13th July 2018 (UK)
Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) is left to care for the kids while Helen (Elastigirl) is out saving the world.
Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell
If it feels like forever since the first Incredibles movie, it’s because it has been: believe it or not, Disney/Pixar’s spotlight on a family of superheroes was released in 2004 – 14 long years ago.
Within minutes of Incredibles 2 beginning, however, the near decade and a half long wait is all but forgotten as the story picks up mere seconds where the first left off, with the Parr family facing off against the nefarious Underminer. The battle causes great damage to the city and, with the use of superhero powers still being illegal, results in the scrapping of the protection program for them all.
It’s not long though until wealthy siblings Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) approach Mr Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (Helen Hunt) with a proposition – to change the perception of superheroes by showing the good they do rather than the damage and ultimately get the public on their side to make them legal again.
Only trouble is, Mr Incredible is deemed far too destructive for the siblings plan to work. Instead, they opt to send the infinitely more careful Elastigirl on missions away from home to elevate the status of Superheroes in the eyes of the world. This leaves Mr. Incredible, who definitely isn’t bitter at all for not being chosen to save the world, to look after their three children – the lightning fast Dash, the force field conjuring Violet and baby Jack Jack whose powers are yet to reveal themselves.
While away on seemingly simple crime fighting assignments, a dangerous new enemy keeps reappearing in every task – The Screenslaver, an ominous figure who hypnotises the innocent through computer screens and television monitors to do his evil bidding. With Mr Incredible out of the action to focus on parenting and Elastigirl far from her family, how will The Screenslaver be stopped before he takes over the minds of the world?
Incredibles 2 begins with such promise. The breathless opening action sequence pitting the Parrs against The Underminer reminds us why we wanted a sequel in the first place and gives us that welcome familiarity we’ve come to expect from Disney/Pixar.
From there though, Incredibles 2 falters a little as it spends nearly an hour putting all the pieces into place. It’s noticeably light on action in favour of explaining in-depth the admittedly convoluted plot, resulting in two separate films – there’s Elastigirl and her missions in the city as well as Mr Incredible and his struggles with looking after the troublesome trio in the swanky, high-tech home loaned to them from Winston.
Regarding the latter, Mr Incredible is a much different character than the first outing. Here, he’s shown as a bitter egomaniac who doesn’t particularly want his wife to have the glory he could have. It’s also disappointing to see that he’s portrayed as completely useless as a father figure who doesn’t know his kids or how to handle them. Sure, it’s used mainly for comedic effect but sadly the personalities of the characters are compromised for a few small chuckles. Here, Mr. Incredible is the equivalent to The Hulk in Avengers: Infinity War.
There’s some effort to develop the character of Violet as she struggles with teenage issues such as first dates, boyfriends and gaining confidence to be sociable, but Dash is all but forgotten unless messing with remote controls. The star of the show is undoubtedly baby Jack Jack and his plethora of powers, an aspect of the film in which the crux of the jokes rely on.
Speaking of the humour, Incredibles 2 lacks the sharp wit of previous Pixar offerings, instead relying on the cuteness of Jack Jack and his baby laughter to get by. Unsurprisingly, for anyone with a soul, hearing the sound of baby laughter will melt your heart, and there are a few moments which raise a smile that don’t involve the youngest Parr or his emerging abilities (we’re looking at you, Edna Mode!), but it’s an easy route for Pixar to take.
The same can be said for other aspects of Incredibles 2 too; its villain, The Screenslaver, is woefully underwhelming, introduced far too late and the secret identity of which can be sniffed out from pretty much the get-go.
For all the gripes listed here, Incredibles 2 is still a solidly entertaining piece of family entertainment that gets a lot right. The animation is, obviously, top notch and the introduction of a handful of new heroes keeps things fresh by displaying new powers, especially Portal 2-inspired Voyd. When the the final showdown eventually arrives, so does the fun, making the tough going, dialogue heavy first hour just about worthwhile for younger viewers.
So after 14 years, was Incredibles 2 worth the wait? It will all come down to individual preference, but with such an overused narrative and a distinct lack of reasons for it to leave a lasting impression, it’s hard not to feel like more could have been achieved with such a notable gap between instalments.
We’re giving away a POP! Vinyl Figure of baby Jack Jack from Incredibles 2 as well as TWO cinema tickets that can be used at any Cineworld Cinemas site.
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Competition closes Friday 20th July 2018. Entrants must be UK Resident aged 15+. The winner will be picked at random from all eligible entries.
Predictably flawless animation
Sub characters steal the show - Edna Mole, Frozone and Jack Jack
Final act is thoroughly entertaining
Takes too long to get going
Treads familiar ground
Mr Incredible portrayed as a bitter fool