Incredibles 2

Such is the position of Pixar as one of the pre-eminent global entertainment brands, a standing greatly helped by their partnership with Walt Disney, that it seems astonishing that in the twenty-three years since the release of Toy Story they are only on twentieth cinematic feature, Incredibles 2 picking up the action immediately where The Incredibles ended as the Underminer rises from beneath to attack Metroville, almost as though the fourteen years had not passed in the interim.

Some days go better than others, and while Bob, Helen, Violet and Dash Parr are on hand, so is Jack-Jack, the presence of the baby hampering the attempts of Mr Incredible and Elastigirl to control the hazard before enormous collateral damage is inflicted upon the city for which they are held responsible.

Worse, while the Incredibles are pushed to the limit stopping his runaway engine of mass destruction the Underminer himself escapes and Violet is spotted in costume-sans-mask by one of her schoolmates, now able to identify her and potentially compromising the whole family in a world increasingly hostile towards the outlawed supers: “Politicians don’t understand people who do good because it’s right; it makes them nervous.”

Fortunately, the Parrs have friends in powerful places, telecommunications magnate Winston Deavor and his slightly more reticent tech genius sister Evelyn, who want to relaunch the superhero brand to demonstrate to the world how vital they are to protect the innocent from such threats as the Underminer and the newly emerged Screenslaver.

It may be well over a decade since they last appeared on screen, but within moments of their return in Incredibles 2 the Parr family establish that they remain the best at what they do, entertaining with outrageous style and ease, the crown jewels of a studio who continually prove that they are beyond all competition in the animated family adventure market.

A James Bond plot driven by International Rescue technology, Michael Giacchino’s score never forgets the superspy background, and even as writer/director Brad Bird took much of The Incredibles with him when he moved to live action for Ghost Protocol so here he returns with a flavour of the Impossible Missions Force, expanding the roster of heroes and their powers as the challenge becomes greater.

The flawless mannerisms of the characters, the texture of the clouds, the lighting of the city, the vastness of the sets from the Parr’s ultra-modern new home, courtesy of the Winston, to the run-down tenements and fire-escapes of Screenslaver’s lair of cathode-ray tubes and oscilloscopes, all are a gloriously realised retro-future, and during the dynamic action sequences the film seems almost an unstoppable force.

This is not to say Incredibles 2 is flawless; at over two hours it is aimed at a family rather than a young audience and there are numerous slow scenes of characters talking where younger children will fidget as well as discontinuities such as the Parr’s surprise that Jack-Jack is super despite him having used his powers to escape from Syndrome at the conclusion of the first film, not to mention all that the babysitter witnessed in short Jack-Jack Attack.

Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell and Samuel L Jackson reprising their roles as Bob, Helen, Violet and Lucius “Frozone” Best, they are joined by Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Isabella Rossellini and Barry Bostwick while Huck Milner takes over the role of Dash; Bird himself makes a welcome return as Edna Mole but arrives too late in only a minor role.

The slight plot taking second place to the visuals, Incredibles 2 is nevertheless surprisingly subversive considering the business empires who have created it, making it clear that legal and right are not necessarily synonymous and expressing disappointment at the forgone conclusion that the rich are impervious to prosecution, an endemic failing of society at odds with the powerful sense of justice Bob and Helen Parr have instilled in their family.

Incredibles 2 is currently on general release and also screening in 3D



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