Toni Gangi ’21 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Leave the saving of the world to the men? Elastigirl doesn’t think so and neither does Pixar. The much-awaited sequel to the 2004 classic, Brad Bird’s Incredibles 2 stands out as not only a female hero-driven film but a family-driven film in a market saturated with the superhero genre that the original rebooted. It holds its own both as a film being released in 2018 and as the sequel to a beloved Academy Award-winning Pixar film.
Picking up right where the first film left off, the movie sees The Parr family and Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) finally battling it out with John Ratzenberger’s villain, The Underminer. However, supers are still illegal and after the battle with Syndrome’s Omnidroid, which means that the Parrs have partaken in chaos-causing illegal activity twice within three months. The agents at the NSA, or the National Supers Agency, are not pleased and the Super Relocation program is shut down for good, forcing any illegal supers to fend for themselves should something happen.
Just as he was in the first film, Bob Parr, a.k.a. Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), is especially bothered by the unfair laws surrounding superheroes. When a businessman called Winston Deavor approaches Frozone and the Parrs with a plan to get the laws to change, Mr. Incredible jumps at the opportunity, seeing it as an opportunity to do what he does best once again and maybe even change the law while he is at it. Bob is almost as bothered by the fact that they want his wife, Helen Parr, a.k.a. Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), for the first stage of the initiative rather than him as he is by the outlawing in the first place.
Regardless, Bob and the rest of the family attempt to be supportive of mom’s new job while Helen continues to meet with Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener), to make a good name for supers and change public opinion. A wrench is thrown in their plans when Elastigirl is faced with a new villain named the Screenslaver (Bill Wise), a technological wizard who can hypnotize anyone to do whatever they say just by hacking into any screen.
Helen must deal with this threat to restore the good name of supers everywhere while Bob is learning to deal with Dash’s (Huck Milner) math homework, Violet’s (Sarah Vowell) relationship troubles, and baby Jack-Jack’s (Eli Fucile) uncontrollable superpowers at home.
Just as with the first film, this is where the true brilliance of the story lies. Incredibles 2 is a family comedy just as much as it is, if not more, a superhero movie. That doesn’t just mean it is suited for all ages but rather it means the comedy is about families and is something all audience members can relate to and laugh at. The film is marvelously funny, even more so than the first film, with something either directly superpower-related or family-related to laugh at in every scene. Bird has established his ground as creating films that are about a family before heroes and uses both aspects to their fullest potential in writing.
The film largely further explores ideas that were already introduced in the first film, such as the legality of supers, Bob’s wish to be Mr. Incredible in the spotlight, family life, and always supporting the other members of one’s family. This is not detrimental to the film in anyway. There would not be a sequel if audiences did not wish to see just this and, since it takes places just after the end of the first, it could not really be helped.
Being able to live with the Parr family for another two hours gave the Bird the time to do things the first was not able to, like extended Elastigirl-centric scenes, delving a bit more into the old days of superheroes, Bob interacting with each of his kids individually, and even time for the fabulous Edna Mode (Brad Bird) to meet Jack-Jack. To say more about Edna’s scenes would be blasphemous. One must see it for themselves.
Just as the first, Incredibles 2 is old-fashioned while still being modern and relevant. The importance of media and politics in today’s world, as well as the endless references to the original, are subtly worked into the plot. Each main character gets their moment and even tertiary characters feel well-defined. Especially after a double feature screening, which garnered preemptive laughs as soon as the first shot of Frozone in the famed “Honey, where is my super suit?” scene hit the screen, Incredibles 2 feels like a smooth continuation of the first movie, a testament to all who worked on it. A review of this film would not be complete without stating the obvious and mentioning how absolutely stunning it is visually.
Incredibles 2 has what other superhero and action films of today do not. It has nostalgia and family. It has Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack learning to use and refine their powers. It has the Parrs working together to save the day. It has Edna Mode. What it does not have is a post-credits scene. It does not need one. The message is clear. Families and friends will save the world.
Overall Grade: A
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Toni Gangi ’21 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer