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Dan's Review: "Incredibles 2" a solid, safe sequel

Jun 12, 2018 04:44PM ● Published by Dan Metcalf

Incredibles 2 - © 2018 Disney/Pixar.

Incredibles 2 (Disney/Pixar)

Rated PG for action sequences and some brief mild language.

Starring (voices of) Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Samuel L. Jackson, Brad Bird, Jonathan Banks, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Sophia Bush, Phil LaMarr, Isabella Rossellini, John Ratzenberger, Bill Wise, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Michael Bird.

Written and directed by Brad Bird.

GRADE: A-

REVIEW:

Most sequels are already in development before most blockbuster films are released. The Incredibles, released in 2004 is a unique film that bucked the trend. The film’s popularity and unique take on superheroes seemed like the perfect primer for a Pixar/Disney franchise that could keep the interest of audiences for years to come. One problem: Incredibles creator Brad Bird had no interest in building a franchise. I Actually met Bird during a promotional tour for Ratatouille, his next Pixar project following the success of The Incredibles. I asked him about a sequel and he admitted that he still liked his world of superheroes, but did not offer any kind of commitment to rush a sequel. I’m glad he resisted the allure of sequels, which is no small task when you’re working for a money tree like Disney. After Bird’s dismal and utterly disappointing Tomorrowland crashed and burned (because it truly sucked), Bird finally put Incredibles 2 on the drawing board. So, nearly 18 years later, we finally get to see the next chapter in the Parr family adventures.

Holly Hunter and Craig T. Nelson are back voicing Helen Parr/Elastagirl and Mr. Incredible/Bob Parr (please note that Nelson received top billing in 2004, and Hunter is billed first this time – for good reason).  Also returning is Sarah Vowell as the voice of their adolescent daughter Violet (with powers of invisibility and force field generation), while newcomer Huck Milner voices Dash Parr, a boy with extraordinary speed. Eli Fucile provides the voice for Jack-Jack, the baby of the family who possesses many different, yet untamed powers.  Samuel L. Jackson also returns as Lucius/Frozone, Bob’s best friend with the power to produce ice and snow. Brad Bird himself also returns as Edna Mode, personal super suit designer, and friend to the Parrs.

The story picks up exactly where the first film left off, with the Parr family responding The Underminer (John Ratzenberger), a supervillain who tunnels below the city to rob banks. When the Parrs fail to catch the Underminer and inflict great damage on the city, the family is forced to go into hiding again (also, their home was destroyed in the first movie). Things seem to be going poorly until wealthy brother/sister benefactors Winston and Evelyn Deavor (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener) step forward and promise to help make superheroes legal again. They set up the family in a new home and give Helen a job to promote the good side of superheroes, while Bob is left at home with the kids, dealing with mundane issues like new math, boyfriend troubles, and Jack-Jack’s emerging powers. A supervillain named “The Screenslaver” who hypnotizes people into doing destructive things is constantly challenging Elastagirl in her new gig. While she is successful in saving lots of people while minimizing collateral damage, Elasatagirl unable to capture Screenslaver. Meanwhile, the Deavors are working to recruit other “supers” from the shadows and continue to promote their legalization. Little do they know that Screenslaver has a hidden agenda with a hidden puppet master behind the scenes. When the truth about Screenslaver is finally discovered by the Parrs, it may be to late to save their family  - and the world.

Incredibles 2 is a fine film with amazing visual animation and effects. At its heart is not a film about superheroes, but a film about family, just like the first film. There are a lot of things in the sequel that are equal to or derivative to the 2004 original, and that’s either a good thing or bad thing, depending on your expectations. There is little new territory at play here. The Parrs are still trying to keep the family together and make sense of their place in the world. In terms of character development, there isn’t much to see here. If you feel comfortable with a sequel that does not challenge this dynamic, then Incredibles 2 hits all the right notes. If you’re looking for something a little more thought-provoking or a new kind of conflict, then you may be slightly disappointed. When the real “villain” is revealed, you may also feel a little underwhelmed, since the person behind the conflict has the same basic motivation as Buddy/Syndrome in the first movie.

All quibbles aside, Incredibles 2 delivers as solid, if not perfect sequel to the first movie, with plenty of humor, action and heartwarming family moments. It’s a sequel worth waiting for, as I’m sure haste would have made things much worse.

 

Incredibles 2 Trailer

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