‘Incredibles 2’ is…totally wicked!

Andy Moser, Features Editor

Photo courtesy of Pixar.

When leading up to the release of Incredibles 2, I asked myself who this film would be for. Would this kids’ movie truly be just for kids? Would it be for the now-college/high school-aged students who remember watching the original wide-eyed in childlike wonder over 10 years ago? Or would there be a chance for adults to find themselves in this animated film franchise that so deftly captures the ups and downs of a typical family dynamic? As it turns out, Incredibles 2 is for everyone, and it’s an absolute blast.

Picking up immediately after the closing seconds of the previous film, our beloved superfamily of five, the Parrs, have to save the day yet again. Superheroes are still “illegal” at this point. Of course, there is collateral damage, and the questions are what they’ve always been: are superheroes really the best option society has to fight crime? Is the price worth it? And does there have to be a price to begin with?

Thanks to a new movement spurred by rich superhero advocate Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his tech-savvy sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener), superheroes may have a place in society. The siblings hatch a plan to put a positive spin on heroism, using Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) to fight crime while minimizing collateral damage. But somebody has to take care of the kids, right? Enter Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), and all his enthusiasm for fighting evil, who now has to hang up the tights, change diapers, talk to his teenage daughter about boys and learn how to do math the “new” way to help his son with his homework.

It’s rough at first. The beginning comes off as a crossover between The Avengers (2012) and Tully (2018) if you can imagine The Hulk trying to learn Common Core while a newborn baby keeps him up at all hours of the night, leaving him suffering from a damaging lack of sleep. Hulk really wants to smash, but he’s got more important things on his plate at the moment.

Like any good father, Mr. Incredible puts all his heart and effort into his new array of responsibilities while supporting his wife, who, meanwhile, is excelling in her new position and rising to every challenge that comes her way.

In this way, writer/director Brad Bird cleverly brings his nuclear (and I do mean nuclear) family into modernity. Families grow and must adapt to various complex life changes, and superfamilies aren’t exempt.

If you’re looking for a show-stealer, look no further than baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile), whose powers are beginning to reveal themselves in explosive and unpredictable ways. He wreaks havoc on peaceful family life, like babies tend to do, but Jack-Jack does so in style. For example, it can be quite difficult to get the baby to bed when he keeps popping in and out of various dimensions of reality. Mr. Incredible learns, however, that the promise of cookies is enough to bring him back. But as always, there’s a price to be paid for bribery.

The family’s sudden realization and surprise at Jack-Jack’s powers does create a little blip in continuity, as it was revealed to everyone that Jack-Jack had special abilities in the first film. Other problems lie in the movie’s villain, whose motivations are flawed, and consequently don’t line up with his/her actions. But this does little to take away from the movie’s overall enjoyability.

Whether you’re a kid, a nostalgic 20-something or a parent, Incredibles 2 is a fun ride from start to finish. The story has a couple cracks, but the characters are just as human and alive as they need to be. They deliver the most vital narrative elements in thrilling fashion, making this a deserving super sequel that holds up to the magic of the original while succeeding on its own. Don’t miss it.

Sails: 4/5


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