In the 14 years since the original Incredibles, the superhero genre has changed almost immeasurably. While, for the most part, the sequel avoids the new traditions and tropes that have sprung up, the comic-book movie boom has still affected Pixar and Brad Bird’s approach. Whereas the original placed its emphasis more on family than adventure, here it’s the superheroics that get the most focus. It makes for a film that’s less rich and emotionally involving, but that doesn’t stop it from being an absolute blast.
Picking up right where the first film left off, superheroes are still outlawed, until nostalgic billionaire siblings the Deavors (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener) invite Helen Parr/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) to be the face of a re-legalisation campaign. While she jets around the country fighting a shadowy villain known as the Screenslaver, it’s up to Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) to take care of the kids.
This plot is a little slight, but the action has taken a significant step up. The use of powers is more imaginative, and the animation is more kinetic and exciting while maintaining a charming cartoony simplicity. Back at home, Bob’s frustration and exhaustion at being a single parent to three children is very funny and warmly observed, though the show is largely stolen by baby Jack-Jack.
His burgeoning powers – encompassing everything from laser eyes to fourth-dimensional teleporting – make him a slapstick delight, and he remains utterly adorable despite being possibly the most powerful being in the world.
The voice acting remains top-tier – Incredibles 2 marks the best Samuel L. Jackson performance since Hateful Eight – and the half-‘60s, half-modern world is still aesthetically fantastic. It might not be at the original’s level, but this is still Pixar’s best non-Toy Story sequel, and hugely entertaining from start to finish.
CAST: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner
DIRECTOR: Brad Bird
WRITER: Brad Bird
SYNOPSIS: Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) is left to care for the kids while Helen (Elastigirl) is out saving the world.