I have a confession to make: I don’t watch a lot of superhero movies. That isn’t necessarily from a lack of interest. It’s just that I never read many superhero comic books as a kid. While Batman and Spider-Man made up a large part of my comic book library; I mostly stuck to stuff like G.I. Joe and horror comics. As such, I never developed much of an attachment for most of these characters in movies like Justice League or The Avengers. I don’t hate superheroes though and I have seen my share of movies based on comic book characters. In fact, I remember seeing the first Incredibles movie at the movie theaters and being quite taken with it. The movie was not only a satire of superhero movies but it was also a competent film for the genre in its own right. I am pleased to say that this is also true of the sequel, Incredibles 2.
Despite having to wait fourteen years for this sequel, Incredibles 2 takes place exactly where its predecessor left off. You may recall that the Parr family had attended a track meet only for a villain known as the Underminer to appear. The sequel begins with the titular hero family taking on the Underminer but the collateral damage from the incident leads to “Supers” being declared illegal again. Even Ricker, the government agent who kept in contact with the Supers and placed them into new lives, has lost his funding. Still reeling from the destruction of their home in the first film, the Parrs are placed into a hotel for two weeks and then are on their own.
This is where a a wealthy mogul and his inventor sister step in. The brother wants to initiate a campaign to get public support for Supers and reinstate their legality. He proposes starting with Elastigirl since she tends to cause less property damage than her husband or Frozone. Meanwhile, Bob Parr is the one who stays with the children at their newly supplied home and discovers little Jack Jack’s powers.
As an action movie, Incredibles 2 shines. The most thrilling parts of the movie are masterfully framed and paced. The cast turns in excellent performances as well. If the movie is lacking in any department, it is the writing. I am not saying that Incredibles 2 is badly written by any means. The movie merely lacks the emotional punch of earlier Pixar films. Helen is convincing enough in her determination to capture the technologically sophisticated villain and Bob is amusing as he struggles to be a supportive father for his children. Violet frets about living a normal life as a Super. Dash truly suffers here – he has no arc and is little more than a plot to device to move the story forward. Dash doesn’t even have an extended chase sequence like he did in the first movie. As you might expect, most of the humor revolves around Jack Jack’s powers and how the other characters react to them.
In terms of structure, Incredibles 2 is identical to its predecessor – the good guys have their struggles but unite to save the city. The differences lie in the details – this time it is Helen who is in the key role while the villain doesn’t seek to enable more people like Syndrome did. To its credit, the film has an expanded roster of Supers. My favorite is Void who was voiced by Sophia Bush. She throws portals around and uses them in ways that convinces me that the writer and director must have played the Portal games.
At the end of the day, Incredibles 2 is the perfect summer movie. It’s light, lots of fun and perfectly suitable for the entire family to see. The writing may not have been as strong as what we’ve seen from other Pixar films but everything else here is masterfully crafted.