Written and directed by Brad Bird
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Samuel L. Jackson, Catherine Keener, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks
The Incredibles have been on the shelf ever since the governments of the world outlawed superheros. When businessman Winston Deavor (Odenkirk) offers a chance for a comeback, he starts with Elastigirl (Hunter). Now she’s trying to save the world while Mr. Incredible (Nelson) learns how to be a stay-at-home dad. As she gets back into the hero business, Elastigirl discovers that her new job is not what it seems.
In 2004 Pixar created The Incredibles. It was released through their partnership with Walt Disney Pictures. These companies came back together 14 years later to bring audiences the sequel. Like the first film, The Incredibles 2 was written and directed by Brad Bird (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol). The sequel brings back the voice talents of Craig T. Nelson (The Proposal), Holly Hunter (The Big Sick), Sarah Vowell (Please Give), and Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight). The new voices in the movie include Huck Milner, Catherine Keener (Get Out), Bob Odenkirk (The Post), and Jonathan Banks (Mudbound).
This story attempts to bring the audience back into the unique world of the first film. Brad Bird opens up with a fun introductory sequence that has good action and some fun dialogue. Unfortunately, this opening sequence is followed by a first act that is both slow and uninteresting. The writing attempts to create a family drama within the bigger story, and it falls flat. Only late in the film does the story deliver on the title of the movie and the expectations of the fans. Most of the central characters are sidelined for new faces that aren’t really interesting. The writing also plays things far too safe. The story is predictable and the payoffs come far too easy. The dialogue is decent, but aside from good one-liners, this doesn’t do anything special. This is a movie that kids will love, but fans of the original might leave feeling disappointed.
The material was weak, and in an animated feature there isn’t much of a chance for the actors to elevate it. Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter do a nice job reprising their roles in this one. Their continued chemistry is evident in the quick exchanges they have throughout the film. Sarah Vowell also comes back with a nice performance of her own.
Samuel L. Jackson does great work in this one, but his character is terribly underused. The new faces in the franchise also do nice work in their roles. Huck Milner does a good job filling the shoes of Spencer Fox with an energetic performance. Catherine Keener also does a nice job with one of the new characters in the story. Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks also add nice performances of their own. There aren’t any bad performances, but the script didn’t create any really special moments.
The production work on this film is solid. Pixar knows how to make things look good, and this is no exception. The visuals connect nicely with the first film, creating a world that the audience should be familiar with. The sound work is solid as well, including the score. There is one major issue with this one. The opening title card of this film is a warning about how people with epilepsy might be affected by some of the visuals. The scenes in question are hard to watch. The intense flashing lights are headache-inducing and take away from the action. It’s strange that the people at Pixar went with a warning rather than better visual choices.
Fans have been clamoring for a sequel to The Incredibles for years. I’m just not sure that this is the sequel they were hoping for. The writing really misses the mark, and the visuals just aren’t enough. I’m sure some people will see this just because they loved the first film. Die-hard animation fans might also find reasons to check this one out. If you’re still undecided you might want to skip this one and just enjoy the first film again. I give this one 1.9 out of 5 stars.