After nearly a decade and a half of waiting, Pixar’sIncredibles 2 finally hits theaters this weekend. And it does not disappoint. Right from the very beginning, the familiar music kicks in and fans pick up the story right where the first Incredibles movie ended.
Despite the 14-year period between films, characters Hellen (Elastigirl), Bob (Mr. Incredible), Violet, Dash, Jack-Jack, and Lucius (Frozone) are the same as they were in the original film. Edna, a fan favorite, is also back with an amazing scene as she flexes her super design skills yet again.
It’s great to see the original cast return with one exception. Huckleberry Milner replaces Spencer Fox as the voice of Dash since Fox was 10 when recording the first film and no longer sounds the same. Milner, however, does a great job as Dash and fits right in with the rest of the Parr family.
The Story of Incredibles 2
As seen in the previews, Incredibles 2 focuses on the efforts of our heroes, mainly Elastigirl, to help make being a superhero legal again. After facing the Underminer from the first film, owners of a high-tech communications company reach out to Frozone, Mr. Incredible, and Elastigirl about a plan to change how people see superheroes.
Rather than having the media focus on the damage and destruction superheroes cause, the goal is to show the good work they do. Siblings Winston Deavor, the face of the company, and Evelyn Deavor, the inventor, decide to use Elastigirl in their plan as she has the lowest damage statistics from previous battles.
What follows is Elastigirl/Hellen’s journey in the superhero spotlight again, solo this time, while facing a new villain, Screenslaver. Using hypnosis, Screanslaver is able to control anyone through a screen which puts people in danger.
The other story we follow is of Mr. Incredible/Bob. This time he stays at home and adjusts to dealing with a teenage daughter, new math, and a baby just discovering his powers. His many, many powers. He goes from always knowing what to do, to having no idea what to do.
Besides the Deavor siblings and Screenslaver, we also get a new array of superheroes that play supporting roles in Incredibles 2. They are the Wannabe heroes and include Voyd who can make portals or voids, Brick who is super strong, Krushauer who can crush things telekinetically, Screech who uses sound to attack, He-Lecrtix who controls electricity, and Reflux, a senior citizen who can spew lava from his mouth.
The Wannabes are often seen at events to help drum up publicity to push for new legislation to legalize superheroes. The heroes play a larger role in the third act of the film, but no spoilers.
While Underminder is the first villain we see in the film, his screen time is short-lived. It’s all about Screenslaver. As Elastigirl chases this villain down, we learn about the motives behind the attacks. As a supervillain, Screenslaver doesn’t really stand out from the other iconic villains we’ve been introduced to over the years.
Once Screenslaver’s identity is revealed, however, the motives and strategies are elevated and it makes the conflict more interesting. If you pay attention to the film, it’s not really a surprise who the real villain is, but it’s still entertaining to watch.
In the first Incredibles, we were teased with what the baby’s superpowers are. In Incredibles 2, we discover just how many powers he has, that he has no control over them and that it makes for great comedic moments. Especially with Bob being a new stay-at-home-dad, there are many hilarious interactions that both parents and non-parents will enjoy.
Raising a child who can teleport to other dimensions, shoot lasers from his eyes, and light up like a fireball is as challenging as you’d expect. There’s a scene between Jack-Jack and a raccoon that is both ridiculous and absolutely entertaining. You won’t want to miss it.
Pixar has been known to push the envelope when it comes to their animated movies. When Incredibles came out 14 years ago, animating wet hair was a challenge. Now it’s done regularly and done well. While the style of the sequel matches the original, improvements can definitely be noticed in the details.
There’s a particular scene where Hellen and Bob are talking at the dinner table and her nostrils flare up. So much is communicated in that small detail and it’s animated beautifully. Watch the way the people move, their gestures and facial expressions. The movement is more natural and the scenes and special effects look fantastic.
Themes of Incredibles 2
There are several themes taking place during this movie. The first and foremost is family. Yes, they’re superheroes, but they’re a family first. The role reversal of the parents, compared to the first film, gives a nice story arch to both Hellen and Bob. Hellen as Elastigirl now has room to stretch her legs, pun intended. Bob becomes more involved in his kids’ lives.
There are different ways to be heroes. Of course, the ladies take center stage in Incredibles 2. Both Elastigirl and Evelyn Deavor have great moments on screen and the introduction of a female ambassador reinforces the power women have to make changes.
As the goal of Elastigirl’s efforts is to legalize superheroes, there are many messages driving that effort. The more good Elastigirl does, the more the community and the world participate in the effort. There’s also a commentary on the use of technology. For example, cameras are embedded into the superhero suits to show the public what good things the heroes are actually doing. On the other hand, it’s through technology and screens that Screenslaver is able to control his victims.
The villain makes the argument that instead of taking control of their own lives, people would rather have someone else do it for them. In a speech, he mentions that people want to watch game shows instead of actually playing games. Consider the role online videos play in our lives. How often do you watch other people’s adventures instead of having your own? It’s a theme that could have been fleshed out more and would have been really interesting to explore in more detail.
Overall the film is energetic, funny, intelligent, and entertaining. After so long it’s nice to see Parr family, Frozone, and Edna back in action. It’s as if we never left them. While it does have its predictable moments, Incredibles 2delivers on emotion, action, and heart.