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The Incredibles 2

It’s unfathomable to think that it has been 14 years since the release of THE INCREDIBLES. At the time, the genre-bending, superhero story was as an unrivaled  revelation. Writer/Director Brad Bird, along with Pixar Studios, proved to the world that family fare, and animated films as a whole, didn’t have to be relegated to children and the unfortunate parents who may have had to tag along. With dazzling animation, a lively story, great characters, plenty of action, and a ton of humor, it was beloved by children and adults alike. It is the rare movie that holds up under repeated viewings, a fact that I can testify to directly. My kids, ages 9 and 6, watch it a few times a month.

From the moment it was initially released, fans across the globe hoped that a sequel would be just around the corner. After nearly a decade-and-a-half of speculation and rumors, the Parr family burst back onto the big screen this June.

Though there have been some who have proclaimed that THE INCREDIBLES 2 was a step back rather than a leap forward, I couldn’t disagree more emphatically. The sheer amount of time that has passed since the original came out has resulted in a reverence that, whether fair or not, is impossible to approach. There is no denying that THE INCREDIBLES was a groundbreaking adventure that opened the door for Pixar, and all other animation studios, to become much more daring and confident. The film illustrated that risks could (and should) be taken to test the limits of conventionalism. The belief that the sequel needs to do the same is a fallacy. The most important factor in the success of the sequel is its entertainment value. Will fans of the original fall in love with the Parr family all over again, and will they have fun along the way? The answer here is a simple and categorical, “yes!”

THE INCREDIBLES 2 picks up immediately where the first left off. And, by immediately, I mean, it literally is an extension of the final scene in the 2004 film. Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson,) Elastigirl (Holly Hunter,) and their kids are hot on the trail of the Underminer (Johan Ratzenberger, getting his obligatory and delightful cameo out of the way early) as he attempts to drill underneath the city in order to rob a bank. Carnage, both professional and personal, befalls the family along the way, and once again, the public and government alike question the legitimacy of superheroes. There are those who think that the world is far better without them, while others, including wealthy businessman Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) attempt to help the heroes reclaim their rightful place atop the criminal justice system. Realizing that Mr. Incredible’s brute force results in maximum carnage, the siblings decide that Elastigirl should serve as the face of the mission, and would serve as a catalyst for change.

With a camera pinned to her suit that allows all of her heroic exploits to be broadcast to the world, Elastigirl pursues evildoers, including a villain named The Screenslaver who uses hypnosis and technology to control his unsuspecting victims. Meanwhile, Bob takes on the role of stay-at-home dad, and quickly learns what I’ve known for years (having seen the wonders my wife wields in our household on a daily basis); being a stay-at-home parent is far more difficult than virtually any other job you could imagine. Aiding Violet (Sarah Vowell) in her attempts to grow closer to her crush, Tony (Michael Bird) helping Dash (Huck Milner) with “new math” (a phenomenal and hilarious take on Common Core) and discovering the ever-evolving and surprisingly intense abilities of baby Jack-Jack proves to be much more difficult than battling bad guys.

Bird’s film is exhilarating and endlessly entertaining. Like the first film, it contains the same crossover appeal that it makes it fun for any age. Allowing Elastigirl to take center stage was a great creative move, providing deeper character development for her (and, by extension, Hunter) than was on display the first time around. The family dynamic between the Parr’s is relatable and heartfelt, adding a level of emotionality that is often missing in animated films. At the end of the day, they are a loving, yet flawed, and ultimately a cohesive unit that proves that it is far better to work together than to try to tackle life on your own. The action sequences are abundant and awesome, and serve as yet another example of the ingenuity of Pixar. I’m fairly certain that in every single review I’ve ever written about a film from the studio, I proclaim that I’m continuously awe-inspired by what they are able to do. Beautiful, eye-popping, and unbelievable, they find a way to shatter expectations, and take animation to visual heights that never seemed possible.

GRADE: A

The Incredibles 2

RATED: PG

RUN TIME: 1 hour 58 minutes

GENRE: Animated Superhero Adventure

STARRING: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Samuel L. Jackson, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener

DIRECTORs: Brad Bird

Writers: Brad Bird

A special thanks goes to Regal Cinemas at Destiny USA for
allowing me to attend this month’s film.

Brian Miller
Film Critic
Based out of Central New York, Brian Miller is a film critic who works in television, radio, and print. Providing passionate and energetic takes on every movie he sees, he looks for the best in a movie, not the worst.