INCREDIBLES 2 Review – Worth the Incredibly Long Wait?

Disney and Director Brad Bird had a tough hill to climb with INCREDIBLES 2. For one thing, sequels are always compared to the original film – will it measure up to expectations? Then there is the passage of time. Almost a decade and a half after 2004’s THE INCREDIBLES, this gap marks a massive change to the landscape of movies – the rise and fatigue of superhero films chief among this challenge. Does INCREDIBLES 2 meet these incredible expectations? Read our INCREDIBLES 2 review to find out!

Incredibles 2

THAT’S INCREDIBLE — Featuring the voices of Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner and Samuel L. Jackson, Disney•Pixar’s “Incredibles 2” opens in theaters on June 15, 2018 © 2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The Plot

Remember that final scene in 2004’s THE INCREDIBLES where The Underminer (John Ratzenberger) pops out of the ground and the newly minted Incredibles family look at each other like “we got this”? INCREDIBLES 2 picks up a second later as we see the Parr family including Bob/Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (series newcomer Huck Milner), and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) rescue the city of Metroville from this undermining threat. But instead of being grateful for the supers’ help, the Metroville authorities resent the Incredibles and their good friend Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) for being destructive. Sound familiar? (Captain America: Civil War, Batman v. Superman – we get it, superheroes cause destruction).

All is not lost, however. Telecommunications CEO Winston Deaver (Bob Odenkirk) and his tech-genius sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener), offer the supers a chance to make themselves relevant again. His catch? He wants Elastigirl, not Mr. Incredible, to track down Screenslaver, a mysterious new villain who hypnotizes people. Winston convinces Elastigirl to wear a new suit outfitted with a body camera so everyone can see her point of view. Mr. Incredible reluctantly stays home to take care of the kids: a moody teenage Violet, overly energetic Dash who needs help with homework; and little Jack-Jack, who starts manifesting super-potent powers.

Characters

Many stories and characters can also be a good thing. There is something for everyone in this film. INCREDIBLES 2 features a baby, a kid, a teenager, a mom and dad reversing roles, brothers and sisters, parents and kids – so many relationships! Moms and dads relate to Helen and Bob as they juggle kids with work. Husbands and wives relate to Helen and Bob’s very real conversations about their relationship. Kids will either gravitate toward energetic Dash or the easily-embarrassed teenage Violet.

At the film’s press conference, Brad Bird confessed that he was concerned about releasing a superhero film in the midst of “super hero film saturation”. However, when he thought about the story, he realized it wasn’t really about super heros – it was about a family. Family dynamics make for a much more fun, relatable tale. From then on, Brad was excited to tell the story of INCREDIBLES 2.

And that brings us to the story, and how compelling it is or isn’t. This film is almost 5 movies in one. In general, Brad Bird and his editors did a masterful job following each storyline and character arc. But the fact that there are so many stories means the film feels a bit disjointed at times. There’s several climactic moments throughout – so instead of one big rise to a climax and then fall to resolution, the entire film feels a bit like a bumpy ride. Many different little dramatic moments peak and then find their resolution.

Animation and Production Design

14 years of technological evolution really pays off. The animation, especially of faces and facial expressions for each of the characters is just incredible. There’s a moment during a family dinner where Helen responds to a comment from her husband with just an angry look. It’s the “angry eyes.” The timing, the expression, the animation was completely realistic and I nearly spit out my drink laughing.

The supers pop because the backgrounds are awash in a muted mid-century color palette selected by production designer Ralph Eggleston. He was constantly finding ways to tell stories with backdrops and colors, including completely changing the design of the Incredibles’ new home pretty far along into production.

Music

The story may feel disjointed at times, but Michael Giacchino’s incredible score smooths over any rough edges. For the composer, INCREDIBLES 2 is a triumphant return to his roots. In 2004, the original INCREDIBLES score was Giacchino’s first big break into feature films. That film also established his career with Pixar, as he’s gone on to score RATATOUILLE, UP (his 1st Academy Award), INSIDE OUT, CARS 2 and ZOOTOPIA. The INCREDIBLES 2 soundtrack embodies that triumphant return, both for the superhero family and the composer himself. I had a bounce in my step after watching the film. Stay through the end credits as its a chance to relish those themes in their entirety!

Incredibles 2

Overall, I remember I had fun watching this movie. But is it a memorable film? Not necessarily. INCREDIBLES 2 is a summer popcorn flick – to enjoy for the afternoon. The story is pretty complex and forgetful. But the animation, design and music are not. Take the whole family, then see what conversations pop up and which characters each of your family members liked. It may tell you something about them! INCREDIBLES 2 comes out June 15th to a theater near you.

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About Richard & Sarah Woloski

Richard and Sarah Woloski are the co-hosts and creators of the Disney / Star Wars Podcast Skywalking Through Neverland. The husband and wife team strives to create a polished, positive and fun weekly show celebrating fandom. They also love writing for Adventures By Daddy. Find them @SkywalkingPod