REVIEW: The Incredibles 2
Last night, I got a chance to see Pixar's The Incredibles 2! I absolutely loved it!
Without getting into spoilers yet, this film really proves that The Incredibles is one of the best superhero franchises ever. It captures the fantastic family dynamic that the first one does and steps it up with the action sequences. There are some sequences in here that are so cleverly done that they could rival a live action scene. Director Brad Bird and his team did an "incredible" job and it was well worth the 14 years since the original.
I would also like to say that the short Bao, directed by Domee Shi, was absolutely wonderful. I love how it really Chinese culture and its relation to food and family. Its absolutely beautiful and heartwarming.
So, now, here is the section where I get into SPOILERS! So, this is your SPOILER WARNING!
Okay, here we go!
The best thing about The Incredibles, in general, is that it is all about family. This is the same kind of thing that made Marvel's Fantastic Four so popular (I've talked about this before). And this film continued to capture the family dynamic. This time, they flipped the script and it's Helen (Holly Hunter) who goes to work and Bob (Crag T. Nelson) is the one who stays home. Elastigirl has been tapped to be the face of superheroes in a public relations campaign to legalize superheroes again!
Bob has to learn to be a supportive husband, even though he wants to be the one out there and thinks he would be better at it. At the same time, he has to be a present father. Dash (Raymond Ochoa) has to learn "new math," which I totally related to when my nephews had tried to ask me to help them with math (the end result was that I am not the resource for math because I suck at it). And Violet (Sarah Vowell) is experiencing angst over a boy she likes. And then there's Jack-Jack...
I liked the analogy of Jack-Jack's powers to a baby's first steps or first words. These are things that any parent would love to be part of and witness. Helen is sad that she misses getting to see his power manifest. At the same time, while the first steps can be adorable, once they start moving, they can also be a handful. I remember babysitting my little cousin when he first started to walk. Well, he got into everything and kept wanting to walk down the stairs. I had to move furniture around and block the staircase. My uncle and aunt came home to discover me passed out under the table with my cousin tucked under my arm. So, Bob's troubles keeping up with Jack-Jack really cracked me up.
Like I said, some of the action sequences were just absolutely beautifully staged and could rival live action sequences. One of my favorites was when Elastigirl breaks into what she thinks is Screenslaver's lair. She goes into one room and the hypnotic strobe lights went off with a fantastic fight scene that ensued. It was high energy and thrilling!
As an Elastigirl fan, I loved being able to see her in action. The way they used her elasticity powers were just so creative. I liked how her elasticycle could split in half to allow her to use her stretching for better speed and control.
The other great fight sequence, and one of the most hilarious, is when Jack-Jack sees the raccoon that he thinks is a robber like he sees on television. This scene is amazingly well staged and, in my theater, people roared with laughter at the part where we watch Jack-Jack burst into flames from the raccoon's perspective.
Edna Mode (Brad Bird) slays it once more in this film. I loved the fact that she's, at first, repelled by the baby, but becomes intrigued by his multiple powers as being an intriguing challenge. Of course she's going to know how to best control Jack-Jack's powers. I hope that they include a short with the home release about what happened when Jack-Jack stayed the night at her place.
My biggest beef with the movie is that I figured out who the mastermind behind Screenslaver was within the first part of the film. I just knew it was going to be Evelyn Deavor (Catherine Keener) when Winston (Bob Odenkirk) kept crediting her for everything. The only thing I got wrong was that I thought Winston was involved as well. I like that their motivations were two different reactions to their parents' death. Winston thinks they would have survived if supers were still legal and Evelyn blames them for not being there and, therefore, really were a menace.
I thought some of the new superheroes were fun. Voyd (Sophia Bush), I felt, had the most interesting powers. BUT, I also felt that she could have easily diverted the boat disaster at the end by creating a portal and sending the boat in the opposite direction. Of course, if she did this, it wouldn't have made for an exciting last scene. And I think they explained it by showing that she is still a little unsure of how to best control her powers when not under the Screenslaver's control. I liked how she becomes somebody that Violet could relate to at the end.
And what happened to the rest of the supers at the end of the movie to help stop the boat? Why didn't they help? Again, the final scene was to show the family working together and not about other heroes (except Frozone who is basically family). I would have knocked them all out somehow to avoid any questions, but that's really a quibble for me.
All in all, I loved this film and will see it multiple times. I was worried that it might not live up to its predecessor, but it really is a worthy follow up. I think it also goes to show that animation is also a legitimate way of storytelling for the superhero genre. With this and Big Hero 6, I would love to see Disney and Pixar take on other superhero stories. I think think there is enough variety to do it given the right stories and characters!