Image credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Writer/director Brad Bird, along with the main voice cast of “The Incredibles,” have returned 14 years later to deliver “Incredibles 2,” and most people agree that it was worth the wait.
“Incredibles 2” caters to both younger and older fans who are there to see these characters for the first time or to reunite with them. The original holds up as many fans’ favorite Pixar installment and because of that it was next to impossible for the sequel to meet that expectation. In some ways, it surpasses the original in animation and action.
Elastigirl, voiced by Holly Hunter, carries the load for almost the entire second act when it comes to action, and the filmmakers expand on her abilities shown in the original to put together very impressive, fast-paced action sequences with her. These scenes are also where the modern day animation techniques are on full display. The animation of the original absolutely holds up, but the detail and scale of the new visuals are clearly a step up.
All of the returning characters are also just as fun and endearing as you remember them, and one of them in particular, Baby Jack-Jack, gets a big bump in screen time. Jack-Jack is a character who could be very annoying if they overuse him, but fortunately Bird finds a very happy medium for the character. Jack-Jack has one action scene in particular that had my theater rolling and was one of my favorite scenes in the entire film. Edna Mode, voiced by Bird himself, and Jack-Jack’s relationship is also one of the highlights. I’m hoping that Pixar releases some kind of animated short with the two of them together similar to the “Jack-Jack Attack” short film that was made with “The Incredibles.”
With all of those overwhelming positives returning from the original, there is still clearly something missing, the villain. Syndrome, voiced by Jason Lee, was the perfect foil for the first film and fits the criteria for a great superhero villain. We understand his motivations; he’s intimidating, and his plans make sense. Without revealing anything about the film, our sequel villain doesn’t have those things. The creators take brief moments to try and make you empathize with the villain, but ultimately there’s nothing like Syndrome’s relationship with Mr. Incredible for us to get attached to. Younger audience members will likely be surprised, but for older viewers, there probably aren’t any twists that you won’t see coming. There are also several new side characters introduced and while some of them have interesting designs and powers, only one of them is given any kind of personality. That doesn’t detract much from the movie because they don’t get too much screen time, but you’re definitely waiting to get back to Elastigirl, Mr. Incredible or the kids whenever they’re not around.
Overall, “Incredibles 2” doesn’t quite stand up to the original, but I’m not sure how it could have. The action scenes and score are an improvement, all the returning characters you love are still great and while the villain and screenplay aren’t as perfect as the first, this is still a must-see for this summer.
Griffin’s score: 8/10
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