By Jonathan Reed
It ended with the emergence of the Underminer, a villain who threatened the peace and happiness of mankind, and after fourteen years our time, but mere seconds in Pixar time, the Incredibles are back and more brilliant than ever.
It’s fair to say that Pixar could be criticized for making numerous sequels that weren’t necessarily needed, from Cars 2 and 3 to Finding Dory but with The Incredibles 2, it was a complete thrill to see our favourite superhero family back on the big screen.
The movie picks up right where the first finished, with the battle against the Underminer, voiced by Pixar’s ‘good-luck’ charm, John Ratzenberger. The fight tramples the city and the mole-like villain escapes leaving the Incredible/Parr family once again outcasts from society and rehoused in a rundown motel.
Help emerges in the form of Winston Deavor, who along with his sister Evelyn try to bring superheroes back into the good-books of the public and Politicians. Their plan is to set up numerous PR exercises and fit each superhero with a hidden camera to capture their heroic work. Elastigirl, AKA Helen Parr is picked as the best choice and sets off on numerous missions to change public perception.
Her plans are scuppered however by the arrival of a strange villain, ‘The Screen Slaver’, a creepy masked character who, by using strobe lighting through TV screens can brainwash anyone to do their bidding. This leads Helen on a chase to uncover the masked villain and put an end to his crimes.
Whilst Elastigirl is away fighting crime, this time around, it is down to Mr Incredible/Bob Parr to stay at home and watch the kids. This leads to hilarious consequences, especially involving the star of the movie, Jack-Jack, the youngest Parr who showcases his many powers throughout the movie.
The Incredibles was a phenomenal hit due to its seamless combination of super and human. Taking the tried and tested formula of a generic superhero movie and tipping it on its axis by placing it into a family setting was genius, with Pixar and Disney reaping the benefits. The movie has made over $633 million worldwide.
The sequel plays with the similar setting but adds a new realm to the superhero blockbuster franchise, women empowerment. It is hard not to acknowledge the fact that Elastigirl is the main protagonist in The Incredibles 2 and shows Helen Parr as a woman and mother forging her own path. What Pixar and director, Brad Bird do effortlessly here is not force it down our throats. The feminist take of Helen voiced by Holly Hunter, naturally develops throughout the movie.
Another theme that is highlighted is teenage angst, displayed in the form of Violet, the Parrs daughter, who is constantly embarrassed by her parent’s activities. One scene, in particular at a diner is laugh-out-loud funny, showcasing Birds expertise in converging humanity with comedy.
Along with Dash, Frozone and fan favourite Edna Mode, the feisty cut-throat fashion designer who is back on form, they all round off an hilarious cast of characters that never feel as though they are outdoing each other.
There is one though, who like I mentioned earlier, steals the show. Jack-Jack, the infant Parr whose character receives much more screen-time than the first time around takes the top spot. With each reveal of his plethora of powers, from multiplying to growing into giant proportions, he is the character you can’t help but adore. His fight with a Racoon is brilliantly choreographed and, for me was the stand out moment of the whole movie.
With all sequels from a popular franchise the expectation is greater with each one and due to the enormous success of The Incredibles, both critically and financially, The Incredibles 2 had a mountain of expectation the size of Everest to live up to. Within the first five minutes you breathe a sigh of relief knowing that it does. The Incredibles 2 doesn’t just pay homage and capitalise on the effective formula of its predecessor, it adds more to the pot. It stirs up what has been done before and strives to create something fresh and new. The addition of Elastigirl taking centre stage and seeing Mr Incredible struggle with fatherhood show a changing face in the storytelling within animation.
Pixar have never been frightened to change things up and have always seemed relevant to the times and like Coco last year, The Incredibles 2 highlights this. It is, in part the reason behind this studio’s never-ending success story.
The Incredibles 2 will entertain both young and old with enough for everyone to enjoy. Its characters are well rounded, its plot solid and gags, though fall thick and fast never miss their mark. Success and box-office dominance are most certainly guaranteed. The Incredibles 2 will make you believe in superhero movies again and unlike live action additions of the genre will leave you excited, not dreading the next one. Let’s just hope Disney and Pixar don’t leave us waiting another fourteen years.