"Incredibles 2" (2018) Review
It could never be better than the first one.
The Incredibles represents the best of Pixar's output in the mid-2000s. Up to that point, they had literally never released a bad movie, and they were six movies deep into their legacy. I was just a kid when the film came out, but looking back it's not hard to see how people viewed Pixar as an unstoppable force of nature in the industry.
Things have changed a bit since then. It's not that Pixar puts out horrible movies all of a sudden, but they've had misfires since then, none of which hit horrific depths of any kind. They're still probably the highest quality western animators working right now, but The Incredibles was a high water mark that is probably one of my all time favorite films from the studio. I never expected Incredibles 2 to hit that mark, especially a full fourteen years after the original was released.
And unsurprisingly, it doesn't.
But it's still damn good in its own right.
Incredibles 2 might repeat some old tricks from the first film, but it still manages to forge its own identity by doubling down on some spectacular action sequences and downright hilarious gags. It trusts the audience to be familiar with these characters and builds on the previous film's foundational ideas. It does what a good sequel should do, but it never exceeds the original unfortunately (this ain't Toy Story 2 folks).
The film picks up literally at the exact moment the first film ended with the Parr family, Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner), and Jack Jack (Eli Fucile) fighting the Underminer (John Ratzenberger). Things don't go as planned and the good wave of publicity that superheroes had after the events of the first film come to a halt. But Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) gets an offer from a massive technology firm, Devtech, to start a campaign to bring superheroes back into the spotlight. The company is run by a brother and sister, Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), and Eveyln Deavor (Catherine Keener), the brother being the spokesman and the sister being the inventor behind the company. They recruit Elastigirl to lead the campaign since she's the least destructive of the superheroes, forcing Mr. Incredible to stay at home with the kids.
If part of that summary sounds a bit familiar to fans of the first film, you'll have an easy time guessing some of the plot mechanics well in advance, especially where Elastigirl's storyline is concerned. But the most fun to be had here is watching Mr. Incredible try and take care of his kids, especially Jack Jack. Oh my god, Jack Jack. There are a couple scenes involving Jack Jack's powers that are worth the price of admission, but one scene in particular is the closest that a good superhero movie has gotten to full on slap-stick in forever.
That's actually the most surprising part of the movie is watching Pixar play around with superpowers in animation for another round. More superheroes show up besides the Parr family, and while most of the powers have shown up in other movies, the way Pixar wields them are an absolute blast, especially once the third act kicks in. The action bits in this movie are straight up fantastic and so well structured that you'll wonder why live-action superheroes have such a hard time making it look this effortless.
Speaking of looks, the film is an aesthetic knockout. The original film's gaudy 1960s aesthetic has been updated with modern animation, resulting in some scenes that are absolute visual feasts to behold. Throw in the fantastic score from Michael Giacchino and you have a complete package.
The story is a bit sloppier than the first film, but everything else more than makes up for it in Incredibles 2. On the off chance that Pixar decides to make another one of these, they might want to come up with a different type of storyline where villains are concerned, but even if they don't, I just want to see more of these characters in the future. It's too much fun to give up just yet.