While the first movie was about so much more than what it was about, an indictment of Bush-era politics and the war on education, Incredibles 2 manages to capture the same adventure and delight of the first movie, without giving much attention to the deeper layers. Thankfully, with writer-director Brad Bird back at the helm, the movie is visually fascinating, hilarious, wonderfully performed, and fairly constant entertainment rush for its seemingly brief run time.
Picking up just minutes after the first one ended, with the super-heroic Parr family, Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), his wife Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), with their children Dash, Violet and Jack-Jack, with an assist from pal Frozone (Samuel Jackson) working to save the city from the threat of the Underminer. Unfortunately, “supers” are still illegal and the Incredibles are forced back in to hiding and debating what happens next. Enter entrepreneur Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), and his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) who have a foundation working to get supers legal again, by pushing Elastigirl into the spotlight. As she runs off to her new gig, Dad is left home with the kids, trying to manage math, boy trouble, and a baby with early-onset powers.
The movie is delightful throughout. The spotlight shift to Elastigirl doesn’t feel forced or out of place, and Mr. Incredible doesn’t feel sidelined because of it. The only one who does feel backburnered is Dash, whose infectious enthusiasm was one of the first film’s highlights. Here, he mostly takes a back seat to his brother, whose development of at least seventeen different powers is a much more immediate concern. The action sequences are simply wonderful to watch, with Bird having a uniquely keen sense of space and flow and with a supporting group of supers adding a bunch of new powers to the mix. Just as in the first, the mundane is balanced with the incredible to tell a story more about the marriage and family than about heroic feats in general.
While it is a lot of fun, it just doesn’t have the same levels as the first. It’s great to see Elastigirl in the spotlight more, and it has stuff to say about women in particular balancing career and family, and despite the timeliness, this was obviously in production well before metoo was a hashtag. I just wish there was a little bit more to chew on in what I’m sure will be numerous repeat viewings.
My Grade – B+