With the exception of Cars 2 and Cars 3, i’ve loved every Pixar movie and for over three decades, their body of work is truly impressive. From the classic Toy Story to the heartfelt Coco, Pixar’s films stand shoulder to shoulder with the classics of an ever expanding Disney canon.
If I had to pick a favorite Pixar movie, without a doubt, The Incredibles would top the list. Released in 2004, writer/director Brad Bird’s homage to the superhero genre was an instant classic that connected with both kids and adults alike. With it’s multi layered humor, Bird showed how tension between job and family could affect spousal relationships in good ways and bad ways. In fact, I believe The Incredibles was the first successful superhero movie that represented the strain of heroism and it’s impact on everyday life.
So, after a fourteen year wait does the sequel stand up to it’s predecessor? Absolutely! Employing the same formula that made the original work so well, writer/director Brad Bird has brought back the entire team of voice talent. Returning are: Craig T. Nelson (Mr. Incredible), Holly Hunter (Elastigirl), Sarah Vowell (Violet), Huck Milner (Dash) and Samuel L. Jackson (Frozone).
The Incredibles 2 picks up near the ending of the first film where we see the Parr family balancing life as superheroes and everyday citizens. Within ten minutes of the movie’s start, the first action sequence takes center stage. Making a return is the pesky mole-like villain named Underminer (Jon Ratzenberger) who by now only serves as a villain appetizer before our main malefactor course.
After failing to stop the Underminer from robbing a bank, the Incredibles actions have left the city in ruin. As a result of their costly battle, the government institutes a law that all superheroes are now illegal and will no longer be supported. Homeless and out of a job, the Parr family are again forced back into civilian life. Or are they?
On the eve of the the superhero mandate, the couple are offered spy work at a large tech company run by CEO Wintson Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his brilliant sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener). As a lifelong fan of the Incredibles, Winston wishes to turn public support to the side of heroes by equipping them with bodycams to protect their credibility. Gee that sounds vaguely familiar!
To appease the negative public perception of superhero’s, Winston decides to offer the first job to Helen (Elastigirl). This of course crushes Bob’s manly ego, which induces plenty of funny moments. Swallowing his pride, Bob offers his support for Helen and agrees to be a stay-at-home dad. Of course, he thinks it’ll be easy which is the antithesis of Mr. Incredible. In fact, every scene involving Bob and their infant son Jack-Jack brought joy and laughter and only left me wanting more.
Throughout the second half of the film, the parallels between Bob and Helen growing comfortable in their new roles is quite entertaining. As Bob finds new confidence as a father, Helen (Elastigirl) remembers that she really is a bad ass and can handle any ruffian on her own.
Using Elastigirl as the center piece for The Incredibles 2 is brilliant and provides a new narrative from a stale, male-dominated hero genre.
The Incredibles 2 is bursting with wonderful art design that made the first one so amazing. With it’s modish set pieces and futuristic color schemes, this is a gorgeous film any animation fan would love. If you’re a fan of Pixar and the superhero genre in general, check this film out, it’s a super good time!
Rating: 4.5 stars
In “Incredibles 2,” Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is called on to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell), Dash (voice of Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack—whose super powers are about to be discovered. Their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don’t shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) by their side. That’s what makes this family so Incredible.
Voice Cast: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Samuel L. Jackson, Brad Bird, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Jonathan Banks, Sophia Bush, Isabella Rossellini
Written and Directed by: Brad Bird