Incredibles 2 (2018)
Critic Consensus: Incredibles 2 reunites Pixar's family crimefighting team for a long-awaited follow-up that may not quite live up to the original, but comes close enough to earn its name.
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as Bob Parr / Mr. Incredible
as Helen Parr / Elastigirl
as Violet Parr
as Dash Parr
as Evelyn Deavor
as Winston Deavor
as Lucius Best / Frozone
as Rick Dicker
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Critic Reviews for Incredibles 2
Incredibles 2 regresses to a time when any power women managed to acquire was carefully controlled so as not constitute a threat to the male order. Such nostalgia is self-defeating.
I exaggerate not a bit when I say that parents will feel just as empowered while watching "Incredibles 2" as any child.
It's a nostalgic vision of total power of a local minimum that echoes sickeningly with the nostalgic pathologies of the current day, nowhere more than in Win's enthusiastic declaration of his plan to "make superheroes legal again."
The Incredibles 2 is an undeniable triumph, but it is also so keenly aware that it becomes exhausting.
Once Michael Giacchino's score -- his best and most excitable -- was up and running, I was happy and hooked.
Audience Reviews for Incredibles 2
I think cinephiles need to come to grips with Pixar making sequels. I too would prefer if they develop new IP. Yet, what sequels they have come up with have hardly been terrible. They are certainly of vastly superior quality to Disney animated sequels. And that's what we get with Incredibles 2. Indeed, this was a sequel that probably should have come out...12 years ago, but it, like Finding Dory, gives more of what the fans want and still maintains its subversive edge. In case you forgot, the original Incredibles was essentially the best Fantastic Four movie ever made, thus far. It was one part family drama, mixed in with Watchman-esque deconstruction of the genre. It was one of Pixar's biggest hits and is considered by some to be the studio's best. Much of this is also true about the sequel, and there is plenty of meat on its bones so to speak. This time, the family matriarch and the internet's favorite THICC superheroine Elastigirl, is front and center. The plot itself is easy to figure out from the get-go. But its themes are a bit deeper and Incredibles 2 takes aim at our current run of superhero films and the current dark era of media that we find ourselves in 2018. I particularly enjoyed the retro early 60's aesthetic and the brassy John Barry-esque score. It's a very sumptuous and beautiful looking movie, and Brad Bird keeps a brisk pace. That being said, I think it could have been a LITTLE more bold and risk-taking. I think that's why I ultimately rate Incredibles 2 as not a great film, but a damn good one. It's worth a screening for sure, especially for families.
The prevailing problem with Pixar sequels (and prequels) lacking "Toy" in their title is that they never feel like stories needing to be told, tales that will enrich our understanding of the characters and their larger world. I would much more gladly like a Monster's Inc. sequel where Adult Boo is visited by her old closet-dwelling friends rather than an inoffensively cute prequel explaining how characters became friends long ago. The Incredibles universe always seemed like the one most demanding of a real sequel. Writer/director Brad Bird created a rich retro-futuristic world with numerous possibilities. I'm happy to report that Incredibles 2, while not soaring to the exact heights of its predecessor, is still a very worthy sequel that even manages to outshine the original in select areas. Taking place literally seconds after the conclusion of the 2004 film, the Parr family fights together against the Underminer. The city, however, is none too happy about the collateral damage. Superheroes are still illegal. There's no more relocation either. The Parrs are stuck, until a pair of billionaire siblings (voiced by Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener) reaches out to try and repeal the superhero ban. They want to position Helen Parr a.k.a. Elastigirl (Holy Hunter) for the public relations campaign (she causes a lot less collateral damage than her husband). Bob Parr a.k.a. Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) encourages his wife to go out and save the day, though he's barely holding back his jealousy. He takes on the domestic duties, helping Dash (Huck Milner), moody daughter Violet (Sarah Vowell), and the young baby, Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile, reprising the role of voicing a baby, for real). A villain known as the Screenslaver is terrorizing the city and hypnotizing citizens through hijacked broadcasts. Elastigirl tries to uncover the mystery of the Screenslaver while Mr. Incredible tries to juggle the realities of stay-at-home parenthood. Bird's sense of visual inventiveness is still heartily alive and whimsically well in the medium of animation. Bird's original film was an imaginative marvel with its intricate action sequences, some of which are the best in any medium, animated or live-action. He's a choreographer of action that upholds the basic tenants of action, namely that if you have characters with special abilities, they should be utilized, along with attention toward geography and the purpose of the scene. It's a genuine pleasure to watch well developed action sequences that go beyond flashy style, that account for mini-goals and organic complications. Take for instance Elastigirl's motorcycle chase scene. It's exciting as is but when the bike breaks apart, taking advantage of Elastigirl's stretchy powers, that's when it becomes even more gratifying and clever. There is a group of lesser super heroes that come out of the shadows thanks to Elastigirl's heroics. At first they're played for primarily comedic value, but Bird smartly turns them into a force to be reckoned with when they band together. I especially appreciate having a character with portal-manifesting powers and finding many opportunities to explore this unique power. When the film is humming with its visual energy and inventiveness, Incredibles 2 is a gloriously entertaining and satisfying action movie told by one of the best on the business. The action is on par (no pun intended) with the first film even as the overall experience lacks the emotional stakes and depths of the first Incredibles. That should not be seen as some destabilizing deficiency as The Incredibles was a nearly flawless film (it's my second favorite Pixar film after WALL-E). There were moments in the original film that transcended the superhero setting, where they Parr family felt like real people with real emotions and relatable stakes, like Mr. Incredible's confession that he's not strong enough to suffer the loss of his family. While Bird's film made several homages to the James Bond cannon, there were real stakes. People could die. Many superheroes did, albeit mostly off-screen. This was Pixar's first PG-rated film and that's because it dealt with some heavy thematic issues in a mature manner. The bad guys weren't like the movies, Helen Parr warned; they would kill children if given the chance. Incredibles 2 doesn't have any real moments like that to cut through the whiz-bang. This time it's Elastigirl enjoying the limelight, and there's a notable feminist message of a woman finally getting her due. She relishes the adventure though is willing to sacrifice it for her family if needed, which her husband will refuse to allow her to do. Her success is his success, he reminds himself. The sooner she succeeds the sooner he can also get back out there to fight crime. I think one of the reasons the characterization isn't as developed this time is because of the abbreviated time frame. We're literally picking up seconds from the first movie and dealing with the immediate consequences. We're only following the events of a few weeks, maybe months at most, and while the Parr family undergoes trials and disappointments, It feels like maybe there just wasn't enough space for the characters to have succinct arcs and grow substantially. This is a quibble for an otherwise great movie. Incredibles 2 still stay true to the characters you love. The exploration of Mr. Incredible's descent into domestic life was my favorite part of the film, and I had been worried it would be outdated Mr. Mom-style jokes. The movie steers away from most of the tired gender tropes, moving past simply having an incompetent man performing household duties in hilariously incompetent ways. The jokes aren't dependent upon a man doing them so much as someone who feels out of step and beleaguered, so parenthood in general. The first movie was about midlife identity crises and that has carried over into this sequel as well. Bob has a meaningful challenge with each one of his children, having to re-learn old concepts with his son and adapt to new ones, having to tackle the minefield of dating with his daughter and finding the right tone, and the increasingly the demands of a child with, let's call them, special needs. The Jack-Jack segments are inspired pieces of old school Looney Tunes slapstick. Each new power provides another point of discovery for our characters that, remember, are initially clueless about Jack-Jack's amazing abilities. Mr. Incredible is so eager to get back to being a super hero that forcing him to confront his own inadequacies as a parent is a smart way to better open him up as a three-dimensional character. I enjoyed the action of Elastigirl's spotlight missions but I kept looking forward to returning to the other Parrs. In a few areas I would even say Incredibles 2 has its original beat, especially in the realm of comedy and visual inventiveness. Part of that is simply the advancement of the technology allowing Bird more freedom to up the ante as well as showcase more intricate facial emotions. There are some areas that just cannot compare, which is not to say that they are bad on their own. The late twist of the villain's identity should be more than obvious for anyone paying attention. The themes of this movie are much hazier this time around. There are a few that pop up, like police surveillance and body cams, then a general screed against the general social malaise brought on from technology, then breaking unjust laws to serve a more realized sense of justice, and then finally the movie settles on what seems like its true theme, the danger of being too dependent on, essentially, government assistance. If the superheroes represent the government, the villain's plot is to shake people away from waiting for the superheroes to fix everything and growing over reliant on outside assistance (finally a summer blockbuster with a message even Paul Ryan could love). Bird has featured some Randian ideals in past films, The Incredibles a prime example. My pal Ben Bailey strongly believes that the first film's villain had the right idea though wrong method. Superheroes are by design egotistical. The belief that there are people who are better and deserving of a elite, preferential status seems antithetical with the sequel's major theme. Or maybe it's the mutated evolution of Ayn Rand's sense of political objectivism. Feel free to debate at the kitchen table with your own family. If the major fault of Incredibles 2 (there is no "The;" look it up if you doubt me) is that it can't quite live up to the dizzying heights of the original, then that's hardly a damning fault. In the 14 ensuing years, the superhero movie has become the dominant Hollywood blockbuster, and Bird needed to think long and hard about how his return visit would distinguish itself from a cluttered landscape of super heroics. Bird finds meaningful and interesting stories for both the "normal" version of his family unit as well as their super selves. Fans of the original should find more than enough to entertain themselves with even if the depth and characterization aren't as wonderfully realized. There's great comedy, great action, and great fun to be had with Pixar's best sequel not with "Toy" in its title. Nate's Grade: A-
Pixar has been a company that everyone cherishes. From their classics like Toy Story and Monsters Inc., to even their solid attempts at sequels in Monsters University and Finding Dory, their heart is and always has been in the right place. The reason I don't include Cars in this discussion is simply due to the fact that the sequels were only made to make the studio sell more merchandise. I don't fault them for that, because their original content is usually always stellar. The Incredibles was a film that was beloved by the majority of audiences around the world and it left people wondering why a sequel wasn't being made. Incredibles 2 has been long overdue for fans and there was almost too much hype to really live up to it for some. Personally, although I don't think this sequel surpasses the original in any way, it sure does live up to the hype in my opinion. Here's why I believe this movie delivered on all fronts. Picking up immediately after the events of the first film, this film can easily be viewed as an extension of the original, rather than a sequel. The seamless transition between films was flawless in my opinion. The world still believes that superheroes are a potential danger to the world, so Helen is taken away to help prove their innocence and to reinstate their relevance once again. This ends up leaving Bob with a task he really doesn't want all that much; taking care of the kids. Having to deal with his baby (Jack-Jack) having very special abilities, this causes a lot of stress in his life, but also a lot of laughs for the audience. Helen's storyline is very solid and makes for some great additions in terms of storytelling, but this is where the film doesn't quite get to the standards set by the first movie. Yes, Bob taking care of the kids is cute, Dash and Violet (his older kids) both have amazing times to shine is incredible (pun intended), and Jack-Jack's misadventures are show-stealing moments of hilarity, but I found myself a little tied down by the drama involving Helen. Her storyline exists in order to further the plot of the villain, which is completely fine, especially in a film made for a younger audience, but there were times that felt slightly predictable and bogged down the film a little. That being said, the pacing and cutting back and forth between these two storylines are really the only complaints I had about this movie. I personally think the first movie is near-perfect, so this is why I can't quite say I loved it as much as its predecessor. Where Incredibles 2 does make things a little more interesting is in its surprises and heart. There is plenty of action/espionage throughout the movie to keep fans entertained, but the backbone of the movie is reversing everyone's role in comparison with the first movie and it really did add a layer that I felt authentic, which I was expecting to feel forced. The pacing in the middle of the movie is saved by a fantastic conclusion that had me grinning from ear to ear. Some people may find this movie to be a slightly slower burn than the energetic pacing of the first, but that's simply because the story required it. Incredibles 2 is a fantastic sequel and easily one of the best follow-ups that Pixar has ever done (excluding the Toy Story sequels obviously). Personally, I think this movie was well worth the wait. It went in a few directions that I wasn't expecting it to, its themes are very relevant to today's climate and adults will definitely see where that comes into play, and the score by Michael Giacchino leaps off the screen. Very well written and directed by Brad Bird (who also helmed the original), this movie is the definition of a film that warrants its existence and proves that the people who were demanding a sequel were doing the right thing throughout the years. Incredibles 2 may not become as beloved as its predecessor, but it's still a fantastically well-done film nonetheless.
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