With the quality of most sequels that come out it’s no wonder that moviegoers get squirrely when a studio announces that a follow-up film is being made to some monster hit that audiences devoured. Not so with Pixar films. While I had felt some trepidation in the past, this computer animation studio has delivered with such an amazing track record that I generally go in filled with confidence that the little studio that could will find a way to once more deliver, and so it is with Incredibles 2.
It may have been many years since we saw how the first film ended, but this movie picks up pretty much right at the same spot, but not everything is as rosy as we may have been led to believe. The Parr family is still dealing with the fallout with their battle against Syndrome, and there are some interesting nuances that don’t go the way most people’s expectations would have. This leaves Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Helen Parr/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) trying to find way to make things work again in their favor. Enter millionaire entrepreneur Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) who basically makes Mr. Incredible feel more along the lines of Mr. Mundane, all while presenting our little group of superheroes a bright, new beautiful tomorrow by putting the spotlight on Elastigirl.
This is where the movie’s super villain comes in, and this one is no pushover by any stretch of the imagination. Can only one superhero manage this menacing threat? Will it take the combined strength and abilities of Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl? Or will it take the combined might of the entire Parr family, and Bob’s best friend Lucius Best/Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson)?
As I said before, this film is a continuation from the first The Incredibles. No reset button has been pressed between the first film and this sequel, and that is one of the great things about this movie. The Incredibles saw the entire Parr family, and most especially Bob/Mr. Incredible go through some serious growth, and not only has that growth stuck with him, but from that growth we also see him experience some new challenges that he’s never had to face before. And in keeping with the growth from the first film, not only do we see him express that he has this difficulty; he actually takes on the responsibility of dealing with it on his own. Do you know what I liked best about that? It had nothing to do with super powers or saving the world. It was entirely “domestic,” and that’s one of the beautiful things that Pixar does in their story telling. That aspect gave the movie enormous humanity making it very easy to relate to, especially for those that are parents.
Another great element deals with the children, Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Dash (Huck Milner). There is such honesty and truth in some of the things that these two young characters are going through that everything they express rings with honesty, leading me to believe that Brad Bird (writer/director) probably drew upon some personal experiences in his own life, and while that may truly seem mundane in a film like this, it’s what the kids go through in relation to how Bob is trying to be a good parent that helps to deliver some extraordinarily beautiful moments that are sure to bring a tear or two to some parents in the audience. However this is at its heart a superhero film, and the action quotient here is exceptional. The pacing of some of these sequences only shows how much work everyone at Pixar, from the story boarders, to the animators, to the director, and the editor, has to do in order to make Incredibles 2 this exciting! From smaller action set pieces that have the vibe of some older James Bond films, to the intense climax of this movie, it in no way disappoints with any thrill factor. When the climax came to a more than satisfying resolution I actually found myself to not be breathing, making it to be the ultimate “E-Ticket Ride!”
Lastly there is one element that Pixar movies are famous for, and that is humor. This film could have gone to the well one too many times with some of the jokes that worked so beautifully in the first movie, but Brad Bird clearly understands that in some cases “less is more,” because some of the jokes that were played out, given how sparingly they were used, came off with huge laughter from the audience. Even Bird’s alter-ego, the indomitable clothing/superhero uniform designer Edna Mode, is used just a couple of times in this movie, but to use her more than that would have taken away from her greatness. Instead what we saw was a hilarious character that may be minute in stature, but towers above all else in character and personality, making her scenes to be among the best in the film. However, there is the Parr infant named Jack-Jack. In the last film we were introduced to some of his powers and here we start to see them blossom. Luckily when storytellers and animators have a character that possesses Jack-Jack’s unique abilities it allows them to shoot for the stars with “incredible” gags, and they were plentiful and perfectly well played!
Incredibles 2 is another triumph for Pixar, and not just for the animation, but also for the story itself. The execution of characters and plot are perfectly balanced in this movie. It is rated PG for some well veiled “toilet humor” as well as some of the action sequences, but it’s also a fantastic movie that entire families can enjoy. As with most Disney films, there are things for the kids to latch on to, story bits for young adults to laugh at, and both thrilling and beautiful moments for older adults to enjoy! All I can say is that Incredibles 2 is simply INCREDIBLE!!!
Incredibles 2 receives 5 out of 5 cookies!!!
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