Incredibles 2 (2018) by Brad Bird
Review by Courtney Anderson
I didn’t know what to expect when I went to see Incredibles 2. Sequels are always hit-or-miss. That is mostly because sequels are usually unnecessary. Sequels often function more as studio cash-grabs than stories that expand on their predecessors.
They can also seem like a last-ditch effort for when a studio is creatively tapped-out. No one asked for the sequel, and it really doesn’t need to exist, but hey, the original property is successful, and we’re out of ideas for money.
And, to be honest, a lot of sequels tend to be . . . well, not good. Especially sequels of the Disney/Pixar variation.
For a while there, Disney seemed to be trying to recapture the magic — and money — of their Renaissance-era by releasing sequels to those movies. And, for the most part, those sequels sucked. The best word to describe all of those movies is “heartless" — they were devoid of the love, joy and purpose that made their predecessors so enjoyable.
On top of all of that, there was also the matter of how much time had passed since The Incredibles was released. 14 years is a long ass time, even in animation years. It’s such a long time that the creators of Incredibles 2 put together a short clip that acknowledges how long it’s been. Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson and Brad Bird all show up to make jokes about the time gap and promise that the movie will be worth it.
And thankfully, they were not wrong.
Incredibles 2 is a fun movie that expands on the theme of its predecessor while also telling its own story. Incredibles 2 doesn’t try to recreate The Incredibles, nor does it attempt to drastic change it. I watched this sequel and felt all the joy and light I feel whenever I re-watch the first one.
I can safely put Incredibles 2 right next to the Toy Story sequels and Monsters University in the category of “Sequels that don’t make me regret my life decisions.”
Incredibles 2 is a true sequel: with the exception of a brief scene at the very beginning, this movie picks up exactly one minute after the Underminer pops up at the end of The Incredibles. Our favorite super-powered family leaps into action, and we get to see everyone use their powers, fighting and bickering in a way that remembers me of the way I bicker with my real-life family.
We also get to see the Incredibles get into serious trouble for using their powers. Supers are still illegal, and the police and city government would rather that the Incredibles do nothing to protect the city. Because the city has insurance. They don’t care about the dangerous mole dude that’s running around with a gigantic power-drill. They just care about the infrastructure they already have in place.
The government’s disdain for supers is the perfect setup for the story the movie tells. Bob, Helen and Lucius find themselves in the crosshairs of a businessman named Winston Deavor and his tech-genius sister Evelyn. Winston, an excitable executive who bears a strong resemblance to a shark, wants to Make Supers Legal Again. He wants to show the world the superhero’s perspective and get them back into society’s good graces. And he thinks Elastigirl is the perfect super for the job. Because you know, she’s the most cost effective.
So Evelyn whips up a tiny camera to put on Elastigirl’s new suit, and Elastigirl is let loose, off to save the world. And Bob is asked to channel his powers as Mr. Incredible in a new direction: being an incredible father. Thankfully, there are no lines as corny as the one I just typed in the actual film.
Bob’s adventures as a stay-at-home dad allow for us to not only see how Bob changes and grows as a man, but also how Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack are trying to adjust to their new existence. Dash is dying for the opportunity to fight crime again, while Violet is trying to figure out how they’re going to fix the law by breaking it. She’s also got relationship problems that are a direct result of her being a super. The kids get a lot to do in this movie, especially towards the end.
Jack-Jack is, by far, the most fun to watch. Regular human babies are hard enough to “control:” Jack-Jack is a superhuman baby, and he’s got more powers that you’d think could fit in his little body. Every scene Jack-Jack is in is absolutely hilarious, partially because you have no idea what’s about to happen.
The only drawback I had with the film is the villain, the anonymous Screenslaver. Screenslaver’s deal is that he uses screens to hypnotize people while lecturing them about their dependence on media and technology. Screenslaver is a predictable villain, with a “twist” that you can see coming pretty quickly. I would also like to add that sequences involving Screenslaver will present an issue for those with photosensitivity or epilepsy, as they contain a lot of light flashing very quickly.
But even with the villain issue, Incredibles 2 is still extremely watchable. It’s warm, funny, and nostalgic in the best way possible, reminding you of a time where superheroes existed without grit, darkness or ulterior motive. Incredibles 2 feels like the filmmakers didn’t want to make this simply for movie or because they had no other ideas, but because they genuinely love the story they wanted to tell.
I enjoyed it. I think most people will.