Review: The Incredibles 2

June 24, 2018
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Fourteen years is a pretty long time.  2004 is when the original Incredibles came out and it was only Pixar’s sixth film.  That was when George W. Bush was President, gas was only $1.73 (and we freaked out about that), and ABC’s Lost hadn’t pissed anyone off yet.  That was when The Incredibles created a children’s film that we hadn’t really seen before.  It was groundbreaking yet familiar and covered subject material that had never been addressed in media for kids before.  Was it risky making a sequel in 2018 when the original seemed so far removed from our memories?  Totally.  Well, leave it to Pixar to take the risk and have it pay off in spades because The Incredibles 2 is incredible.

The magic of animation means you can get the original cast to come back 14 years later and have it look and sound like nothing was ever missed.  Incredibles 2 picks up right where the last one left off, which if you don’t remember was our family of superheroes seeing a new villain called The Underminer unearth himself and then they leap into action.  We finally get to see that action which is satisfying even if that storyline goes absolutely nowhere.  Only in animation though could you get away with something like that and have it work out flawlessly; although Craig T. Nelson, who plays Mr. Incredible, does sound older than he did in ’04.

The storyline for the sequel involves a new villain called The Screenslaver, who is far more terrifying than Syndrome was in the first one.  And although there is the surface story of thwarting the Screenslaver’s evil plot there is also a more mature one as well.  Just like in the first one where we had a subplot about middle-aged depression, marital conflicts, nostalgia, and parenting anxiety, we now have one about masculine redefinition, gender roles in a marriage, and resentment being addressed.  Pixar once again does a masterful job of making two movies at the same time; one for the kids, one for the parents.

Despite some sloppy dialogue and poor performances in some scenes where exposition is needed, the movie is pretty flawless.  The same spectacular production design is used which features a retro 1960s look despite taking place in modern times (retro-futuristic) and the snappy, award-winning score by Michael Giacchino is back as well.  Besides Nelson turning in a performance that’s funnier than the last time, Holly Hunter knocks it out of the park.  It’s also great to see a bigger part for Samuel L. Jackson this time around.  I only wish that Bob Odenkirk (AMC’s Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad) and Catherine Keener (Get Out, 40-Year-Old Virgin) had more to do and better scenes to perform in as they feel slightly wasted.

I know there are people out there, like my wife, who don’t get The Incredibles franchise.  They don’t see the appeal, they don’t see the genius, and they rank them toward the bottom of Pixar’s films.  Obviously, Incredibles 2 wasn’t made for them.  This was made for the fans of the first one who never gave up hope that a sequel would be written and cerebrate its return.  This was made for them and it doesn’t disappoint.