Review: ‘The Incredibles 2’ (in Brad Bird we trust)

After fifteen years: still incredible.

Picking up at the end of the first film, the family leaps into action but are afterward nabbed by the police for breaking the law: acting like superheroes. With no house and no government intervention, hope arrives in the form of business tycoon Winston Deavor (voice of Bob Odenkirk) with a plan to get superheroes reinstated: micro body cams invented by Winston’s sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) to inform the public how heroes save lives and stop crime. They want Helen Parr aka Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) to begin the project, leaving her husband Bob aka Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) to become a stay-at-home dad; will dealing with baby Jack-Jack’s emerging powers be more than Mr. Incredible can handle?

There was a time when Pixar would never consider a sequel, but after Disney intended to create one for Toy Story without them, Pixar came on board and the rest is history. Fortunately, the animation studio doesn’t take sequels any more lightly than their all-new productions, carefully developing an idea — even for fifteen years — until all the right elements and people can be brought together. With fans demanding a sequel almost immediately after the first film, will they get back in line at the theater when their heroes come out of hiding once again?

We already know who The Incredibles are this time, and writer/director Brad Bird knows we’re waiting for something both amazing and totally wicked. Swapping the jungle of a tropical island for a massive metropolis rivaling New York City, the production wastes no time leaping into action and stepping up with advances in CG to make everything more awesome. The story again touches on exceptionalism but detours into a clever critique on a society reliant upon rescuers instead of themselves. With more world building here than in the original, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a spin-off television series in addition to at least one more feature film. While we all wanted it sooner, it was worth our wait, even it feels a bit overstuffed.

One of the best things about the original was watching different powers combined between different characters in fantastic ways, something the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still only starting to play with. As a family film, watching a dad who can’t do what he’d like to be doing step up to help his kids is a rewarding endeavor, and both Dash (voice of Huck Milner replacing Spencer Fox who no longer sounds like a kid) and Violet (Sarah Vowell) step up as well for the family and Jack-Jack.

In addition to a bunch of new characters, all of your old favorites return, including Sam Jackson as Frozone, his off-screen sarcastic wife, and of course Brad Bird himself reprising fan-favorite Edna Mode who goes through a bit of character growth herself. Sadly, there’s no sign of villains Syndrome — who probably survived and escaped — or Mirage — who is likely in jail — but don’t count them out if another sequel is on the way.

Rejoice, Incredi-fans: the wait is over, and it’s time to make some wrong things right! The Incredibles 2 is rated PG for heroic action violence and NO CAPES.

Four skull recommendation out of four

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