Incredibles 2 (2018)
Directed by Brad Bird
In 2004, Pixar released “The Incredibles,” which might have been my favorite animated movie of all time had it not released just a year after “Finding Nemo.” Nemo got his sequel two years ago, but Pixar made audiences wait a whole 14 years to revisit the super Parr family. “The Incredibles” set a high bar, but “Incredibles 2” is, as its name suggests, incredible too.
Set immediately after the events of “The Incredibles,” “Incredibles 2” finds the Parr family—Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), and their kids Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Dash (now voiced by Huck Milner, but you probably won’t notice a difference)—taken by surprise by The Undertaker’s (John Ratzenberger) attack on the city. When their efforts to save the city do only slightly more good than harm, they get help from a pair of rich telecommunications executives, the Deavor siblings (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener), to help save their image (plus the image of supers around the world). But a faceless villain with a manifesto calling for societal change threatens to put their hard work to waste and wreck their reputation beyond repair.
In “The Incredibles,” the action-packed fight scenes were a blast—some of the most entertaining superhero scenes in any movie I’ve seen, animated or live action. But the villain himself, voiced by Jason Lee, was not a main focus. Instead, world-building and character development took center stage. Here, we still have a focus on the family, though the world is pretty much as we left it (with more of an emphasis on the retro 1960s style throughout, maybe). But now, we have a villain worth getting excited about. Screenslaver (a ridiculously ahead-of-its-time name if you remember that screensavers weren’t around at that time) is calling for people around the world to end their addictions to screens and help themselves instead of hoping that superheroes will do everything for them. The message is about as modern as it gets for a ‘60s-set superhero movie. But the mystery surrounding his/her identity, plus her/her ability to manipulate the minds of almost anyone he/she wishes to, complicates the Incredibles family dynamic that has always been so strong. It raises the stakes in ways that make “Incredibles 2” just as exciting as the first. “Incredibles 2” also does a lot with Jak-Jak’s newly discovered superpowers. Fans of the superbaby will delight in lots of Jak-Jak laughs.
We’ve waited too long to see this franchise in action again. I sure hope we don’t have to wait another decade and a half for an “Incredibles 3” (which wouldn’t be necessary but would sure be highly anticipated).