INCREDIBLES 2 Review: 8 out of 10 (Ready to Jack-Jack You Up!)
INCREDIBLES 2 was written and directed by Brad Bird, and is the sequel to 2004 Pixar hit. Casting for the film saw several actors from the previous film returning to reprise their original roles, including Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell and Samuel L. Jackson, and new characters voiced by Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Sophia Bush and Bill Wise. The film's musical score was composed by Michael Giacchino, who had conducted the music on the previous film.
One notable challenge Bird discussed in the writing of the film involved finding a way to distinguish the sequel from other films and television shows produced within the superhero genre since the first film's release. Whether or not he is successful in that venture—your mileage may vary. In many ways there are distinct echoes from the first film and very little in terms of the narrative that will seem surprising, despite its attempts at creating a mystery around the villain of the film. However, what the film does offer is a nice new extension of these characters that includes gender roles and the family dynamic. And as a bonus, the 1950s retro throwback aesthetic of the film is still one of the most enjoyable things here.
Three months following Syndrome's defeat, the Parr family - Bob, Helen, Dash, Violet and Jack-Jack all continue operating under their superhero identity, the Incredibles. The Parr family begin to work with a new organization to put superheroes back in the spotlight and put a positive spin back on the “super” population of Earth. Meanwhile, they continue to deal with normal life, while another new foe seeks to turn the general public against all supers forever. All of that is more of a backdrop to what we all want to do—spend more time with these characters. As Holly Hunter’s Elastigirl begins to take the lead on changing the reputation of supers, Mr. Incredible is left at home to care for the kids—homework, junior high heartbreak, and a toddler just getting his super powers. The film does a good job at exploring these dynamics and giving a voice to both partners in the relationship and their concerns as well as victories in their new roles. This sequel certainly fleshes out each one of these characters far more than the original film did. The audience gets to experience far more of their personalities—including some of their weaknesses regarding their egos and even some esteem issues. But the most fun to be had here is Jack-Jack. Like any toddler, learning to walk, coo, talk, and learn to shoot laser beams from their eyes is key to childhood development. The value in the re-watching of this film comes in this child alone…and any toy store should expect a run on Jack-Jack dolls this weekend.
So, where INCREDIBLES 2 is certainly fun to watch with a lot of action sequences and eye candy to enjoy, the paint-by-numbers plot keeps it from ever becoming very gripping or raising much of the tension. Instead, the film focuses more on character development, pushing each character outside of their comfort zones. Though the story doesn’t every really take off, the action, characters, and sheer fun of it all will keep fans and newcomers pretty happy.