A family of superheroes goes on a PR campaign to lift the ban on their public existence.
Directed by Brad Bird
Starring Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter
Initial Review by Phil Crone
Let’s get the obvious knock, and only knock in my opinion, out of the way: considering it took 14 years to get a sequel, you would think the story would be a bit more original. “Incredibles 2” is a beat-for-beat retelling of the original story with a gender swap. That’s fine. If “The Incredibles” didn’t exist, “Incredibles 2” would be an A+ in my book.
So while “Incredibles 2” isn’t necessarily breaking any molds, I did love how it presented its story, starting with Elastigirl aka Helen Parr. “The Incredibles” paints her as the real leader of the group – Mr. Incredible gets the accolades, but it’s Elastigirl who incites the action to save Bob and she’s ultimately the one who devises the plan to stop Syndrome when she takes her one shot. This is Elastigirl’s movie, and it’s awesome to see Helen relish the spotlight after what was surely decades languishing in the shadow of her counterparts. Not only is Elastigirl uber-competent, her powers make her simply more fun to watch, as made evident by the excellent train sequence mid-way through the movie.
Meanwhile, we see Bob get to play the domestic caretaker role, which provides plenty of comedy to the affair. It’s definitely a cliché to see the bumbling man who can’t take care of the house, but screw it, it’s funny in this case. It was the only option to give Violet and Dash any sort of character arc in this movie, and the three of them working to learn how to be a family without their real leader provides some moments that are funny and touching – specifically Bob breaking down and wishing to be a good dad later in the movie.
In all this chaos, we get the real scene-stealer of the movie, Jack Jack. Still a baby, there’s only so much interesting you can do with Jack Jack other than comedy, and Pixar realizes that and leans into it heavily. There are a number of great scenes I could pick out, but how do you beat Jack Jack fighting the raccoon? That scene will almost assuredly make my favorite scenes of 2018 list that is currently… maybe three or four deep right now.
Not surprisingly, given the dynamic shift, Bob manages to fall into the same trap as Helen, taking them off the table and leaving it to the kids to save the day. In the final sequence, we see all the main characters get a “moment,” and it was great to see Bob finally learn that he didn’t have to be the center of attention and Helen to learn that her kids were self-sufficient without her as she is tasked with ultimately taking down The Screen Slaver. It was the right call and a great way to cap off everyone’s story here.
“Incredibles 2” may not have been wholly original, but it’s a more polished take on a winning formula that Pixar had already developed. Pixar leaned into the character’s strengths and made a movie that was just really fun beginning to end. What more can you ask for?