It’s pretty obvious that The Incredibles is one of Pixar’s best films. Even if it’s not among my personal favourites, that’s only because of how good other Pixar films are. Since it was released people have been clamouring for a sequel but we didn’t get one until now. With Brad Bird returning to give us another story with the Parr family, there was a lot of excitement. It’s a shame then that I was a bit disappointed by the film as a whole.
Picking up right where the first one left off, after a battle with the villain the Underminer, there is another backlash against superheroes that leads to more restrictions against them, with the Parr family being cut off from government help. However, help comes with tech tycoon Winston Deavor, a fan of superheros who wants to make them legal again, believing that Elastigirl, aka Helen Parr is the best option for success. With Helen away, Bob Parr aka Mr Incredible, has to look after the kids, made more difficult through the discovery of Jack Jack developing several powers at once. Helen’s job to help people to make superheros legal again is made more difficult though through the appearance of a new villain, the Screenslaver, who controls people through screens. Now starting with the positives, putting the focus on Elastigirl was the right call, giving us an empowering story for her and also making a solid point about her being the one chosen. The male ego of Mr Incredible would end up causing more damage if he went into the field where a more defensive and less destructive power was needed. It was also a good call to bring attention to Mr Incredible’s fragile ego and how he can still consider himself a good person and a hero being a dad rather than a superhero. However, in many ways the film feels like a rehash of the first film rather than doing something new. Even though I liked his character arc here, the development of Mr Incredible is pretty much the same as the first film just framed differently, the same being true for Violet’s character arc and the way the world reacts to superheros. I also felt the villain could have been developed more, the only development coming at the end of the film, when it’s too late to properly identify with the villain.
The cast are pretty strong throughout though. Holly Hunter as Elastigirl is great, showing her intelligence and conflicting ideas regarding being a hero and having to break the law to do so. Craig T Nelson as Mr Incredible does a good job showing him overcoming his masculine ego to be more supportive of his wife. Sarah Vowell as Violet shows the teen angst of the character well and Huck Milner, even though Dash isn’t given much character development, is still fun to watch. Bob Odenkirk is also fun to watch as Winson Deavor, his enthusiasm and support for superheros being clear in every line of dialogue, whilst Catherine Keener as Evelyn Deavor gives a solid performance, showing a more subdued side compared to Odenkirk and solid chemistry with Hunter. Brad Bird has fun with Edna Mode again, the scene with Mode being the highlight of the film, whilst Sophia Bush, Samuel L Jackson and Jonathan Banks are fun, even if they are wasted.
On a technical level, this film out does the first one. Having more scenes at night and evening gives a great colour palette to the film, the character animation is excellent, giving all the characters clear personality even if there was no sound, a lot of fun can be had with the animation of Jack Jack’s powers and Bird has put his live action experience to great use here in the action scenes. The 60s vibe of the film is another strong indicator of mood, not just with direct references to The Outer Limits and Johnny Quest, but also through Michael Giacchino’s excellent score and even what I gathered were references to the Marvel Superhero Show character themes with themes for Mr Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone.
Overall, despite the great elements in the film, I was ultimately disappointed with Incredibles 2. Sure the plot elements around Elastigirl were great and the animation stunning, but the pacing of the film was off, a lot of the characters feel wasted (which is why I didn’t mention them here) and the whole film just felt like a rehash of the first film, the kind of film that would be made as a quick cash grab following the first one, not one 14 years in development. It is a shame, but I really wish I liked this more than I did.
My Rating: 3.5/5