By David Josselyn
Fourteen years ago, “The Incredibles” opened in theaters taking Pixar fans by surprise. Up to this point, Pixar had broken records using its modern computer-animated imagery to tell stories with depth, poignancy, and heart, but “The Incredibles” had every appearance of just another product of Disney animation.The surprise was this movie was every bit as good as “Toy Story,” “A Bugs Life,” “Monsters, Inc.,” and “Finding Nemo” that preceded it. Since Pixar had already released “Toy Story 2,” it seemed inevitable that a sequel to “The Incredibles” had to be just around the corner; evidently, a 14-year corner. So, was the wait worth it?
The story picks up immediately where the original film left off with the Parr family battling the Underminer who just poked his nose from below the city. The Parr’s successfully stop the Underminer’s machinery, but in the process allowed him to get away with a haul from the local bank and destroy quite a bit of property. Since supers remain illegal and this latest escapade gave no assurances to the government that allowing supers to be… super would change the cost of the outcome. The Parr family is forced to live in hiding (a remote motel), but their fortunes change when they meet Winston Deavor, a billionaire who wants to see supers restored to legal status. It turns out that Winston’s parents were killed by an evil-doer during the beginning of super-repression and Winston assumes they could have been saved had supers been accepted by the government. In response, Winston has developed a program that uses underground supers to stop crimes and recruits Elastigirl to be the figurehead (he feels Mr. Incredible is a bit too destructive). Now Bob juggles new math with Dash, emotional angst of Violet, and baby Jack-Jack developing powers of his own, while Helen is risking her life to prove supers should be legal by illegally using her powers.
Depth. Not just a superfluous comic book movie, Pixar once again dives deep to tackle questions of what makes someone a hero, women’s rights, justice, jealousy, ethical dilemmas of doing wrong and being right, and the influence of media.
Music. As he did for the original, Michael Giacchino scored the movie using an elaborate mix of horns and strings with a jazzy Southern feel, bringing back familiar themes with some new ones.
Context. The themes addressed in this movie are both universally relevant and current. The story would have been very different had this come out shortly after the first movie. The film brings in current issues that we are grappling with as a nation.
Thievery. Dash steals a car (using a remote control) using the justification that it was his dad’s old car and they needed it for an emergency. Although he gets the “you’re in trouble, mister” look from dad, he never faces consequences for his theft.
Extras. Not extra people, but extra scenes. Marvel Studios has spoiled me and many people who stayed through the whole credits expecting a little something; alas, there was nothing. Shouldn’t this be a standard by now?
“Incredibles 2” is a very entertaining movie that keeps you invested for a full two hours with relatable themes and good action sequences; and yes, at least one tear-forming scene (at least as a parent). The movie is rated PG for action sequences and some brief mild language and I feel it was fine for the whole family. Plenty of stuff for the young to the old; although a couple expositional scenes could get long for the young ones. I laughed, I gasped, I teared up, and I had a smile on my face the whole time. I saw the film with a large part of my family and they all gave it ratings on a scale of five. My beautiful wife gives it four and a half blackberry lavender fire suppression devices; my lovely daughter gives it five new-math homework problems; my stalwart son gives it four and a half theme songs; and my delightful daughter-in-law gives it five baby powers. For my own rating, I considered that it was not as good as the first, but got bonus points for tears in my eyes, so I give it four and half suit cams.