14 Years. Highly Anticipated Sequel…yada yada…. You know the drill.
For me, Incredibles was by far the best movie Pixar ever made. I am sorry Toy Story & Ratatouille, Incredibles definitely takes the throne here. Every movie Pixar made after Incredibles I kept asking “Wait….where’s Incredibles 2? Who asked for Cars 2? Didn’t we get enough closure with Toy Story 2? And lastly who in the right mind wanted Cars 3?” Almost a decade and a half later we finally get a sequel and does it live up to a decade worth anticipation?
Incredibles 2 starts off right where the first left off. Following a short encounter with the Underminer, Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) and his family get scrutinized again for all the destruction and chaos. Jobless, forced to relocate to a motel and having not a clue how to keep the family together, Bob & Helen (Elastigirl) along with Lucius (Frozone) gets a proposal from Winston Deaver and his sister Evelyn from Devtech, a corporate giant who wants to bring back the Supers via documenting their adventures through a video camera fixed within their suits.
The tables have turned this time and the lucky number goes to Elastigirl to take up ‘super assignments’. Elastigirl takes the limelight here while Mr. Incredible takes a backseat: a dad looking after the family and having a tough time in her absence (and not admitting the same). Things obviously go awry for both Helen and Bob. While Helen is threatened by Screenslaver, a masked antagonist who hypnotizes people using screens and making them do awful things, Bob almost has a breakdown trying to juggle a pissed-off, adolescent Violet, a hyperactive Dash whose homework keeps his dad up all night and add to it a delightfully scene-stealing baby Jack-Jack.
At its core, Incredibles had always been about family, how they keep things together while secretly wishing to go back to their exciting, super, espionage lives and that’s what that made the original so unique. The same has been carried down to Incredibles 2. The little nuances you’re faced with when you’re running a family is just beautifully depicted and as a husband and a father, I could relate to a lot of things. Baby Jack-Jack, whom we had seen glimpses of in the first one is terrific in this one. I would say the scenes with him are the best. Like how Mr. Incredible stumbles upon his powers. A bundle of joy indeed.
The weakest link in the plot is the villain Screenslaver and unfortunately, you can see the twist from a mile away. I wouldnt say it spoils the movie but Incredibles set a standard so high for villains that this antagonist looks ill-conceived. What I also found lacking were the ‘goosebumps moments’ that were sprinkled lavishly in the first Incredibles. Maybe its because the novelty has faltered in the second outing but yet again, it wouldn’t have hurt to include a scene or two reminiscent of the ‘Dash running on water’ sequence from the first which was an absolute blast to watch.
Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl are flawlessly embodied once again by Craig T Nelson and Holly Hunter makes them feel like real life people than animated characters. The same goes for the supporting characters, Samuel L Jackson as Frozone, Bob Odenkirk as Winston, Sarah Vowell and Huck Millner as Violet and Dash respectively. Edna Mode voiced by Brad Bird himself is still a rockstar! Michael Giacchino’s score still packs the same punch and is absolutely spellbinding. Who would have thought blending a kind of 60’s campy music with James Bond-esque themes would create such wonders.
In the end, Incredibles 2 despite all its mesmerizing visual glory, the brilliant family dynamics, and the action setpieces, live a little short of its expectation. Don’t take me wrong its still a good sequel and I understand 14 years worth of anticipation should be hard to live up to but seems like Brad Bird was playing it safe. If Incredibles was You Only Live Twice, Incredibles 2 plays more like Tomorrow Never Dies (an exaggeration). Five years from now, Incredibles will be the movie I’d love to watch with my kid; Incredibles 2 though, I will still have to watch for its a great extension to the original.