“I love superheroes!” enthuses Winston Deavor, one of the major players in Incredibles 2, and it’s pretty clear that writer/director/Edna Mode Brad Bird does as well. It was a long wait for the sequel, and I’d pretty much figured it wasn’t coming. This is not the first, and probably won’t be the last, time I was happy to be wrong.
One of the big pieces of the world in the first Incredibles was that superheroes were outlawed and forced to live underground. Well, billionaire Winston Deavor doesn’t think that’s right, and wants to change things. His big moment comes pretty much when the first movie ends, and the Under-Miner attacks the city. The Parr family leap into action, with help from Frozone, to stop the swath of destruction. This causes a lot of press attention, and Deavor jumps on board, recruiting the heroes he can find to start changing people’s minds.
Because even an idealist like Deavor isn’t foolish enough to ignore the numbers, the hero with the best chance of winning hearts and minds while causing minimal property damage is Elasti-Girl, much to her surprise, and the stunned devastation of Mr. Incredible. So, she gets back in costume and back in action while he stays home to care for the kids.
They could have done a predictable riff on the typical “Man can’t handle taking Woman’s place at home” bit, and while there was a slight bit of it, they gave Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible credit for being more than just a walking pile of super-strength, and he learned. That was a nice change. Of course, Jack-Jack’s developing host of abilities didn’t make anything any easier.
There’s an obvious plot with the re-legalization of heroes, a big flashy villain (really flashy, if you have migraines or other light related issues that are triggered by flickering lights, take care here), and a slow reveal of much more intricate plot. Aside from an interesting debate about heroes and their place in the world, what made the movie for me was the powered action sequences. I’ve been a superhero geek since I can remember (one of my earliest memories is my grandfather reading, of all things, Secret Origins of the DC Superheroes to me), and these were great to watch. It wasn’t just big impressive movement, it was the really creative use of the powers that impressed me. Elasti-Girl stopping a runaway train was particularly impressive.
Eventually, the villain is revealed, the plot is foiled, the domestic issues are mostly dealt with, and the family comes together. Like in the first movie, the villain’s motives make a certain kind of sense if you look at the world through their crazy lens. There are some good family scenes, because whether you’re just trying to get through high school or dealing with developing super-powers, family is family and we can all relate to some of it. This was a great thrill ride, with the original characters back in action, and a few cool new ones (I love Void, even if her power seems to be straight out of a popular computer game).
I really hope we don’t have to wait another 14 years for a third one, which they kind of hint at in the credits. There are a few bits in the credits worth staying for, although not really a “credit scene” like Marvel has become famous for.
What I liked: Just about everything. This was great superhero fun with some really original ideas about how to use powers I’ ve seen many times before. Brad Bird must be as big a hero fan as I am. The family scenes were well done without being too sappy. I love that they didn’t make Mr. Incredible a bumbling idiot when their roles were reversed. A lot of the new characters have a lot of potential. The racoon was great (you’ll get it when you see it).
What I didn’t: There were only two things that bothered me at all. The first was a bit of a continuity glitch between movies regarding Jack-Jack’s powers and who knew about them. I think something didn’t mesh there. The second was my disappointment at who the villain turned out to be, not because it was bad writing (there wasn’t any) but because I liked that character and kept hoping I was wrong after I figured it out.
I thought this was a great movie. If you’re at all a fan of costumed heroes, or just like a good action story, I strongly recommend it. I’ll go a very rare 5 out of 5 for this one.