Movie Review: Incredibles 2

The long awaited sequel offers everything that is expected in a bigger-is-better fashion

Incredibles 2 (Úžasňákovi 2)
Directed by Brad Bird
With (original voices) Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Samuel L. Jackson

The retro suburban superhero family returns for the animated sequel Incredibles 2. Even though an amazing 14 years have passed since the original film, which came out in 2004, the action picks up just moments later and nobody has aged a day.

The delay in making the sequel was because writer-director Brad Bird went on to work on other films, including the live-action Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol as well as the animated Ratatouille.

In the meantime, computer animation has gotten much better. Individual hairs can now be rendered in fine detail, for example.

The main characters, the Parr family, have lost none of their freshness. Bob and Helen Parr still seem to be an average suburban couple with three kids. Due to a turn in public opinion, the parents have to hide their secret identities and superpowers.

But somebody wants to change that situation, and let superheroes operate back in the open. Helen, as Elastigirl, becomes the new face of the movement to rehabilitate the superheroes.

Jack is left at home with the three kids, and it is more than he can handle. The plot uses a lot of tropes from 1960s sitcoms as Jack struggles with the troubled teen Violet, bratty son Dash and strangely powerful baby Jack-Jack.

Ready to help are Frozone, who can create ice from the air, and costume designer Edna Mode, who proves to be invaluable yet again.

Some new superheroes, like Voyd, are added. She is a fan of Elastigirl and can bend space. The new heroes all have a slightly comical side, as nothing in the film is taken too seriously.

The Parrs, due to developments in the plot, move into one of those futuristic houses with huge windows and push-button controls, and the expected mishaps ensue.

The structure allows for a balance between the big action pieces, domestic comedy, teen romance and mystery.

Throughout the film, something seems not quite right, which adds a layer of suspense.

The film also makes a bit of social critique of the late 20th century, showing that things were not as perfect back then as some would depict or remember.

There is less time spent developing the characters, except for Jack-Jack. The parents and older kids are already well-known from the first film. This creates a platform for perhaps too much action, as there is little time to rest between scenes. Just as things seem to settle down, another crisis occurs.

Violet, who is rather shy and can turn invisible, does get a few scenes where she can develop her emotional side. Dash, though, changes little from the first film.

But the plot does not spin too far out of control. Adults especially should be able to spot in advance where things are going.

There is also a fair bit of double-edged humor, with things to amuse adults that younger people might not catch, and likely vice-versa.

Incredibles 2 was worth the wait but falls short of being a classic like the original. It has everything that could be expected and is done on a large scale, but it never really pushes into the next level with anything truly unexpected. But it is doesn't play like a film where everyone just turned up to get a paycheck. There is some heart and soul behind it. But also a lot of noise and thunder.

The film is being shown with a short called Bao, concerning a protective mother who makes a baby out of a dumpling. It is odd to say the least, but charming in its own way.

Note that most Prague screenings are of a dubbed version, though the original can be found in some theaters. The dubbing is quite good though, for those who can understand it.

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