MONTE YAZZIE / FILM CRITIC –
In the age of superhero overload, it’s interesting to remember that 14-years-ago one of the best superhero films was the animated Disney Pixar film “The Incredibles.”
Before Marvel’s venture into the comic book franchise, the superfamily lead by husband and wife team, Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, was the best version The Fantastic Four cinema had seen, in fact they still are.
Director Brad Bird, who made his foray into Pixar’s animation fold with “The Incredibles”, returns to continue the saga with the sequel. Picking up almost immediately following the events in the first film, Mr. Bird easily loops the 14-year gap between the films with beautiful designs and fantastic action in the first few minutes.
It’s clear that “Incredibles 2” wants to be entertaining but also follow the flow of the contemporary action designs audiences are more than accustomed with.
Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), are in hot destructive pursuit of one of the many bad guys in the fantasy 1960’s city they live in. Once the smoke settles, the team is interrogated by the police because of the destruction; the age of superhero is made illegal by the government, forcing the crime fighting family into hiding.
It doesn’t take long for a nostalgia driven businessman to make room on his roster for the husband and wife team to put their masks and tights back on to promote a changing of the tide for the supers. However, only one is needed and Elastigirl is given the spotlight while Mr. Incredible is forced to stay home and take care of the family.
Fourteen years of time hasn’t stopped the advancement of technology, which is evident from the first frame of this film. The design is impeccable; the shiny suits, the close-up textures of characters faces, and the action set pieces are amazing to look at. You’d almost want the movie to move a little slower just so that your eyes can draw in the rich details.
Director and writer Brad Bird fashions “Incredibles 2” in the vein of other superhero films with a balance of the necessary amount of exposition and amusing action sequences that break everything up. The revisit to these characters is still quite interesting to watch; Mr. Incredible is begrudgingly tasked with being the family man while Elastigirl is provided room to shine as the lead superhero, and the kids continue to encounter the growth that comes with adolescence.
Young Jack Jack (Eli Fucile) steals the show as a growing infant who displays numerous humorous abilities, Dash (Huck Milner) and Violet (Sarah Vowell) are each going through the growing pains as well. The chemistry of the kids is very fun.
Still, the narrative suffers a little bit from wanting to introduce too much into the details. At two-hours long, the film moves swiftly in some ways but stalls to a crawl in other ways. When details about feminism, family, and empowerment make an appearance, the film glows with character. But when issues concerning the government’s involvement and the spousal miscommunications that happen between the couple, the film loses traction.
While it’s all good stuff to discuss, some of the topics become lost in the mix of it all, overshadowed by stronger emotions and the continuous push for action.
“Incredibles 2”, after being gone for some time, feels a little late to the superhero party in some ways. Still, the action and characters are top tier, making it fun to go on the adventure. Even amidst some minor hiccups, the film has lots of heart and displays a great message about the superhero strength found within the family dynamic.
Dir: Brad Bird
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Catherine Keener, Sophia Bush, and Samuel L. Jackson
3.50 out of 5.00