After a long fourteen year wait, The Parr family have finally returned to our big screen in the long awaited sequel; Incredibles 2 which sees our favourite crime fighting family don the red suits once more. Many people (including myself) were worried that the film wouldn’t be able to live up to the hype after such a long wait, but Brad Bird once again hits it out of the park and adds this film to his already impressive resume.
The film immediately starts where the original left off and the world is exposed to Superheroes once more, but after encountering the dastardly Underminer, Superheroes are once again seen more as a liability due to the amount of collateral damage, echoing that of Captain America: Civil War. The family goes into hiding, only to be approached by a telecommunications mogul; Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) who wants Mr. Incredible, Elastagirl and Frozone to spearhead a new movement to change the public’s view on Superheroes and make them become accepted again, eventually leading to the heroes battling a new foe: the Screenslaver.
As far as sequels go, this is excellent. It is able to balance the nostalgia of the original with new and exciting features. One of my favourite features of this film was how it blended a retro look with a cool futuristic design, whilst still maintaining its 1960s vibe and is genuinely aesthetically pleasing to look at on the big screen. Pixar’s ability to push the boundaries of computer animation is once again front and centre as they craft a visually striking world coupled with expertly crafted cinematography that is very reminiscent of old spy/noir films.
Unsurprisingly, the soundtrack for this film is superb. Michael Giacchino, who continues to be one of the best composers around at the minute, proves himself to be a musical force to be reckoned with through his excellent compositions which channel classic noir films of the era, whilst also serving tasteful callbacks to the original film.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this film is that it makes the Parr family deal with everyday issues that everyone can relate to, superhero or not. From self confidence to first love, we are able to connect with them. I imagine for parents as well there are plenty of relatable moments for them, although I have a feeling that none of them have had to grapple with the issues of a baby going through a super power phase (although I imagine at times, raising a child must feel similar), which in true Buster Keaton style gives us the best scene in the film. A key theme the film focuses on is how people spend too much devoting ourselves to screens and technology by letting them dictate our lives which echoes too much of real life, allowing the villain to be able to gain control over people and hypnotise them because of this.
The film also focuses on gender inequality which I enjoyed as it swaps the roles round and puts Elastagirl at the forefront while Mr. Incredible has to stay home and look after the children. It was quite refreshing to see in a time where superhero films are so testosterone driven that a female superhero can indeed lead a film as we saw with Wonder Woman last summer and will do the same with Captain Marvel next year.
Ultimately, I think Brad Bird’s decision to wait until he had solid foundations for this film was the right one as he crafted a story that was able to go toe-to-toe with the original at times and whilst not being quite as good as it’s predecessor, it was still…incredible. The only real downside of the film was the antagonist, I found The Screenslaver to be somewhat dull and lacking the gravitas that Syndrome had in the first film. Apart from that however, it was fun, heart-warming and most of all, enjoyable. It was nice to see characters like Frozone returning once more and also how it expanded the world by introducing more superheroes for the Parr’s to interact with.
Watching this film also made me remember what an excellent director Brad Bird is, as he is able to blend excellent story telling with action sequences that are well paced and exhilarating, much like those he directed in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. We may have had to wait fourteen years for this, but it still works its magic by making audiences who watched the original back in 2004 come back for more!