4.5 out of 5 stars
Pixar’s influence on the film industry is undeniable and many of the characters created at the animation studio continue to impact multiple generations. From Woody and Buzz to Carl Fredricksen (UP), audiences have come to welcome these wonderfully written personalities into their lives and the Incredible family remains as one of the quintessential examples of the loving, yet dysfunctional family, who happen to be superheroes. Despite numerous other films getting multiple sequels, audiences have been waiting to see the continuing saga of Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) and their super brood.
Director and writer Brad Bird (The Incredibles) brings this family of supers back to screens and the story starts at the point where they left us 14 years ago with the confrontation of the Underminer (John Ratzenberger). Their actions lead to their public exposure and lead to the family’s arrest because of the law that makes superhero activity illegal. They are freed to go on with life, but they are left with few options to consider besides going back to the mundane existence of life without the use of their powers.
When all seems lost, they are offered a lifeline by multimillionaire siblings and owners of one of the largest tech firms in the world, Winston (Bob Odenkirk) and Evelyn Deavor (Catherine Keener). Due to their family history with the supers of the past, they hope to assist the Parrs and other Supers to come out and utilise their powers to help society. The wealthy brother and sister want to incrementally reintroduce the heroes to the people of the world. The first step is to equip Elastigirl to be the start of this revolution to change the laws against these superhumans. As Bob Parr adjusts to life as a stay at home father, he must learn how to be a hero to his family while his wife tries to foil the work of a new villain, Screenslaver.
The first chapter of the The Incredibles managed to break new ground in animation, story and character development by uplifting the importance of family and sacrifice. This film spun the superhero genre around by providing a vulnerability to the characters and showing the impact that this lifestyle has on these protectors of the public. The concern with a sequel was that it would undermine the refreshing themes introduced by the original, but thankfully these concerns are unwarranted. Incredibles 2 may lack the originality of the first chapter, but it still manages to maintain great elements and add to this engaging storyline.
Even though the family has not aged over the past decade, this does not diminish the humour, heartfelt family moments or everything that makes this story unique. Edna Mode (Brad Bird), Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) and Rick Dicker (Jonathan Banks) are all back and complemented by a fun and modern mix of individuals that push the storyline forward and do not dwell in the past. Bird manages to maintain the humour and familial elements that made the first a classic, but provides new twists that keep it from merely being a rehashed tale. The identity of the villain is not too surprising, but that subtle misstep does not diminish the overall experience. Incredibles 2 is one of the best animated, family films to come along in years.
What should I know as a parent before going into Incredibles 2?
Thank you, Brad Bird. The award-winning director and writer kept all of the winning elements of the first chapter of the Incredible family without adding unnecessary political commentary. There is a strong message about the impact of screens on the lives of society, but the value of family remains at the core of this super tale.
This is the best Pixar film since 2015’s Inside Out. This instalment of the Incredible family is a super opportunity to talk with the kids about the value of family and the sacrifices we all make for the sake of those we love.
Good places to begin this discussion on the family: Psalm 128:3, Proverbs 22:6, John 15:12-17