The Incredibles 2 - This Movie Rocks Incredibly
Dir: Brad Bird
Starring Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Brad Bird, Catherine Keener, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks
So, you wait 14 years for a sequel to a much-loved original. How’s that gonna go? Can it live up to expectations? Can what was once so incredible still be…well, incredible? The answer here is - yeah, pretty much. With certain caveats.
What Incredibles 2 represents is Brad Bird bringing what is uniquely him back into the Pixar fold (after his dalliance in the world of “real” humans via Mission Impossible.) Equally important, this is Pixar bringing 14 intervening years of filmmaking innovation back into the super heroic world Bird created all those years ago. And on top of all that you have the very basic – but HUGE! - fact that the whole notion of super heroes that Bird so brilliantly subverted back in 2004, has moved on to the point of unrecognizability. Just think – the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe didn’t even exist when Brad Bird first made the best version of the Fantastic Four EVER!!!
But cleverly he decides to ignore all that in the macrocosm – even if the micro is fully aware – and picks up I2 almost immediately after the original ended. Everyone is in the same place and, possibly taking a nod from his original stomping ground of The Simpsons, none of the kids have aged, allowing new arrival Jack-Jack to start making mom and dad aware of just how powerful he may well be.
There is a plot of course, there are villains – even super villains - but, like before, The Incredibles 2 is a movie that is mashed through the sieve of family life. It’s where it finds its humanity and a great deal of its humour. And (again like its predecessor) this is a really funny film, eager and easily putting most of its live action comedy contemporaries to shame. As ever with Pixar, one joke is generally three (at least) with background action colliding or hiding behind foreground dialogue to make everything a feast to see. And, once again as ever, it’s smart as a whip and remarkably timely, with the public perception of heroism being diverted to Elastigirl, as opposed to her husband Bob, now forced into the role of stay at home dad. Which of course is no surprise to those of us that have known what a hero Holly Hunter is since Raising Arizona (let alone Broadcast News.)
Needless to say, events escalate, family loyalties are stretched (no pun intended) and then reinforced in the best way that Disney/Pixar have proven expert at. But one of the many great things that 2 retains from 1, is its subversive acceptance and advancement of such tropes. And it – very simply – knows a good gag. And – even more importantly – in its last twenty minutes it may well deliver the best action movie of the year (bar possibly Tom Cruise jumping out of that plane, which has yet to be seen.)
No, it’s not the original, or even better than the original. The shock of the new has passed – to make a really great sequel to a really great movie you have to go deeper, darker or somewhere else it seems, witness Empire Strikes Back or Godfather Part II.
But it’s as good as could be hoped for – and better than just about anything else in town. (We’d say it was “Incredible” but that would be so fucking obvious. Little children – look away now. Sorry, too late!)
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