“Incredibles 2” was written and directed by Brad Bird and stars Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner and Bob Odenkirk. The film takes place immediately following the events of 2004’s “The Incredibles,” and is about a man looking to bring supers back by using Elastigirl as the main hero, all while Mr. Incredible stays home to watch his family, especially Jack-Jack.
“The Incredibles” is undoubtedly one of the greatest superhero movies ever made, and easily in the top-tier for Pixar. The film had tremendous action, one of the best villains ever, an incredible score, characters to fall in love with and a compelling story, so it’s safe to say expectations were high for the sequel that took so long to make.
As was the case 14 years ago, what makes “Incredibles 2” so great is the family it is centered around, as it is a delight to spend time with these five and continue to learn more about each of their characters. Nelson is amazing once again as Mr. Incredible, but this time, for how well he works with all three of the children and for how many layers we get into his persona.
Vowell and Milner are terrific as Violet and Dash, respectively. Vowell returns and brings the same amount of angst and teenage drama that made her great in the first film. For Milner, who is filling the shoes of Spencer Fox, who is now 25 years old, was equally as great, this time showing Dash attempt to be adult while clearly having the childlike tendencies.
Hunter is great once again as Elastigirl, and she is able to handle the lead role with a strong presence and with a much more careful outlook to her husband in the previous entry. Samuel L. Jackson gets an increased role as Frozone this time around, and it works to the film’s benefit as he just works so well with the family dynamic.
The place that this sequel improves the most with is in its visuals, as nearly a decade and a half will make the animation a dramatic improvement. The animation is gorgeous from start to finish, and it especially shines in Elastigirl’s scenes, with her superpowers looking absolutely stunning, and the camerawork sticking to the action and pace perfectly.
Michael Giacchino is a god-level composer, and his score for this franchise continues to be exceptional. Giacchino just knows how to add an intensity to the scenes with sharp sounds and trumpets, and the score has become iconic for a reason: because it is absolutely phenomenal.
The best portion of this movie is undoubtedly the character of Jack-Jack and every single scene he is involved in. There is an added level of comedy to this sequel, and it is because of the moments involving Jack-Jack’s powers, and they are effective at getting laughs every single time.
While my hopes were that “Incredibles 2” would feel more like a “Toy Story 2” level of sequel, it ended up feeling like a “Finding Dory,” not perfectly able to recapture all the magic from its predecessor. Yes, I had a lot of fun with this film, the characters are still great and it got a visual revamp, but for 14 years, I didn’t feel all the excitement, the tension and the incredible storytelling that I still get from “The Incredibles” to this day.
The main reason for this starts with the villain, as the antagonists here are nowhere near the master-class villain that is Syndrome. The movie’s villain, whose title I won’t spoil, has some interesting ideas, especially in one specific speech they give, but they are just not as interesting, as unique, or as fully realized as everything that made Syndrome so perfect.
There are quite a few new faces that are new to this movie, but none of them really make the impact I was hoping for. Odenkirk as Winston Deavor is probably my favorite, but he is only an okay character, even if the performance is great. Bird tried to bring some new people to the table, but they are too out there or uninteresting to leave much of a mark.
“Incredibles 2,” as has been my fear since the first trailer, often feels like it is ripping itself off with the storyline. Elastigirl’s story is a tad different than Mr. Incredible’s in the first film, and also better shot, but it still feels like far too familiar territory in a world that has so much potential to do anything it wanted. There are cool ideas hinted at here and there, but they needed to be at the forefront, as this film went more for fun than it did for the dark, life-threatening feel of the first movie.
“Incredibles 2” is an incredibly, yeah I made that pun, fun film that makes the characters we originally loved even better, and with a new visual palette that makes every action scene exciting to watch. Jack-Jack is a star, the comedy is there, the fight scenes are solid, but it’s just not quite “The Incredibles,” and isn’t as close to it as I wanted it to be. The first movie was, and still probably is, the darkest film that Pixar has ever made, with real themes of death, torture, divorce and what it means to be a hero. This movie only grazes anything close to themes like that, and for how fun “Incredibles 2” is, that is a tad disappointing.
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