Srishti Chakraborty reviews Pixar’s much anticipated sequel to a childhood favourite.
While I might not remember the first time I ever watched Pixar’s The Incredibles, I remember all the other times I’ve watched it since. I remember watching it before Christmas when I was about 6 and asking Santa for superpowers, even though I was Hindu and didn’t actually celebrate Christmas. I remember forcing my poor babysitter to watch it with my younger sister and I every time our parents went for a night out. To be fair, I remember cancelling Saturday night plans to watch The Incredibles and eat pizza just a few months ago. In fact, if I’ve flaked on plans with you, it was probably to eat pizza and watch The Incredibles.
So, needless to say, when Incredibles 2 was announced, I was ecstatic. But with great films don’t necessarily come great sequels (see: Mean Girls 2), and with 14 years of anticipation building up to it, Incredibles 2 had a lot to live up to. That being said, there is no doubt that the film does not disappoint – from hilarious and punchy dialogue to thrilling action sequences to all around good storytelling, Incredibles 2 is just as brilliant as it’s predecessor, if not even better.
The film picks up directly from the ending of its prequel, with the Parr family ready to take on ‘The Underminer’ and save Metroville from destruction once again, bringing the audience right back into the action from the get-go. Like all sequels, the plot line of Incredibles 2 is essentially the same as that of the first film: superheroes are illegal, the family is undercover, and a mysterious benefactor asks for their help to set in motion a chain of events that puts the Parr family through the ringer. Where the last film saw Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) jump into action against fan-turned-villain Syndrome, in Incredibles 2, Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) takes the helm as the poster girl for a pro-superhero campaign funded by billionaires and hero sympathisers Winston and Evelyn Deaver (Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener). Despite this, Incredibles 2 does not feel like some corporate rehash of its prequel but instead, is able to use its old tropes and quirks to explore a new side of its premise and characters.
Much of the beauty of the first film lay in the fact that it was so much more than a film about superheroes – it was a film about family. Siblings who constantly annoyed each other, an adorable baby, a cool uncle, awkward dinner conversations, parents fighting about who needs to yell at their kids: all of these were woven into the film’s thrilling adventure plot, making it relatable and layered. As such, the latest instalment is able to show you even more of the Parrs’ recognisable family life: Mr. Incredible learning to play house husband and second fiddle to his wife, Elastigirl learning to trust her husband to manage the kids, Violet starting to date – the film remains a realistically grounded family-comedy full of scenes you will recognise from real life. It is funny and engaging, and makes you love its characters even more than you already did.
The film’s action sequences are a joyride. The Deavers’ plan to make superheroes legal again involves Elastigirl openly fighting crime across the country; in her first altercation, she confronts her new nemesis, the ‘Screenslaver’, a villain using screens to hypnotise and brainwash people. Though you can smell the film’s plot twist from a mile away, this does little to hamper your enjoyment of the action. Given the trend of gritty and realistic superhero movies, the dynamic and unapologetically far-fetched action of Incredibles 2 is a breath of fresh air, and there’s an odd satisfaction in seeing Elastigirl save the day by making herself into a parachute once again. The slapstick sight gags that intercut the action are equally as wonderfully animated, and the dialogue is as funny as ever. Though the sequel has none of the quotability of “I’m your wife, I’m the greatest good you’re ever going to get” (and perhaps the most awkward moment of the film is the missed beat where they tried to recreate this iconic line), the snappy punchlines and witty one-liners are just as hilarious.
Director Brad Bird has allowed the Incredibles franchise to evolve in all the right ways. While the animation, comedy, and the family values at the heart of the first film have not changed, and everyone’s favourite characters and moments are given their due respect, Incredibles 2’s undercutting commentary is on feminism, capitalism, and the difficulty of family life. It feels as if the franchise has grown in the same way that its original fans have. In a world where, spoilers, Thanos has wiped out half of the MCU while real life can get pretty dark and scary, Incredibles 2 is the familiar woke superhero comedy we all need.
Incredibles 2 is showing in cinemas across the UK now. Watch the trailer below.