MOVIE: INCREDIBLES 2
STARRING: CRAIG T. NELSON; HOLLY HUNTER; SAMUEL L. JACKSON; SARAH VOWELL; HUCK MILNER; CATHERINE KEENER; BOB ODENKIRK
DIRECTED BY: BRAD BIRD
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
Incredibles 2 is a fantastic family film. It has been 14-years since the Parr's put the crimson red spandex on and saved the day from evil villains. Seriously, why did it take this long? Writer/director Brad Bird won an oscar for 2004's The Incredibles, so maybe the team at Disney-Pixar was a bit hesitant to taint what has already been praised as one of the animation studios best films? The wholesome heroic family of Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), daughter Violet (Sarah Vowell) with her skill of invisibility, speedster son Dash (Huck Milner), and super baby Jack-Jack are all back, still at a time when superheroes are declared illegal. They become hooked up with a pair of tech-guru's that want to get superheroes back to fighting crime, but in order to look good, they summon Elastigirl to save the day, leaving daddy Incredible at home taking care of the kids. This makes Incredibles 2 a perfect balance of animated action and a message about what it means to be a hero at home. Above all the messaging, Incredibles 2 is a lot of fun.
What continues to separate the Incredible's films from other animated features, is a unique ability to have a story on a large scale, while also being grounded in the mundane of family life. Much like the first story, Mr. Incredible wants the thrill of the fight, and Incredibles 2 begins with the entire family working together, with the help of Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson), in a zooming and engaging battle to stop a mole-man villain known as the Underminer (John Ratzenberger). They save the world from an even worse disaster, but they didn't stop the perp, and the optics are so bad that their secret superhero project is shut down. I guess it's back to living the mundane family life, eating Chinese take-out, and selling insurance. But as we know from before, nothing can keep a crime-fighter down.
Next, arrives Winston (Bob Odenkirk) and Evelyn Deavor (Catherine Keener), wealthy siblings who take up the mantle left by their father to support the superhero initiative. The plan is to have Elastigirl stop bad guys and show the world how much they really need these crime fighters. This leaves Mr. Incredible in for the fight of his life: taking care of three children...alone!
Sure, the fighting and fast paced action scenes are fun, supported by a fantastic James Bond-style score from Michal Giacchino, but Incredibles 2 is at its best when Mr. Incredible becomes Mr. Mom. As a new father, it was refreshing to see a kind, honest portrayal of a dad wanting to do everything in his (super & non-super) power to help his children. Daughter Violet struggles starting a new relationship with a boy from school, Dash has complicated algebra homework, and Jack-Jack- who seriously steals this movie- makes things worse with his new found superpowers. Dad gets very little sleep, while Mom is the hero on the news, saving the day from a mysterious new villain known as Screenalver. The balance of being a dual-hero is hard. And keeping the family together is even harder.
The rest of the story is quick moving adventure, which is why Incredibles 2 is one of the best sequels from the entire Pixar film collection. The direction and writing work by Brad Bird is an example of why he's one of the best in animation and it is all supported by spectacular vocal work by Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, and Catherine Keener. On top of all of that, Incredibles 2 has a great message of changing our views of the superhero genre. Where the ladies can be the ones kicking butt and the boys can be the heroes at home. It's plenty of fun for the family and often Incredible. Lets just hope they don't take forever to make the next one.
3 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady