Brad Bird returns to Pixar with the follow up to the hugely successful The Incredibles with the studio’s most ‘woke’ offering. Sumptuously animated, frequently hilarious, full of subtle social commentary, and refreshingly gender reversed, Incredibles 2 is a blast!
It may have been 14 years since we first met the Superhero family of The Parrs, but writer/director Brad Bird picks up the story directly after the events of the original. A lot has changed within society over the past 14 years and Bird wisely incorporates current trends into the plotting. Whereas the original focused mainly on Mr Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), this one flips the roles and puts Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) in the middle of the action. An Incredibles movie for the #MeToo generation? Maybe, or maybe it’s just far more interesting storytelling at play.
After foiling a plot which stops The Underminer from destroying the city, Mr Incredible and Elastigirl are hauled into the police station for breaking the law given that Supers are still outlawed. Missing from the piece is Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson), who turns up later that evening at a hideout hotel the Parrs have been placed in. When he tells of a mysterious (and ultra wealthy) benefactor that wants to fight to cause to reinstate Superheroes, the pair are in. There’s one catch: they don’t want Mr. Incredible as their flagship Superhero, they want Elastigirl.
This means Mr Incredible has to face his toughest adversary yet: Parenting a teenage girl Violet, an overly boisterous ten year old Dash, and the baby Jack Jack who’s got gifts all his own.
With the emergence of a new big bad super threat that Elastigirl must face, the two paths of saving the world and saving the family are on a crash course to collision!
What works so well in Incredibles 2 is that the women are up the front and centre of the story. All of the central characters have something to do and a plot device to chew on as the film propels along its 125 minute trajectory. A well drawn commentary on our smart phone and screen dominated culture adds a nice touch, as does the clear nod to how tough parenting can be.
The retro pastiche is ever present and the set pieces are sumptuous to look at. The digital animation throughout is in a class all its own and the action set pieces are as impressive as they are inventive.
As self referential as ever, Incredibles 2 happily pokes fun at itself throughout the journey and ne’er feels like it’s plodding or bogged down. It’ a credit to Bird that he can maintain the freshness in such a high concept story. The time apart between films has certainly serviced the result in spades (if only some other franchises would take the same leaf).
INCREDIBLES 2 is in CINEMAS NOW!