as Bob himself needs a nap- so he drops Jack Jack at an old friends’ house for an overnight babysitting stay.
Edna Mode’s house is just as impressive as it was in the first film, and again blurs that line between 1960’s and 2010’s. While I was confident Edna would grace the screen for much much longer than she did (sorry to report that her screen time in this film is just about the same length as the original) the time she was in the film was utilized brilliantly! The use and not overuse of Edna meant that her lines had to be concise, witty, and brilliantly delivered- all succeeded in making the designers’ time on screen memorable…though I do wish we saw more of her.
Jack Jack’s powers are by no means developed, and we see him go from baby to monster to fire to invisible to another dimension to enormous and then back to baby. Phew…no wonder Mr. Incredible was so exhausted! When he gets word that his wife has been manipulated by Screenslaver, he flies to her side only to immediately be hypnotized too. With Frozone down for the count and every super in the world under Screenslavers’ control, an emotionally wrecked Violet and a youth-charged Dash decide to step up and save the day…after they save their parents.
We have a role model for women and girls in the form of Elastigirl, and three more for kids of any gender in the form of Violet, Dash, and Jack Jack. Although the audience members who grew up with this film 14 years ago have grown up in the time span between films (that’s me) it’s a great full-circle moment to see the Incredible kids come into their own just as my generation is beginning to have jobs and families of their own. Overall, I think the movie was a great sequel to the original and, despite a few time identity issues and a less-than-stellar villain, I think Disney/Pixar did a fantastic job of both capturing and recreating the overall tone everyone came to love while creating exciting variations on themes that succeed in modernizing a famous classic. Have you seen the film? What did you think? Do you have a sudden urge to ride the Incredicoaster now? Let us know in the comments below!
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!