The Incredibles is one of the best family films of all time. On the surface it was just a story about a family of superheroes taking down a villain, but as a whole the film was much more than that. It had a great story, was excellently animated and was actually more deep and far darker than most give it credit for; tackling big issues, involving family and subjugation. Add director Brad Bird at the top of his game, and you’ve got something, well, incredible. Now, fourteen years on, we finally have the sequel we’ve been asking for! I guess Pixar finally realised that sequels to Cars weren’t that important after all.
Set just as the first one left off, the Incredibles find themselves still restrained by the law – demanding that superheroes step aside and be just like everyone else. This is hard enough on the kids, who not only found a sense of meaning and fun in taking down bad guys, but who are told to never use their ever-growing powers. It’s worse for Bob and Helen Parr, aka Mr Incredible and Elastagirl – who have to be good and supportive parents, despite them hating the law. But when a business man promises to change all of that, they see hope once again. Helen is thrown into the field and faces a new enemy hidden in the shadows, while Bob must coup with the trials of being a stay-at-home father.
From the get go, Incredibles 2 is fighting an uphill battle. The hype around it, the time it has taken and the fact that it must follow up a much beloved classic does make this one feel little it was doomed from the start. Which is why I’m happy to say, while it’s not as good as the original, more on that in a bit, Incredibles 2 is a very worthy follow up. In terms of animation, it’s flawless. Pixar is constantly making spectacular animation. Even tripe like Cars and Monsters University at least looked amazing. Technology has improved this, so the animation is superior to the first one in every way.
Everything that you loved about the first one – barring one detail – is back and is just how you loved it all before. The characters are amazing, with the Incredibles themselves being some of the most lovable animated characters out there. They remind me a little of The Simpsons, back in the ‘90’s, and feel just as timeless. Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter and Samuel L Jackson and the rest do a great job with all their characters, both new and old. Brad Bird himself returns as the ever-loveable Edna Mode, giving us some of the films best scenes. It’s all well written, acted and directed with all characters. Well, almost all…
On top of it all, we get some spectacular action. There’s a bit involving a train that was jaw-dropping. The action and comedy are just as sharp, smart and bullseye hitting as each other. It’s not too often a joke fails to land in this film. Okay, there’s not really much in terms of gut busters here, but it’s still funny. Any moment involving Jack-Jack is definitely going to make the majority of people laugh. We even get those emotional, and even dark moments like in the first one, and those too are just as hard hitting as the silly, fun stuff. Particularly those involving Bob trying his hardest to raise a family, even though he’s more than struggling with it.
Where the film starts to fail is with it’s story. It never feels like it’s not an Incredibles film, but it does fall very short in comparison. An issue I have, and this is going to sound worse than it actually is, is that the film doesn’t seem to know exactly what it wants to be. Only when the film focuses on Helen or Jack-Jack does it feel like it’s come into its own. And when it does focus on them, it’s great. When it doesn’t, it’s still good, but feels lacking for it. We also have the issue that, as with the first one we have two stories playing out, Helen and Bob’s stories. But with the first one, it’s two stories that fed into each other, and helped move each other along. This just feels like two separate stories that just happen to come together at the end.
That is forgivable in the end. What isn’t is the films villain. This is a far-cry from Syndrome. This villain has no charisma, has a very muddled motivation, has a plot that makes no sense and is of no physical threat to the heroes. So, the opposite to Syndrome. They shouldn’t be compared, as they are two separate villains, but it’s just too hard not to. The last I will say on it is that this film did make me appreciate Syndrome more. Looking back on him, not only did he have all of the above going for him, but he was also ahead of his time. We didn’t think much about it at the time, but now the idea of manipulating people with media and politics and then selling out once you’ve got what you wanted is something that we’ve all come to see from many sources now. It was also a good plot – bring back superheroes while you become the poster boy and then sell the tech once you retire – it’s delightfully devious. This villain is so dated. The plot involved hypnotic screens and internet code – and something to do with bringing back superheroes so that they can put a stop to superheroes – it’s just confused.
I really, really enjoyed Incredibles 2. The villain is an unfortunate shame, and it is sadly standing in the towering shadow of this years earlier Coco. But it’s still more than worth the watch. I’m sure that if you have even an inkling to see it, then you already will have, or are soon going to. I highly recommend it. It’s a fun, often smart, funny and thrilling adventure for the whole family, and it’s still better than most of the superhero films of today. Dash down and go see it.
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