Incredibles 2 Movie Review
After 14 damn years, Disney and Pixar finally made a sequel to their one movie that really, really needed a sequel. While still worth seeing on the big screen, Incredibles 2 unfortunately feels like a lesser iteration, oddly smaller in scale and a little less fun.
With superheroes still banned by the world’s governments, Elastigirl is recruited by a rich tycoon to reshape the publicity’s perception of supers—forcing Mr. Incredible to stay at home and raise their three super-powered children. Of course, there’s a new supervillain lurking in the shadows, seeking to undermine everything they’ve achieved.
Incredibles 2 kicks off minutes after the original ended, with the Underminer attacking the city and the super-powered family attempting to stop him. While not a big deal, it’s a little disappointing that writer/director Brad Bird didn’t at least jump ahead a year—after 14 years, it would have been nice to see the team having progressed just a little bit in terms of their super powers, family dynamic, and their environment.
The reason why Bird likely didn’t do this was because he knew he had a homerun with the development of the baby Jack-Jack, whose uncontrollable superpowers are at the center of much of the film’s comedic moments. Practically every scene involving Jack-Jack is a riot, which is all the more important because some stretches of Incredibles 2 really drag.
The first act is especially rough, with Bird slowing things down tremendously to reestablish characters and plot. What’s frustrating is that as different as Incredibles 2 is in terms of story, the plot hierarchy is a dull rehash of what happened in the first movie, with Elastigirl more or less getting to do what Mr. Incredible got to do previously (and Mr. Incredible forced to stay home and raise the children). The scenes where Elastigirl’s new employer (voiced by a largely wasted Bob Odenkirk) discusses PR and legal strategies are boring as hell, and with a two-hour running time, the movie—an animated comedy for children, as a reminder—feels way too long and talky.
Luckily, Incredibles 2 picks up in the second half, as if Bird suddenly realized it was better to let loose and have some fun with this thing. Indeed, the fun factor increases, Bird injects more comedy throughout, and he sets in motion some great action sequences. Tomorrowland aside, Bird has proven to be a great action director, and despite the dozens of superhero movies that have been released over the last two decades, both Incredibles and Incredibles 2 boast some of the most impressive and elaborate superhero action sequences put to screen—ones that truly take advantage of his characters’ powers in creative, unique ways.
Incredibles 2 has a lot going for it—Jack-Jack is hilarious and the action is top notch—but Bird’s insistence to reset rather than truly move forward makes this sequel smaller, less fun and less satisfying than its predecessor.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.