Its weird to think that 14 years ago Pixar made the best super hero movie with The Incredibles and still holds a top spot on that list now. It was a perfect mix of family movie, golden age super heroics, and postmodern style. I, and many others, called for a sequel that never came. But that has changed, and I’m excited to tell you about it!
Incredibles 2 picks up almost exactly where the last movie left off, with the appearance of The Underminer. We get to see the Parr family rush into action to save the day, unfortunately with some collateral damage. This leads to more trouble, but also new opportunity. A wealthy hero fanatic Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) sees it and reaches out to have Helen (Holly Hunter) be a hero again. His goal, with the help of his genius sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) is to pay for her to make heroes look good again so they can come back. While she does that Bob (Craig T. Nelson) has to stay at home to raise the kids, and learn to be a full time parent.
The movie really wears its heart on its sleeve. It makes its morals about doing good and being a good parent clear. Helen is empowered, breaking the gender norm of a male hero and inspiring millions. Bob has to learn to be a stay at home dad and how much work, and reward, that really entails. The way Brad Bird balances these stories and points without either feeling more important or hamfisted is terrific. He gives his characters time to grow and be challenged so that their growth feels real. Mix that with his great eye for action and pacing of the narrative and you have a winner. The only slight weakness might just be that some elements of the plot felt a little predictable. But that is part of the beast of super hero stories, as well as for in a narrative for all ages. Its not perfect, but it feels right.
Another big thing in Incredibles 2 is how well the old and the new cast continue to work. All of the animated characters really come to life. Hunter and Nelson really feel like a married couple in their scenes together, and are a natural pair. Sarah Vowell is back as Violet Parr, and gets more to do as Violet becomes more outspoken. Huck Milner has taken over as Dash Parr and keeps his energy and rambunctious nature that his predecessor brought. The return of Samuel L. Jackson as Frozone was a must, and he gets a few great scenes. Keener and Odenkirk bounce off each other well as siblings that work together, butt heads occasionally, but still get along. And of course Brad Bird returns as Edna Mode who is charmingly droll as ever.
While not perfect due to some predictability in the plot, Incredibles 2 is still the sequel we’ve wanted. The cast and performances are great. The action is super! The post modern style is still dynamic and fun. Its a great family movie, and it has enough story and jokes geared for the adults. I’m still giving it a 5 because it is definitely one of the best films this year.