It’s been fourteen years since the first Incredibles film (2004). Since that time, computer animation , as a whole, has tremendously improved. Additionally, there has been a big superhero boom and films about masked crusaders are more popular than ever. So, The Incredibles 2 was going to have to do something different to really stand out. Thankfully, Brad Bird and the geniuses at Pixar have not disappointed. The Incredibles 2 is more than a worthy follow-up to the original. Featuring fantastic animation, great action sequences, plenty of laughs, a great family dynamic, and a colorful comic book feel, this is one sequel worth seeing.
The Incredibles 2 picks up exactly after the first film. The Parr family is shown battling the supervillain, The Underminer, unsuccessfully. Collective heroism is not accepted by the city, and as a result, The Parrs are arrested, and forced to live in an apartment. Meanwhile, the wealthy Deavor siblings, Winston and Voyd, have a new plan to rehabilitate the image of “supers”, and they hire Elastigirl, who tries to solve the mystery of the new villain, Screensaver. With Elastigirl (also known as Helen) gone, Bob finds domestic life a challenge, especially with Jack-Jack’s newly discovered powers that he doesn’t know how to control.
In terms of animation, this film is highly stylized. Everything looks so much sharper. The attention to detail in the backgrounds is beyond amazing, and you can really see how fourteen years can make a difference. Compared to the first film, the animation is far more photorealistic, while also still retaining that colorful comic-booky feel. The improved animation is especially evident in the film’s action scenes, which are some of the best I’ve seen this year. From the opening Underminer battle, to a train chase with Elastigirl through the city, to the epic climax aboard a ship, this film’s action is relentless, kinetic, and is lots of watch to fun.
The film is hilarious, too. One of the things I most appreciate about The Incredibles 2 is that much of the humor comes from Bob’s clumsiness as a parent. He doesn’t know how to raise his kids. In many ways, this makes this sequel more slapsticky than the first. This leads to some hysterical moments and feels more down to earth as a result. A fight between Jack-Jack and a raccoon had my theater audience uproariously laughing. I also liked how they made Jack-Jack have multiple superpowers, making it far more unpredictable.
Michael Giacchino’s returns to score the film and it’s nice to see him back in action jazz mode. The first Incredibles score had a heavy John Barry/James Bond feel, but this one feels more like a Giacchino score, complete with a new theme for Elastigirl, and some great jazzy tracks that sound like something out of a 70’s cop show. It’s fun music.
The first film was such a high bar to reach that it’s no surprise that Incredibles 2 is perhaps not as strong as the first. Regardless, the film is a great superhero romp with superb animation, great action, and lots of laughs. A true “four-quadrant film”. This should please just about everybody, I can’t recommend it enough.
Now playing in Lebanon at Entertainment Cinemas: Monday-Thursday at 12:30, 3:20, 3:40, and 6:50, Friday and Saturday at 12:30, 3:20, 3:40, 6:50, 9:40, 10:00 PM, and Sunday at 12:30, 3:20, 3:40, and 6:50 PM