****½ out of five stars
Brad Bird and Pixar Animation Studios have finally unveiled the long-awaited sequel to their 2004 animated superhero epic, The Incredibles. Will the further adventures of the Parr family continue to thrill?
Incredibles 2 begins right where the last film ended, as the super-family faces the villainous Underminer (voiced by John Ratzenberger). But the collateral damage in the battle has a hefty price.
Government agent Rick Dicker (Jonathan Banks) tells the Parrs that his department’s “Super Relocation” program has been shut down. Thus, the family, and all other Supers, are once again forced into retirement. Fortunately, Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), superhero fan and head of the tech giant DEVTECH, has a plan to sway public opinion in favor of Supers.
And so, Helen Parr/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) is hired for a new heroic mission, while husband Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) stays at home to watch their children. Bob has his work cut out for him. The baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile and Nicholas Bird) has developed some strange and unpredictable powers, Dash (Huck Milner) is struggling to learn New Math, and Violet (Sarah Vowell) is having boy trouble. Meanwhile, Helen faces a mysterious techno-terrorist called the Screenslaver (Bill Wise). She has little trouble foiling his plans, but it almost seems deliberately easy.
Incredibles 2 continues the rich legacy of both Brad Bird and Pixar. It is not only another great film from the filmmaker and studio but also sits alongside Toy Story 2 and 3 and Finding Dory as one of the best Pixar sequels. In some ways, it might even be better than the first film.
Incredibles 2’s tone is overall a fair shade more light-hearted than its predecessor. Perhaps that is due to the additional focus on the family’s daily activities. A good deal of the film is about Bob and the kids, living at home and facing everyday (and not-so-everyday) dilemmas. It calls to mind the comic book adventures of the Fantastic Four. Jack-Jack and his strange powers can even be compared to Franklin, the son of Marvel’s First Family.
Everything about Incredibles 2 works, from the characters and the interactions between their colorful personalities, to the action sequences, to the gorgeously detailed CGI models and textures, to the cool 1960s aesthetics. Perhaps the only criticism is that photosensitive viewers should be forewarned that a few scenes in the movie could potentially trigger epileptic seizures.
Aside from the epilepsy issues, Incredibles 2 is a near perfect film. It should appeal to superhero fans and viewers of all ages. Be sure to arrive early, as Pixar’s latest short, Bao (written and directed by Domee Shi), is shown in front of the film. It is a truly adorable supplement for this animated family adventure.