Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Brad Bird
Running Time: 118 mins
Incredibles 2 is an American film and the sequel to The Incredibles. With supers on the verge of coming out of hiding, Elastigirl is enlisted to help redeem their reputation, while Mr. Incredible stays at home to look after the kids.
This is pretty much the perfect sequel. For a film with so many years of anticipation, Incredibles 2 is a stunning triumph on so many levels, not only delivering yet another endlessly brilliant two hours of blockbuster entertainment, but also featuring more incredible animation, thrilling action, great twists, strong character development and truly hilarious comedy, all of which comes together to make one of the most perfectly exhilarating and enjoyable movies you’ve seen in a very long time, and is wihtout doubt a worthy successor to what I consider the greatest animated film of all time.
There’s so much to talk about with this film, but I think it’s best to start with the basics. It may surprise you to learn, but Incredibles 2 isn’t the kids’ movie you might expect it to be. While the likes of Finding Dory and Monsters University may have proved disappointingly watered-down versions of their originals, Brad Bird once again embraces the universal appeal of The Incredibles with a movie that can be thoroughly enjoyed by absolutely anyone.
And that’s not saying that it’s a simple, easy-going watch for adults, because there’s real intensity and thrills when it comes to the action and story, and gut-bustingly funny gags throughout when it comes to the comedy. As a result, while it still fulfils its role as another family-friendly outing from Pixar, Incredibles 2 is a film that will genuinely exhilarate viewers of any age – I know I was utterly enthralled from start to finish.
Now, let’s talk about the story a little bit, because it’s the part of the film with the most potential to go wrong. With an entertaining premise that sees Elastigirl out fighting crime while Mr. Incredible has to deal with the chaos at home with three super children, the film is already set up for thrills and spills right the way through, however there is the potential for those two very separate and distinct stories to stay so throughout the film, and I was fearing from the start that the movie would be overly disjointed.
Admittedly, the film’s first half hour takes a little while to get up to speed, and adjusting to some new elements when compared to the first film, as well as the separated nature of those two stories, means the film isn’t as exhilarating as you’d like right from the start.
However, I was absolutely amazed by how well Incredibles 2 manages to find a good balance between two completely different stories. On the one hand, you have the action-packed, thrilling and often even rather dark and serious superhero story following Elastigirl as she strives to redeem the reputation of supers while fighting off a really threatening villain (more so than you’ll see in any Marvel or DC movie), a story that’s full of excitement and an incredible action intensity that I was really not expecting from a Pixar movie.
On the other hand, there’s Mr. Incredible as he wrestles with stay-at-home life, frustrated that he’s not out there fighting crime as he used to, and becoming increasingly exhausted with the demanding life of looking after three children. Although this side of the story doesn’t have the intrigue or depth of Elastigirl’s arc, it’s side-splittingly funny at every single moment, not only because we see Mr. Incredible completely losing his rag as he attempts to keep the house in one piece, but also because of the endlessly hilarious mishaps involving baby Jack-Jack, whose short but memorable cameo at the end of the first film (and its spin-off Jack Jack Attack) is beefed up to a major role that includes a good 99% of the film’s best laughs, the sort of which will have you wetting yourself at every moment.
Both sides of the film have good humour and good excitement, but I was stunned at just how intense the action side of the story was, and how hilarious the comedy side was, making this what is in my view Pixar’s funniest film ever – and that’s funny for viewers of absolutely any age.
Now, part of the first film’s unique appeal over typical superhero movies was the way it emphasised the family dynamic in a superhero situation. This film isn’t quite as explicit at first in following that same theme, and although it’s brought back to the fore in truly beautiful fashion towards the end of the movie, there is a whole lot of depth to the story, bringing a lot of intriguing themes that range from politics to technology, coming of age to the difficulties of family life and so much more. As a result, where Incredibles 2 succeeds in sensational fashion with its entertainment factor, it pushes further with a genuinely interesting story that will have you fully engrossed at every moment, something I can’t say I’ve seen from any superhero movies since the likes of The Dark Knight.
Pixar have done yet another amazing job with this film, and that’s furthered by some incredible animation throughout. Of course, good animation is to be expected with Pixar, but there’s something even more impressive when we see them portraying a human world, a unique feature that turned heads when the original film was released back in 2004.
As a result, director Brad Bird and the team of animators, storyboard artists and more combine cartoonish comic book action and comic sensibilities with a distinct visual style that firmly roots this film in the real world. It looks different to the first movie, and that takes a bit of getting used to, but there’s something about the way in which the animation is used in this film that is really spectacular, and keeps your eyes glued to the screen as you witness more and more thrilling action as the film goes on.
There’s pretty much nothing to complain about with Incredibles 2. Superfans of the original (including myself) may see the new animation style and some new voice actors as something to get used to in the first act, while some of the film’s newer themes are unexpected at first, but it’s a testament to just how good this film is that you’ll completely forget about that within minutes, and leave this film with the biggest grin you’ve ever had on your face.
Although there are some things about the original film that just top this for me, there’s no doubting that Incredibles 2 is another absolute masterpiece from Pixar. Not only is it a great animated film, a great kids’ film, and a great superhero film, but it’s one of the best films I’ve seen in quite a long time, and one that’s so endlessly entertaining, surprisingly thrilling and massively hilarious that I’ll look forward to watching it again and again and again, which is why I’m giving it a 9.0.