Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) is left to care for the kids while Helen (Elastigirl) is out saving the world.
After the delights of ‘Coco’ earlier this year, Pixar have returned to an old favourite for their summer release in ‘Incredibles 2’. This is no mere cash in though, coming 14 years after the first ‘Incredibles’ film and reuniting director Brad Bird with his core cast, and it feels like a continuation if anything, not least because the action begins at the exact moment where the first film concluded. The lack of a time jump is slightly jarring at first but starts to make sense as the film diverges down two paths as Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) takes the lead on the action front, leaving Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) behind on parenting duties. This neat gender switch feels particularly timely given recent movements within Hollywood and from a storytelling perspective it works well as the best scenes are those with an increasingly exasperated Mr. Incredible struggling to cope in an unfamiliar setting.
I’m rarely one for ranking films in an order but if I was pushed to do one for Pixar’s output I’d have had ‘Incredibles’ nearer to the bottom than the top and I felt much the same about ‘Incredibles 2’. That’s not to say these are bad films and they’ve clearly connected with audiences and critics more than they have with me, but I’ve always felt (and a rewatch of ‘Incredibles’ before this reinforced my view) that these films lack some of the heart that make the finest Pixar films so great. The animation is splendid, the action terrific and the pastiche of superhero conventions feels more timely given the blow up of that genre since the first ‘Incredibles’ film but I’ve never connected with these films in the way others have. That being said, ‘Incredibles 2’ is a blast and if you enjoyed the first one you’ll have a lot of fun here. As previously mentioned, the parenting aspects with Mr. Incredible and little baby Jack-Jack in particular are the funniest in the film and you don’t need to be a parent yourself to recognise the beats these sequences go through. The primary plot is solid enough but less captivating, largely because it goes on too long and feels relatively predictable in how everything pans out, even as the filmmakers are clearly having a lot of fun putting together the entertaining action sequences.
‘Incredibles 2’ is a worthy sequel to the successful first film and it’ll satisfy audiences who loved the first, and despite some of my misgivings I did enjoy it overall!
Directed By: Brad Bird
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Eli Fucile, Samuel L. Jackson, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Brad Bird, Jonathan Banks and John Ratzenberger