Incredibles 2

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Director: Brad Bird

Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Catherine Keener, Eli Fucile, Bob Odenkirk, Sophia Boyd, Brad Bird.

Written by: Brad Bird

Running Time: 118 mins

Cert: PG

Release date: 13th July 2018

Can it be 14 years since we were first introduced to The Incredibles? Pixar’s massively successful and impressive superhero adventure that played out more like a domestic sit-com than an action animation. With the rise in popularity of these films, it was inevitable that a sequel was on the horizon. Just seems strange that it has taken this long considering how popular the film was with both audiences and critics alike. The question is, was it worth the wait?

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Superheroes are still illegal and when The Incredibles take on the Underminer and fail, causing more chaos and destruction than was necessary, it seems the future for the return of heroes is looking bleak. Until the wealthy Deavor siblings, supporters of the Supers, want to change the public perception. The Deavors choose Elastigirl to lead the way, leaving Mr Incredible at home looking after the kids and discovering Jack-Jack’s newly emerging powers. Meanwhile, Elastigirl is winning the public vote but has concerns that a new menace, Screenslaver, is far more powerful and dangerous than even she can handle.

What made the first film so unique was its style. Planted firmly in 60’s kitsch, mixing traditional sit-com territory with a James Bond-esque sense of adventure, The Incredibles managed to balance the family difficulties with saving the world in a fun and inventive manner.  The bickering household as Mr Incredible, hiding his identity behind a boring office job proved plenty of jokes about ordinary life for an extraordinary household, leading to a joining of forces as the family who stays together, slays together.

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Writer and director Brad Bird return to the film with an exciting opening sequence that literally continues where the last film ends, as the family take on the Underminer. However, the film doesn’t move on as much as you hope and what we get is a very cagey reworking of the things that worked last time. The domestic stuff is still there, except this time it’s father who is the stay at home parent, coping with maths problems, a teenage girl’s rejections and, worst of all, the discovery of baby Jack-Jack’s multiple superpowers, while Mum is out making a living.

This is all well and good and the scenes where Mr Incredible is failing miserably are the ones that work best. The film struggles with the superhero stuff. We get introduced to a new batch of Supers, some with more interesting powers than others, pulled together by a less than interesting villain in the form of Screenslaver, whose motivations seem unclear and whose only power is hypnotising people. This doesn’t always work and unlike the villain in the original film, a disgruntled fan whose wants world domination to prove himself to the Incredibles, Screenslaver seems a badly underwritten baddie.

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Where this film does succeed are the scenes with Jack-Jack, who manages to steal the film right from under everyone’s noses. A hilarious sequence between the baby and a racoon is pure Looney Tunes and even Edna, the costume designer for the family, is pushed into second place over the baby’s often surreal antics. It’s these scenes that stand-out and tend to show how the others are just retreads of where we have been before.

The vocal talents are all back on form, with Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter leading the way, while newcomers Catherine Keener and Bob Odenkirk are welcoming as the brother and sister Deavors, and the animation is still as impressive as stylised as it was before, helped with a fun score by Michael Giacchino.

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Don’t get me wrong, Incredibles 2 is still a tremendously entertaining piece of work that is miles more fun than anything else that has come out in the family film department this year. I guess that having such a strong and impressionable daddy like the original, we are all hoping for a Godfather Part II or an Empire Strikes Back or even a Toy Story 2. Sadly, it just falls short but it’s still good to have the gang back again.

4/5

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