Action Adventure

Review: ‘Incredibles 2’ Lives Up to Its Title, and Then Some

June 11, 2018Ben MK

Oftentimes, sequels fail to live up to the hype. And when fans have had 14 years to build up their own expectations of what your followup should be, the chances of that happening increase exponentially. Not so with Incredibles 2, however, as Disney/Pixar's long-awaited sequel to its beloved 2004 animated adventure is everything fans could have hoped for, and then some.

Picking up immediately after the events of the original, Incredibles 2 finds everyone's favorite superhero family facing a mysterious new villain who goes by the name Screenslaver, as well as new challenges that will test their resolve as a family unit. Superheroes — or "Supers" — are still outlawed, and as the opening showdown that pits Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, aka Bob and Helen Parr (Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter), and their kids, Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Dash (Huck Milner), against the Underminer (John Ratzenberger) shows, the authorities aren't too fond of the collateral damage caused when Supers try to restore law and order to their fair city.

Enter Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), a forward-thinking business mogul who wants to help remedy that situation. His plan? To recruit Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and their friend Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) to fight crime and generate some positive PR for themselves and their fellow heroes in the process. Working alongside his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener), a tech wiz who's developed nifty new costumes and some cutting-edge, new gadgets for our heroes to bring with them into battle, Winston believes that public opinion about Supers could be swayed in their favor, if only the public were to see things from the Supers' point of view.

Tensions rise in the Parr household, however, when Winston decides to have Bob sit out the first mission, giving it to the more PR-friendly Helen instead. So while Helen is out stopping runaway trains and trying to thwart a villain who can brainwash everyday citizens into doing his dirty work, Bob is at home trying to keep their family together, which includes trying to right things with Violet, who's none too happy that her dad had the memory of her school crush wiped when he discovered her superhero alter ego, and trying to figure out what to do about Jack-Jack, after he learns that the youngest member of the Parr family has a whole arsenal of super powers of his own.

Returning as writer and director, Brad Bird reminds us why he's considered to be one of the most gifted storytellers in Hollywood. Sure, he may have taken a break from making such animated films as The Iron Giant and Ratatouille to helm the fourth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise, but Bird hasn't forgotten that no matter what type of movie you're making, story always takes precedence. Incredibles 2 may be a glossy superhero adventure, but like its predecessor, it's first and foremost about family, and Bird communicates that notion wonderfully throughout the film, doing so in ways that neither feel clichéd nor heavy-handed.

Of course, that's not to say that this sequel doesn't benefit from Bird's forays into live-action filmmaking. On the contrary, watching Incredibles 2 is like watching the best of both worlds. This is a movie that marries the unbridled creative potential of working in the animation genre with the sensibilities of a live-action spectacle. And with results that are just as thrilling as they are charming, it will leave fans of all ages both breathless and delighted.

Incredibles 2 releases June 15th, 2018 from Walt Disney Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG for action sequences and some brief mild language. Its runtime is 1 hr. 58 min.

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