Director: Brad Bird
Who’d have thought that in a film packed with thrilling James Bond-style set pieces featuring runaway trains and helicopter rescues, the most memorable action scene would turn out to be one involving a little baby and a raccoon?
But this is Incredibles 2, and that is no ordinary baby. Just ask the poor raccoon.
Arriving 14 years after The Incredibles, this charming sequel, also directed by Brad Bird, reunites us with superhero family the Parrs, comprising Bob or Mr Incredible as we know him, Helen aka Elastigirl, and their three kids Violet, Dash, and aforementioned baby Jack-Jack.
The film’s plot, which feels especially timely given the recent conversations around gender parity, places Elastigirl at the center of the action, chasing villains and performing daring rescue operations with the specific purpose of reinstating the world’s faith in ‘supers’. Mr Incredible, meanwhile, must adjust to being a house-husband, discovering day to day the challenges of raising kids.
It’s a nice spin on the traditional formula and yields some terrific moments like Bob wrestling with math, and the discovery of Jack-Jack’s newly blossoming superpowers.
Never deviating too far from the blueprint of the earlier film, Incredibles 2 once again emphasizes the point about working together as a family to achieve the toughest goals. Through a clutch of new characters – misfits with extraordinary powers – the film also reiterates the point about a society that rejects anyone that is ‘different’.
One of the things that set the first Incredibles film apart from others in the animation genre was its imaginative production design. The sequel builds on that vibrantly realized universe, giving us a landscape that is at once modern and futuristic yet firmly rooted in the real and the practical. The action is pretty much wall-to-wall and frequently breathtaking.
Prepare to meet familiar characters like friend-of-the-family Frozone (voiced by Samuel L Jackson), and my personal favorite, droll fashion designer Edna Mode. There are a slew of new players, including a pair of wealthy siblings whom Helen works closely with, and a new villain named Screenslaver who is sadly underwhelming.
Family comes first in these movies, and it’s the Parrs themselves, and their relatable dynamic that remains the highlight of Incredibles 2. Beneath all the snazzy animation and shiny new bells and whistles, the film’s true appeal lies in the simpler moments within the clan. That, and the frankly irresistible humor. The scene-stealer is little tyke Jack-Jack, who got all the laughs in the screening that I attended.
You might argue that Incredibles 2 doesn’t break any new ground or deliver the high notes of classic Pixar sequels like Toy Story 3 or Finding Dory. That may be true. But it’s still consistently enjoyable, and a notch above so many live-action superhero films today.
I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five.