Incredibles 2 – 2018

Written and Directed by Brad Bird
Starring (voices)  Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Samuel L. Jackson, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Brad Bird, Jonathan Banks

The moment you see the world’s most wonderful superhero family onscreen, it’s tough not to smile. The point to this team is not their powers, which every annoying comic book informer told us was warmed over Fantastic 4 the first time. The unit has a dynamic that is at once fresh and familiar.

“What team of storyboard artists comes up with every little nuance in a family?” my normally cynical wife asked me after the film.

Hard to believe, it’s really just Brad Bird.

If you’re going for an original story. You’re not going to get it this time. The plot is literally the inverse of the first film.

This premise opens up some nice possibilities, though, when we take in that this time the expert homemaker, Helen “Elastagirl” Parr, is now the one being courted to help bring superheroes back to a positive light. She comes up with some thrilling, if only slightly less destructive methods of saving the day.

Her benefactor, Winston Deavor (Odenkirk) is working to make superheroes legal again. His sister, technical wizard Evelyn (Keener) has made some incredible cameras that allow the public experience in seeing the heroism firsthand.

Back home with the kids this time is Bob / Mr. Incredible. The superman is brought to his knees by the difficulties of raising 3 kids in a way that fighting criminals never did. The problems would be standard fare, were it not for the burgeoning abilities of their son, Jack Jack. The sequences with the infant and a marauding racoon are worth the price of admission.

Violet gets more chances to take the spotlight this time through, and it pays dividends. The date that she had arranged at the end of the first film falls through. The process of discovery what happened and how it can be reversed manages to find the sweetness they had in the first film. They also avoid treading the same ground.

If one can’t recall any real development with Dash, his age doesn’t require any grand gestures. He is the constant mild irritant, there to prod movement.

Sam Jackson gets some fun sequences as Frozone once more. His superpower adds so much more to the enjoyment if for nothing else than the idea that it’s a little easier to avoid massive destruction when one smashes into ice.

Bird once more steals the film with his own costume genius Edna Mode. The sequence is a miracle of wit and intellect. Edna is a character that could have her own film, but is better in leaving us with a dash instead of a dollop

Is there any grand message to this film? Any overarching truth to be learned?  Not a chance. Still it beats out even most Marvel films for enjoyment, if for no other reason than it never pretends to be “live action.”

My youngest was perplexed that it took 14 years to make a sequel to the original classic. She has a point, because she wasn’t even born when The Incredibles came out. Maybe it takes that long to get the family dynamics Bird wrote to be so accurate and whip smart. For no other reason than this and the great animation, it is worth the wait.

(****1/2 out of *****)

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