I was only four years old in the summer of 2004. Which made me the perfect age to watch and enjoy The Incredibles. I loved the comedy, the heroes, the villains. I believe it is where my love of superheroes came from. At the time I didn’t realise I was also appreciating the look of the movie, the script and its score. It quickly became one of my favourite movies, where it remains to this day. So, when somebody would say the word “sequel” in context of The Incredibles, I would get my hopes up. Fourteen years later, Pixar and co bring these characters back and it is safe to say I was a little bit happy.
Brad Bird (MI4: Ghost Protocol) returns to direct the sequel in which picks up directly where the last took place. The Underminer is destroying the city and the family of supers team up to stop them. After this opening set piece, the supers are arrested as their kind is still illegal. Frozone (Samuel L Jackson), Bob/Mr Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Helen/Elasti-Girl (Holly Hunter) are approached by a new character and business tycoon, Winston Deavor, played by Bob Odenkirk. He wants to bring supers back into the mainstream and lift the ban that was set.
From there on the film follows a similar set up to the first one with one of the key differences that the roles have been reversed. Elasti-girl was considered the best super to make a good impression on the public, so she takes on Bob’s role from the first one. It is fun to see her finally get the spotlight fully on her for much of the movie. She’s badass and she loves it, screaming when excitement whenever she calls home.
You cannot deny that The Incredibles nails the look and feel that it is going for. Over the top, Saturday morning cartoon about superheroes, something that they refer to throughout this movie and the last one. The 50s/60s aesthetic to the world makes it fun and vibrant, something I desperately wanted to explore and something I think I got in the sequel Elasti-girl swings through the city that looks vibrant and large. The animation alone shows us just how far we have come since 2004 and the quality will only get better. This is helped along by Michael Giachino returning to score the film with its signature jazzy flavour. It’s a perfect side dish for a brilliant visual style and once again proves that he is one of the best blockbuster composers working today.
While Elasti-girl is out saving the world, it leaves Bob to deal with the kids. Dash (Huck Milner) is having trouble with his math, Violet (Sarah Vowell) is being an angsty teen with a whole lot of boy trouble, He himself has to deal with his wife getting to do the one thing he loves to do, which is also the one thing he isn’t allowed to do. This provides a lot of the drama to these scenes and are brilliantly voice acted by Nelson. Then we come to Jack-Jack, who is in the process of getting his powers which include but are not limited to; dimension jumping, multiplying and combustion. This part of the movie has some of the funniest slapstick, the cleverest jokes and easily the most heartfelt moments. Jack Jack being the funniest of the lot of them. There is a scene involving a Racoon which may be the funniest thing you’ll see at the cinema this year.
The balance between the two main storylines is something that the movie does well. You never outstay your welcome with either and move on in time to remember what is happening where. Due to its excellent pacing and lack of unnecessary parts to the movie. Its light but still manages to breeze to the two-hour mark and not make the children restless or bored, something I can personally vouch for as all children at this Family Gala showing was behaved and engrossed in the movie.
Just like the rest of the movie the main villain, Screenslaver, is slightly over the top and fits the world really well. Mainly appearing in sections with Elasi-girl, he wants to control people via screens. This involves hardcore epileptic light sequences which have been causing trouble in America where the movie has already been released. They are intense and did require me to look away even though I’m not usually sensitive to lights like that. Screenslaver keeps a secret identity for much of the movie which can be a bit of a downfall as we don’t learn a lot about them. When comparing them to Syndrome from the first one they are a little weak in motive for wanting to bring down the whole of humanity.
Screenslaver is not the only new character. I have already mentioned Bob Odenkirk’s character, Winston Deavor, but there is also Evelyn played by Catherine Keener. She is Winson’s sister and invents Elasti-girls new suit and gadgets, much to the disgust of Edna Mode (Brad Bird). There are also a group of new and funny superheroes, that felt inspired by The Incredibles to come out of hiding and do what was right.
Incredibles 2 gets so much right and not a lot wrong. Once again, nailing its tone and look. Props to a magnificent voice cast and an amazing score. Let down slightly by its villain, Incredibles 2 is more super fun and a sequel which manages to live up to the high expectations that I had for it. It is pretty…. Super.
This review was written for and originally appeared on SetTheTape.com as part of my EIFF 2018 coverage