The Incredibles are back in a thrilling sequel that will dazzle all ages. While Incredibles 2 doesn't match the original's brilliant plot, the Parr family's interactions and a throng of new superheroes more than make up for that deficit. Writer/director Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, Ratatouille) continues his stellar animation legacy. The film, which is just beautiful to see, never lets the spectacle overcome the heart of the characters. Bird delivers epic action scenes, but always comes back to the warmth of home. The Incredibles are always family first.
You'd think saving the city from Syndrome would have ushered in a new era for the supers. Nope, the exact opposite happens. Incredibles 2 picks up directly from the first film with the Parr family battling the Underminer (John Ratzenberger). Chaos and destruction ensues, reinforcing the idea that supers cause more problems than they solve. Billionaire Winston Deaver (Bob Odenkirk) idolizes the supers. His idea, show the world just how much good they can do. He enlists the Parrs' to his cause, but there's a caveat. Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) will be the face of the movement. This means that Bob (Craig T. Nelson) will have to stay at home and take care of the children. Mr. Incredible defeated the fiercest villains with ease, but does he have what it takes to manage a household?
The primary thrust of the plot is the reversal of the traditional gender roles. Elastigirl wows the public with her amazing heroics. Bob, stewing in jealousy, quickly realizes he's over his head as a stay-at-home dad. Violet (Sarah Vowell) has boy issues. Dash (Huck Milner) is struggling with schoolwork. And Jack-Jack, wow, his problems are on a whole different level. Brad Bird explores the everyday difficulties of the average family. When you factor in the superhero element and deadly antagonist, it all seems overwhelming. The Parr's may struggle individually, but are an unstoppable force together. The moral of the story is that a family is never alone against adversity, especially with a best friend like Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) and reluctant Auntie Edna, hilariously voiced by Brad Bird.
A few aspects of Incredibles 2 stand out beyond the family plotline. The animation is amazing. And I didn't even get to see the 3D version, thanks Disney! You will be blown out of your chair as Elastigirl races through the city on her bad ass motorcycle. Then leaps from building to building with her, dare I say, incredible powers. A row of kids sitting in front of me were wide-eyed and awestruck during the huge action scenes. Pixar raises the animation bar. The next scene stealer is that precocious little tyke, Jack-Jack. No spoilers here, but this baby super will have you cheering and laughing hysterically. The little guy is much more than a chip off the old block.
Where Incredibles 2 runs flat is the mystery behind the villain. It's really no mystery who the bad guy is. It's quite obvious, and then you have to wait the entire runtime for the characters to figure it out. This aspect of the plot is intricate. Brad Bird needed an element to tie everything together. I wish it was more substantive and less apparent, but this is a CGI children's film. We have such high expectations for Pixar, anything less than, I'll say it again, incredible, feels a tad short.
Disney and Pixar do not disappoint after a fourteen year Incredibles absence. Incredibles 2 is top notch family entertainment. I also dug the hell out of the swinging jazz soundtrack and the supers catchy theme songs. Frozone's is like a Barry White seventies funk anthem...so chill...so chill.