Incredibles 2 Movie Review
Baby Jack-Jack steals the show in Disney’s and Pixar’s action-packed INCREDIBLES 2. Actually baby Jack-Jack does far more than just steal, he pummels, he multiplies, he burns, he enlarges, he vanishes, he flies, he takes on a rascally raccoon, and he shoots freaking laser beams out his eyes! And he does all this and more while being incredibly super adorable.
It has been fourteen years since writer and director Brad Bird brought us THE INCREDIBLES, which happens to be one of, if not the best Pixar film (WALL-E and INSIDE OUT share that honor in my humble opinion). In fact, THE INCREDIBLES might be one of, if not the best superhero film period (I still consider THE DARK KNIGHT to hold that honor). Now the inevitable question is, is INCREDIBLES 2 as good as the original? No. However, it’s still better than every other animated film you’ll see this year and last year and probably many other years. So please stop trying to measure it against that impossible standard and just enjoy the cleverly hilarious and high-octane thrill ride of your favorite family of superheroes.
INCREDIBLES 2 picks up right where the first left off with the Parr family of supes about to battle the Underminer (voiced by John Ratzenberger). To refresh your memory the powerhouse family includes: Mr. Incredible/Bob (Craig T. Nelson), Elastigirl/Helen (Holly Hunter), their teenage daughter Violet (Sarah Vowell), their ten-year-old son Dash (Huck Milner), and of course baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile). And I don’t want to forget appearances by Bob’s super best friend Frozone/Lucius (Samuel L. Jackson) and everyone’s favorite, scene-stealing costume designer Edna (Brad Bird).
In order to gain the public’s support in superheroes again, Elastigirl is chosen by a wealthy brother sister duo (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener) to be the new face for the supers, while Mr. Incredible and Frozone get sidelined. Mr. Incredible has to take on the home duties where he finds out that dealing with a hormonal teenager, middle school math problems, and the unpredictable mood of a baby with innumerable super powers proves to be far more difficult than fighting crime. Once again, the Incredibles cleverly draws that parallel line between being a good parent and being a superhero. Meanwhile, Elastigirl faces off against a new villain Screenslaver who hypnotizes and controls people to carry out evil deeds. The overall plot is very similar to the first film with the exception of reversing the roles between the parents and wisely beefing up baby Jack-Jack’s screen time. Even if the 118 minute story is a bit formulaic, it’s told quite well. The animation, characters, and even the modern tie-in to go-pro type camera technology to film the action are all top notch to the point where live-action superhero movies should take notice. I’m looking at you DC.
Despite how much I love INCREDIBLES 2, I do have a note-worthy quibble. Perhaps I’ve become a bit more prudish in my old age, but I was surprised at some of the language. Instead of gosh, heck, or darn, INCREDIBLES 2 actually uses the harsher counterparts to those words. Words that I personally don’t find appropriate in my vocabulary, let alone in an animated PG kids movie. Yes, I understand I’m watching cartoon violence and these words are used all the time in everyday life, and have found their way to becoming more acceptable terms, but still, is it necessary to squeeze those in when my examples would have been more effectively suitable? I say this not only as a parent but as a fan of all movie genres. I’m disappointed that such a fantastic Pixar movie would choose the lesser option and down-grade its tone and quality. At the heart, you are still a kids movie for goodness sake.
INCREDIBLES 2 is another crowning achievement in the Pixar universe. Like most sequels, it can’t replicate the freshness of the original and would have been better served cleaning up a handful of poorly chosen words in a kid’s movie. Nevertheless, INCREDIBLES 2 is undeniably a terrifically entertaining, intense thrill ride of well-developed action, and more importantly, it’s laugh-out-loud funny. If only I could think of one word that could sum up what I think of the film while simultaneously linking to the title of the film…oh well.