Out of all of Pixar’s films, The Incredibles had the most franchise potential and fans have been demanding a sequel for years. Yet it took 14-years for Pixar and writer/director Brad Bird to deliver.
Incredibles 2 picks up where the original film left off: the city of Metroville being attacked by the Underminer (John Ratzenberger) and the Parr family suiting up to stop him. After a destructive battle the Parrs are forced into hiding once again.
The Parrs are given a glimmer of hope to continue their superhero duties when a telecoms tycoon, Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), when he says he wants to revoke the law banning supers and plans to launch a PR campaign, getting Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) to head it, forcing Bob/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) to become a house-husband.
The original Incredibles film was well, incredible, and the sequel had a lot to live up. Incredibles 2 was not quite what I expected from a sequel but I still entertained by the film. As expected from a Pixar film the animation is second-to-none and had a great mix of physical and verbal humour. It can stand with its superhero contemporaries and because of the animation median the film can do action sequences that live-action films can’t and there was a great amount of fun when different superpowers were used against each other.
The Incredibles was a revisionist take on the superhero genre, made even more remarkable because it came out near the start of the noughties superhero boom. Since the original film’s release there has been The Dark Knight Trilogy, Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the DCEU.
Incredibles 2 uses this new material. The film starts with plenty of property damage which has massive consequences for the Parr family, similar to what happened at the beginning of the first film. When Helen is recruited to become Elastigirl again it’s because she causes the least amount of destruction and she is mandated to cause as little property damage as possible.
It is a dig against other films in the genre like The Avengers, Man of Steel and the Transformers series were buildings are destroyed and hundreds, if not thousands of people would have been killed or injured.
Incredibles 2 also has a dig at DC films when Elastigirl is given her new costume. She states she’s not dark and gritty, an approach DC have taken with their films.
Another aspect of Incredibles 2 is it plays like a reverse Watchmen and Captain America: Civil War. In those films superheroes are outlawed during the story or on the verge of being regulated. In Incredibles 2 superheroes are already outlawed and the campaign is to reverse the law because these are people trying to do good and the only people able to stop megalomaniacs and costumed villains.
The cynic in me would say writer/director Brad Bird is advocating objectivism – that extraordinary people are the ones that drive society and government needs to get out their way. Bird’s previous film, Tomorrowland, borrowed ideas from Ayn Rand‘s Atlas Shrugged and Incredibles 2 is projecting an idea that some people find questionable. However, Incredibles 2 is so entertaining that most can overlook the philosophy.
Incredibles 2 also explores the idea that Elastigirl becoming an inspiration for a new generation of heroes with a particular focus on Sophia Bush‘s Voyd. Voyd is inspired because of Elastigirl is a woman but she also says that Elastigirl gave her the courage to reveal herself like she was coming out.
Besides the superheroics Incredibles 2 is a domestic drama. Bob and Helen basically swap roles from the first film, Helen gets to relive old glories and Bob has to take care of the house and the kids. This role reversal has the added element of gender because Bob has near chauvinistic views. The pseudo-’60s setting adds to this. But Bob does learn how to be a good caregiver especially when he faces the challenge of having a superpowered baby.
The villain of the piece, Screenslaver, had a cool design – a black-clan slender figure wearing a mask and had a distorted voice. It was quite eerie and when Elastigirl has to fight them she has to get down and dirty. However, I was not surprised when Screenslaver’s real identity was revealed.
Incredibles 2 does not have the emotional depth of some of Pixar’s other films yet it is still a highly entertaining film that should please fans of the first film. Bird has created a rich and fascinating world and Pixar could use The Incredibles franchises as a cash cow to fund more films like Inside Out and Coco.
As pre-usual with a Pixar film there was a short film: this time the Chinese-American themes Bao – the first Pixar short to be directed by a woman, Domee Shi. It was a sweet little story about an aging Chinese woman whose dumpling comes to live and raises it like a child.