The wait was worth it for ‘Incredibles 2’

June 23, 2018

The Incredibles are back! After 14 years of fans anxiously awaiting a follow up for Pixar’s favorite family, both adults and children alike were finally granted a continuation of “The Incredibles” with “Incredibles 2” debuting on June 15. The film has dominated the box in its short run, grossing approximately $231 million worldwide, making it the biggest opening of all time for an animated film. The sequel has delighted fans of the original film, as well as critics, currently boasting an impressive 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. While all of the buzz surrounding the film appears to be positive, one has to wonder, as is the case with any sequel of a beloved story: does it live up to the hype?

To start, the film has a lot going for it. Brad Bird is back in the director’s chair for this flick, and a great deal of effort was made to make this story fit into the same universe as the first film 14 years before it. Much of the previous voice cast have returned for the sequel, including Craig T. Nelson as Mr. Incredible, Holly Hunter as Elastigirl, Samuel L. Jackson as Frozone, Sarah Vowell as Violet, and Bird himself as the iconic Edna Mode, and they all hit it out of the park. Each actor brings a familiar quality to the characters, but add different dimensions to their performances to differentiate them from the previous film.

The film is full of outstanding animation, with the characters and settings looking far more present and lifelike when compared to the 2004 original. The action is some of the best Pixar has ever crafted, with every high-speed chase, helicopter escape and superhero brawl exhilarating the audience and crafting genuine suspense, an impressive feat for what is meant to be a children’s movie. The beautiful look of the film is only enhanced by a killer score by composer Michael Giacchino, with the big-band jazz compositions adding to the retro feel of the story.

In addition to the aesthetics of the film, the story works wonderfully, with the film finding a near- perfect balance of humor, action and suspense. The choice to switch the film’s protagonist from Mr. Incredible to Elastigirl is a smart move in many regards, with both characters being pushed out of the comfort zone for the betterment of their family and superheroes at large. More attention is given to the Parr children, in particular Violet and Jack-Jack, with the former’s bionic teen angst and the latter’s demonic fits over cookies and brawls with raccoons scoring major laughs with the audience. The pairing of Edna Mode and Jack-Jack serves as one of the most iconic team-ups of the year, including any of the teams from “Infinity War.”

With all that said, the film has its flaws. While the introduction of new characters is often a death sentence for a beloved franchise, media tycoons Winston and Evelyn Deavor, played by Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener, serve as welcome additions to the plot, with both actors giving great performances. However, once Keener’s Evelyn Deavor is revealed to be the mastermind behind the antagonistic Screensaver, minor plot holes begin to form regarding how she could pull off her crimes in plain sight. While her motivations are clear and understandable, the mechanics of er operation seem slightly flawed. Later in the film, Deavor is shown controlling her minions by using screen-controlled goggles and speaking into a microphone. However, earlier in the film, Deavor is shown watching The Screenslaver’s plans unfold without uttering any commands to her henchmen.

Additionally, fan favorite Dash is relegated to a lesser role, especially when compared to siblings Violet and Jack-Jack. While the rest of his family is given significant arcs and development, Dash is relegated to quick one-liners and a general mischievous attitude. This stands in great contrast with his arc in the first film, where he is portrayed as struggling with having to hide his extraordinary abilities reconciling with the fact that he must limit himself when he knows he is capable of much more. While he still is great fun to watch and voice actor Huck Milner does a great job as a replacement for original actor Spencer Fox, there is still something left to be desired with Dash.

Despite the minor flaws with the villain and character development, “Incredibles 2” is well worth the 14-year wait. The animation is outstanding, the score superb, and the characters are as loveable and interesting as ever. While “Incredibles 2” could have easily been a cheap cash grab on one of Pixar’s most beloved stories, the film is full of effort and love for the fans who demanded the story be told in the first place. If you’re looking to reactivate childhood nostalgia, see an outstanding superhero movie, or watch the best family film of the year, “Incredibles 2” is the movie for you.

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