It’s been a whole 14 years since with we first met The Incredibles, and the Parr family are finally back with a new adventure. Don’t worry if you can’t remember much from the first – Incredibles 2 that takes place right where we left off in the first movie. It’s an epic battled against the Underminer (“I’m always beneath you, but nothing is beneath me!” is still a very good line), and without wasting any time, we’re right back in the thick of it.
Which means we see Mr Incredible (voiced by Craig T Nelson) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), together with their children Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Dash (Huck Milner, replacing Spencer Fox), teaming up to take down the Underminer. Things don’t go too well, and the destruction caused as they tried to save the day causes supers to be outlawed. The Parr family is driven into hiding, but rich fanboy Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his inventor sister Evelyn Deavor (Catherine Keener) devise a plan to make supers legal again.
The Deavors get Parr family friend Frozone (Samuel L Jackson) to convince the Parrs to sign up to the plan. Bad experiences with fanboys in the first film be damned, Frozone succeeds in getting them to sign up, almost like it was some … “initiative”. The Deavors start off with a soft touch, aiming to change public opinion by focusing on the heroism of Elastigal, and it works, until the villainous Screenslaver appears to ruin everything. And with Elastigal out at work, Mr Incredible has to stay home to take care of the kids.
INVENTIVE FIGHTS AND WITTY WORDPLAY
Incredibles 2 continues in the vein of the original, with extremely inventive fights, especially with a new group of heroes with new powers that interact in visually delightful ways. There’s also some of the clever wordplay, especially with the villain’s name, though it must be said The Underminer remains a personal favourite. And it looks fantastic too, the 60’s-era style and wonderful CG making the show a joy to behold.
The ever-evolving baby Jack-Jack also brings the biggest laughs in the entire movie (raccoons are not having a good week), and Edna Mode (once again voiced by Brad Bird himself) is always a joy to behold. Overall, there’s a lot to enjoy throughout the movie, which despite its almost 2-hour long runtime, always manages to have something fun around the corner.
And even with its wonderfully ’60s trappings, Incredibles 2 works in many modern-day issues (or maybe many of these issues haven’t changed much at all), with returning writer-director Brad Bird doing a nice job of touching on how the media can be used to make or change laws. The movie makes a valiant effort to touch on many other issues – how society distrusts those who are different, whether you should follow laws which are unjust, working mothers, stay-at-home dads, bad politicians … it’s a bit of a jumble in there and some of them don’t quite get anywhere. It might be a superhero movie that kids can enjoy, but it might been easier to guide them with important life messages with a bit more clarity.
But, you know, it’s very cool to have the lead hero be Elastigirl.
A LITTLE LESS FRESH
The Incredibles were fresh 14 years ago, back when a Marvel or DC cinematic universe was but a geek’s fever dream. It showed just what a movie featuring a superhero family could be, even while Fox’s attempt at the Fantastic Four floundered just a few months later. Now, with phrases such as “superhero fatigue” bandied about by fans themselves, it’s not quite as simple for any superhero franchise to make a name for themselves.
Which means that even with all the inventiveness, Incredibles 2 has a lot to do to impress audiences. And that it doesn’t quite manage, but mostly because the original was just so good. But as mentioned, it’s still very enjoyable, even when this is the fourth superhero movie most people would be watching this year. And the kids will love it.
A 14-YEAR WAIT
Has it really been 14 years? Watch The Incredibles on Netflix now and it’s clear how much animation has improved over the past decade. Holly Hunter’s voice has also changed a little, and we now have a new voice actor for Dash. But yet the original is ageless in a way, and having the sequel take place right after is a wonderful touch. But that also means one can’t help to compare both movies. Still, the Pixar magic does its work, and you could easily rank this over many other lackluster stabs at a superhero movie.
The Incredibles might not be Disney’s biggest superhero franchise, but there’s definitely a space for them even amid the multiple Marvel movies we see each year. Incredibles 2 is incredible fun for the whole family, and while it’s not as fresh as the first movie was, there’s still much to enjoy.
Even if we’ve lost the “The” in the title.
Incredibles 2 opens in SIngapore cinemas 14 June.