Taking place almost immediately after the first film, The Incredibles 2 may just be the best Pixar sequel ever.
When The Incredibles first came out in November 2004, the superhero genre was not as saturated as it is now. To bring the family of superheroes back some fourteen years later meant that writer-director Brad Bird had to deliver, what with the current market being what it is. This is a good problem to have. It makes one work even harder to deliver a compelling story. Seeing the first film is a plus but it’s not really necessary to do so.
Bird wisely starts off the action of the new film where the original left off as The Underminer (John Ratzenberger) is terrorizing Municiberg. When we last saw the Parr family, Bob/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), and their children, Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Dash (Huck Milner, replacing Spencer Fox) were just starting to suit up and save the day. Despite the battle with The Underminer, Rick Dicker (Jonathan Banks, replacing the late Bud Luckey) informs the family that the Super Relocation program is being shut down.
While superheroes are still illegal, help is on the way in the form of Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener). They want to use The Incredibles and Frozone/Lucius Best (Samuel L. Jackson) to help make superheroes popular again. Elastigirl becomes the face of the movement while Bob takes a backseat at home. We get a better look at parenting that we rarely see in a superhero movie. The films focus on saving the day rather than the ups-and-downs that come with parenting. The new villain, The Screenslaver, hides behind screens and makes it so much harder to fight as such. While this is going on, Jack-Jack is starting to develop his own superpowers even though he’s much too young to handle it all.
The end credits are so beautifully designed with a nice call-out to sound designer Ren Klyce. There’s no end credits tag but staying through the credits is worth it for this alone. Michael Giacchino’s score, no surprise here, is very fitting for the superhero genre. It’s a fresh take that stays true to the spirit of the earlier film.
While a real-time sequel would have been perfectly fine, this one works just as well. One major casting change was made because of the timing. Fox was replaced by Milner because of the vocal changes that come with growing up. The only other key recasting is Jonathan Banks replacing Bud Luckey as Dicker. Luckey passed away earlier this year and the film is dedicated in his memory.
I’ll be perfectly honest. I went into the screening of the film not having seen the predecessor. I watched it later that night on the DVR as the film aired on Freeform. While seeing the film would have enhanced the viewing, it shows that The Incredibles 2 can work well as a stand-alone film.
While Inside Out and Coco are neck and neck for arguably the best Pixar movie ever, The Incredibles 2 just barely edges out Toy Story 3 for the best Pixar sequel.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Brad Bird
CAST: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Samuel L. Jackson, Brad Bird, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Jonathan Banks, Sophia Bush, Isabella Rossellini
The film is preceded by the 7:40 short film, Bao, directed by Domee Shi about an aging Chinese mother suffering from empty nest syndrome. The film runs to the sentimental side.
Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios will release The Incredibles 2 in theaters on June 15, 2018.