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Incredibles 2 – Movie Review

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Incredibles 2 – Movie Review

Rating: A (Fantastic)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Walt Disney Studios

With The Incredibles, Brad Bird created a zippy story of superheroes who can’t help but use their powers for good, even though society has told them not to. Taking place immediately after the events of its predecessor, Incredibles 2 works marvelously in continuing the story of the Parrs and their attempted return to superhero work. Combined, the two films work as one almost four hour saga of family conflict mixed in with amazing action sequences and a strong theme about not hiding your extraordinary abilities. It is the layers and family dynamic on-screen that allow the Incredibles films to stand above other superhero movies and they serve as unique entries in this ever expanding and growing sub-genre.

Rather than merely repeating the first film, Incredibles 2 switches things up a bit by having Elastigirl be the central hero. This is not a case of role reversal, but rather a way for the stretching heroine to get some extra focus after the first film was mostly about Mr. Incredible’s mid-life crisis. Bird doesn’t just rely on expected “father at home” jokes and instead uses this to play around with the personalities and find new ways for them to grow. The newfound knowledge of baby Jack-Jack’s powers especially allow for some fun sequences and his various abilities are applied to the proper parts of the story. Violet’s boy troubles could have followed the clichéd routes, but Bird uses her subplot to expand her character and makes it one of a number of lessons for Mr. Incredible.

Bird’s work has always been thematically consistent in his plea that brilliant people not be forced to conform to society’s norms and expectations. That continues here with a political subtext about the legality often imposed on those seen as different and not worthy of the same rights as others. There is also a sly commentary on the power of marketing as Elastigirl sees herself become the current face of superheroes. Those who enjoyed costume designer Edna Mode’s presence in the first film will be happy to see her return and Bird delights in providing her voice. However, the call-backs are kept to a minimum as the ever excitable director seems more intent on presenting new ideas.

While the new villain isn’t quite as memorable as Syndrome in The Incredibles, the hypnotic Screenslaver provides the proper stakes for our heroes to overcome. Bird creates some sensational set-pieces, taking full advantage of the Incredibles’ and the chilly Frozone’s powers. The opening action sequence, showing the long-awaited climax to their battle against the Underminer, features a wonderful display of choreography. Elastigirl’s animators especially deserve to be commended with how they showcase her rubbery limbs. Jack-Jack ends up being the scene stealer, though, as even background shots provide chuckles. Michael Giacchino’s jazzy score and Ralph Eggleston’s 1960s-influenced art décor add a further flavour to Incredibles 2 that sets it apart. These are films so unashamed of being old-school, even as the latest computer technologies have been used to bring them to life.

Aside from the amazing leap in computer graphics over the past 14 years, it doesn’t even feel like the Incredibles have left us for that long. The spirit and thematic qualities that characterized the first film are still here in the sequel. Brad Bird and the wonderfully talented team of artists at Pixar Animation Studios have crafted a worthy entertainment with the proper thrills and character moments that make The Incredibles such a stand-out series in their catalogue. The wait for another adventure with this super-powered family has been worth it and not just because of Bird making other brilliant films like Ratatouille and Tomorrowland in-between.

 

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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