Cast: Craig Nelson, Holly Hunter And Bob Odenkirk Director: Brad Bird
It is not often that a sequel that arrives after 14 long years would actually be worth the wait. Incredibles 2 not only works as a nostalgia trip for fans of the original but also a worthy follow up, especially considering the superhero genre is currently beyond saturation point. It is also a nice and quick return to form for director Brad Bird after the disastrous Tomorrowland.
Picking up a short while after the events of the first film, Incredibles 2 takes us straight into the thick of things where a supervillain, hilariously named The Underminer (Pixar veteran John Ratzenberger), is busy executing a heist and The Incredibles (Craig Nelson, Holly Hunter) are busy saving the day. Things do not go according to plans and the superheroes are blamed for causing a lot of destruction, resulting in a Captain America: Civil War-like situation where there is a ban imposed on superheroes worldwide because they are generally irresponsible. Enter the super rich Steve Jobs-like Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) who promises a reversal of the ban to the Incredibles but his real motives may be more than what our good-natured heroes assume to be.
The sequel works both in expected and unexpected ways. Obviously, the animation has been given a gigantic update even though the style remains true to the original film. This is also a pacier film, embracing the manic energy that you expect in a superhero film nowadays while still keeping, in fact elevating, the subversive humour that made the first movie so good. It takes a while to really get going but when it does, it is a spectacular collage of hilarity, crowd-pleasing big moments and Bird’s trademark three-point shot taking.
The best moments come courtesy of the infant Jack-Jack who showcased a hint of superpowers in the first film but goes berserk in this one. The dynamic between Jack-Jack and his father Bob, who is relegated to becoming a stay-at-home dad with a midlife crisis, becomes the comedic highlight which works even more efficiently because the mother Helen is out there solving a mystery. This is a fun role reversal from the first movie where a more stereotypical approach was used when the man goes out to do all the work while the woman took care of the kids at home. This is also another film where Pixar nails the balance between servicing both children and adults in equal measure; no other animation studio has managed to polish this narrative equilibrium as well as Pixar has.
The only downside is that the reveal of the villain is predictable and the evil master plan does not quite make sense given the events occurring during said reveal. This is a real shame considering how solid the rest of the film is. Pixar is famous for having dozens of people work on the script so it is rare to see Bird’s sole name credited as a writer – perhaps a fresh collaborating voice would have ironed out this particular kink. It does not matter much though, because overall, this is still the first worthy Pixar sequel since Toy Story 3 and one that actually makes a case for further installments in the franchise. Just go and watch it already.