Believe it or not, 2004 was 14 years ago. I know, math, right? But that means it’s been almost a decade and a half since the original “Incredibles” was released in theaters. I loved it when I saw it in college, reveling in the by-gone design and old-school comic book-feel of the world writer/director Brad Bird had created. Then we waited. And waited. And forgot. Then remembered. Then probably forgot again. Then Disney/Pixar announced “Incredibles 2” was coming. And we got excited again.
The sequel picks up directly where the first ended. The Underminer has attacked the city and the Parr family of superheroes – Mr. Incredible, Elasta-Girl, their two kids Dash and Violet (and baby Jack Jack in tow) – leap into action. Try as they might to thwart the evil mole-man, he escapes, and the Supers are to blame for countless dollars in damages to the city.
Forced to relocate again, Bob (Craig T. Nelson) and Helen (Holly Hunter) question their next move. They’re both tired of living in secret and feel the world needs superheroes again. Their friend Lucius (Samuel L. Jackson) aka Frozone has been approached by a man named Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk, “Breaking Bad”, “Better Call Saul”) who wants to work with them to legalize superheroes once again. Along with his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener, “40 Year Old Virgin”, “Get Out”), they want to equip them with body cameras so the world can see their good deeds in real time, not just the outcomes, and reframe the public perception of superheroes. Elasta-Girl is picked to spearhead the new movement, leaving Bob to be the stay-at-home-parent for the first time.
Things…don’t go great. Violet is having boy trouble. Dash has to learn new math (“What was wrong with old math?!”), and the baby Jack-Jack is starting to manifest powers. Like many, many powers, plural. And man, is it hilarious. There’s a bit with a raccoon that just killed me. Meanwhile, Elasta-Girl works to thwart a new villain called Screenslaver who hypnotizes people through screens. When she saves an ambassador from an attack, they move forward with their plans to legalize superheroes. But something still nags at Elasta-Girl…
There’s a pre-movie message from the cast and Bird, apologizing for the film taking so long to make. It’s pretty funny and it’s Disney/Pixar owning-up for dragging the process out for far too long. There’s also a warning before the film for anyone light-sensitive or prone to seizures, and thank goodness; there’s a sequence that’s pretty trippy.
Excellent casting once again of all the characters. Disney/Pixar are great about casting actors who could play their roles in real life and they knock it out of the park once again with everyone in this film. I was delighted to see this is a female-centric story, focusing on Elasta-Girl’s feats, Helen’s torn feelings between being a mother and being a super, Violet dealing with lost love for the first time and the embarrassment that is being a teenage girl, but also strong female characters throughout, including Evelyn, the ambassador (voiced by Isabella Rossalini, whom in another time would have just been another male character), and a new female super named Voyd (Sophia Bush, “One Tree Hill”, “Chicago Fire”, “…Med”, and “…P.D.”).
The action sequences are thrilling and so much fun! If you like the “Avengers” movies, you will LOVE this. All the stuff with Elasta-Girl in her first solo mission is A-MAZ-ING. The fight sequences are seamless and so gorgeous to watch. The animation is staggeringly good. It’s mind-boggling how far they’ve come with their technology. And last but not least, it’s a great story about family and working together as a team. And did I mention it is funny? Because it is.
Be sure to see it in the theaters. It’s an experience not to be missed!
Rating: 4 out of 5 Snack Packs
Lincoln L. Hayes is an actor and filmmaker living in NYC. Find more of his work at www.lincolnlhayes.com.