It is hard to believe it was 14 years ago when the first and until now only The Incredibles hit theaters, made more than $630 million worldwide and won an Oscar as Best Animated Feature. Certainly a concept and success like this 2004 juggernaut would warrant a sequel, but it has taken all this time for original writer-director Brad Bird to actually make it happen for Disney/Pixar. Fortunately, it is nice to say the results indicate the wait was well worth it, even if we have had 14 years of nonstop superhero movies in the meantime.
But this animated gem is like no other, and unlike most sequels, because literally no time has passed as we pick up Mr. Incredible (aka Bob Parr), Elastigirl (aka Helen Parr), Violet, Dash, and Baby Jack Jack exactly where the first one left off. It works nicely — it is almost as they have been frozen in time and thawed out just now to become a certain 2018 blockbuster. Rather than going off the reservation, Bird wisely keeps the wit, style and flavor that worked the first time while still making us happy to spend more time with this special ‘toon family, and in a bid to the times makes a strong case for female empowerment as part of the messaging.
As I say in my video review above, the movie appropriately opens much the same way a James Bond flick would, with a kickass action sequence as Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) go to work to stop the complete havoc the Underminer (John Ratzenberger) has been wreaking in the city, tearing it up piece by piece. Our Supers, as they are known, do their duty in this instance, but officials are displeased by the complete mess they helped cause in the process and decide this kind of derring-do just isn’t worth it. Thus, superheroes, including this talented family, are permanently banned, with the Parr family banished for a couple of weeks to the Safari Motel to work out the rest of their lives it seems.
Soon Elastigirl gets a call back to action to face an even bigger threat, a new and extremely elusive villain known as Screenslaver. She is enlisted by wealthy tech businessman Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), with the help of his tech-savvy sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener), to try and defeat him. Screenslaver’s modus operandi is using a computer screen that hypnotizes and controls minds of anyone who looks at it. It is a devious bid for all-reaching power and almost impossible to track. This all leads to Elastigirl stretching her powers to the limits, whether against trains or boats and other things she seemingly can handle with aplomb.
Meanwhile, as this piece of girl power and skill takes place on the outside, Mr. Incredible is left to tend to matters at home as a house husband taking care of their three kids who all have their own issues, particularly scene stealer Baby Jack Jack whose own budding superpowers hilariously turn up in unexpected ways. Bird’s sequel doesn’t reinvent the wheel but artfully zigzags back and forth between the heavy superhero stuff and the new domestic challenges for Dad (by the way, making this movie the perfect one to release on Father’s Day weekend).
Returning from the first film are fan favorite and fashion maven Edna Mode (voiced by Bird), who if you ask me is something like Edith Head on steroids, and Frozone aka Lucius Best, again voiced by Samuel L. Jackson. Voyd, a new character who has Super ambitions of her own, is delightfully voiced by Sophia Bush, and the voice cast also includes Jonathan Banks as Rick Dicker and Isabella Rossellini as a reassuring presence in the proceedings. Of course Nelson and Hunter hit the bull’s-eye again in roles they made famous all those years ago. The kids are all ably voiced as well with Sarah Vowell as teen girl Violet, Huck Milner as 10-year-old Dash, and Eli Fucile handling Baby Jack Jack.
Those who loved The Incredibles will find their return to theaters (beginning tonight in previews and Friday everywhere) a very incredibly entertaining thing indeed. Producers are Nicole Paradis Grindle and John Walker. Michael Giacchino’s music remains a big plus.
Do you plan to see Incredibles 2? Let us know what you think.