Forewarning. I do my best not to address anything beyond what can be seen in the trailers for Incredibles 2 in very specific detail in this pseudo-review. But just in case, consider this a spoiler warning, as I may throw some minor details around that I wouldn’t personally consider overtly spoiler-y.
You have been warned.
Full disclosure walking into this one: I absolutely adore the first Incredibles movie. Like I have no qualms admitting that my rose-tinted glasses were on securely when hearing this particular sequel was coming out.
It’s been a few years since I’ve seen the first movie, but as I found out while discussing things ahead of showtime with my friend Juan, I can still recall most of the film in striking detail.
I also recall a lot of things that happened surrounding the original movie’s release. I took a class field trip when I was in elementary school, where we all got to go to the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood to see a screening of The Incredibles together. I don’t quite remember why we had that field trip or who I was there with, but I distinctly remember doing it.
There was also a game based on The Incredibles for the Gameboy Advance that I played to death, not even fully aware of the fact that it was my first exposure to the ever-popular side-scrolling, arcade-styled beat-em-up genre.
So yes, I was pretty pre-disposed to enjoy Incredibles 2. It’s a universe I was excited to see on-screen again.
I absolutely loved this movie for what it was: A really fun family-centric movie that knew how to balance comedy, heart, a number of plots and — mostly — keep what I really liked about each character alive.
A lot of that love certainly comes out of the nostalgia factor. Seeing the characters I loved on-screen again was like visiting an old friend, and I was excited to see how their stories continued.
Being 14 years wiser meant I could see past the nostalgia enough to address what I didn’t necessarily like about the film as a film, both in terms of the overall plot and in terms of how the characters were treated. But I still really enjoyed the overall experience.
Where the movie primarily failed for me was in the fact that… Well… It’s a kids film.
Yes that’s an obvious thing to say when we talk about a Disney Pixar flick, but that fact really stood out to me.
It was obvious how I was well above the general demographic for the movie, as Juan and I were literally surrounded by eight-to-10 year-old children.
Pretty close to how old I must have been when the first film came out 14 years ago, to be fair.
But hey, you don’t need to be a kid to enjoy a Pixar film. That’s one of the big draws of them after all. So what exactly hit me about Incredibles 2 specifically?
Well… It’s incredibly, incredibly predictable. Pun somewhat intended.
The second the plot gets into motion, I knew exactly where it was headed in regards to the big bad of the film, and I was (mostly) spot-on. For anyone old enough to have some movie-going experience under their belt it’s telegraphed in an almost annoying manner.
There were a couple of times where I groaned seeing the characters on-screen not realize what was about to happen.
In a sense, that skepticism and older knowledge base somewhat ruined about a third of the movie for me.
That makes for a fairly good segway, actually. When you walk into Incredibles 2, you should expect to see three major divides in the movie.
After a great cold open making good on the cliffhanger ending to the first film, the plot splits in twine. Alternating between Elastigirl, Helen Parr, Mrs. Incredible — whatever you’d prefer to call her — going off to do superhero work while Mr. Incredible has to watch the kids, dealing with insecurity over being upstaged by his wife and dadly duties like math homework and boy drama.
The Elastigirl superhero portion of the film is the weakest part, in my opinion. There’s a lot of cool action scenes, mostly involving the sweet motorcycle she rides that can split in two as a way to use her powers while driving, and has some sweet moments watching her be successful.
However, the obviously telegraphed plot development makes her side of the story drag, as I constantly found myself waiting for the reveal I was expecting to be revealed.
I much preferred the Mr. Incredible side of the story, which was focused on the family’s dynamic. Particularly regarding the youngest Parr, Jack-Jack. While all of the children’s problems weighed heavily on Bob, trying to figure out how to deal with a baby that has every super powers with no control comprised a majority of the run time.
You watch Mr. Incredible descend into madness and it’s pretty funny the whole way through. As are the reactions of side characters like Sam Jackson’s Frozone and Brad Bird’s Edna. Jack-Jack really stole just about every scene he was in.
I had a particular fondness for Violet and Dash from the first movie, but they were somewhat sidelined in the second.
Violet’s portions of the film are excellent representations of the angsty teenager archetype, clichéd but well-done and very funny each time she has (frequent) angry outbursts.
Violet also winds up being the crux of the family’s dynamic and spurs much of the emotional moments for the rest of the characters. The interactions between her and her father are particularly lovely and stand-out. But her scenes are few and far between.
Dash, however, is somehow shafted further. There’s no moment in the second film that embodies the same youthful childlike wonder of Dash discovering the extent of his abilities, like when he runs on water for the first time in the original.
Instead Dash is very one-note: He’s bad at math/generally not responsible and he’s obsessed with cool gadgets.
I also have some gripes with how long Mr. Incredible seems to stick on the ‘jealous of his wife’ train for a lot of the film. It’s somewhat in-character, but there’s so much more he does in the movie that’s compelling that his jealous moments stick out like a sore thumb.
All of that may sound like I didn’t enjoy the film, but frankly it’s probably closer to accumulated nit-picks based on wanting more out of characters I’ve loved for a long time.
Eventually the superhero and family portions of the movie converge, and when they do, Incredibles 2 seriously kicks it up a couple notches.
I could’ve watched an entire movie just seeing more fun superhero family shenanigans.
Beyond the plot, Incredibles 2 is a gorgeous movie. Everything is crisp as hell after 14 years and does justice to the 50’s art deco comic look that I’m sure is partially why everyone remembers the first movie so fondly.
One example early on is a scene where Helen and Bob are sitting in front of a pool, and the animated water effects glowing up against them make for a great visual.
The only scene where the visuals really hurt more than they helped involved a room full of flashing lights where Helen fights the main villain. The lighting effects on the characters look amazing… But unfortunately it’s hard to focus on them with how much the screen flashes.
I’ll definitely recommend that anyone and everyone should go see the film, as even with my gripes against the story and certain characters, it’s an incredibly fun and engaging experience through-and-through.
One that I would say was 100 percent worth the 14 year wait.
I’ll look forward to Incredibles 3 in 2032.