Review of “The Incredibles 2”

There are no spoilers in this review. 

The Incredibles is one of my favorite movies ever, be it animated or live action. The scene when Elastigirl turns herself into a boat while Dash serves as a human propeller and Violet sits in the boat and sulks is the only time I literally couldn't stop laughing while watching a movie in a theater. Like so many other people, I've been wondering why Pixar/Disney has managed to turn out two sequels to both Toy Story and Cars without doing one for The Incredibles after almost a decade and a half. 

In fact, it's been so long they had the main actors (Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, and Samuel Jackson) offer a mea culpa intro before the actual film in which they apologized for the delay but promised that it would be worth the wait. A bold statement to be sure, but if any company could make such a claim, it's Pixar. And after watching it I have to admit, happily, they were right. I can't go into too many details without giving away spoilers, but the film touches on a number of important current themes, including female empowerment and our growing enslavement to our phones and laptop. It manages to make adjustments to the cast of characters from 14-years ago in ways that totally works for the present moment without feeling forced in any way. 

Plot-wise it picks up right where the first movie left off, with the arrival of the Underminer after Dash's track meet. Soon after it makes the central plot twist relative to the first movie to have Elastigirl, rather than Mr. Incredible, take center stage. It does so in a totally believable way while continuing to deliver the emotional impact and technical excellence of its predecessor. Regarding the latter aspect, an early scene involving Elastigirl chasing down a runaway train has yet again steamrolled my expectations for what can be achieved through animation. The wizards at Pixar somehow keep churning out movies on a regular basis while resetting the bar for what's possible every time. 

I won't go so far as to say that Incredibles 2 is better than the first movie, but I will go so far as to say it's 95% as good. If I have any complaint it's that the movie's pace is a bit unrelenting, although never to the point that it distracted me from the story. Also, some new superheroes were a bit dorkier than I would have preferred, but not a big deal. Other than those quibbles I had no complaints. 

One safety disclaimer: if you or any of your children have epilepsy (as one of mine does), you might want to wait to see this movie at home, or perhaps (I hate to say this) avoid it altogether. There are a number of scenes in which full-screen stroboscopic effects are used and I've read some articles saying it has triggered seizures in some viewers, so please be forewarned.

Review of “The Incredibles 2”

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