A lot has happened in the animated Pixar universe in the 14 years since we last saw the incredible Parr family of superheroes. After taking home an Oscar for 2004’s The Incredibles, writer/director Brad Bird scored another win with 2007’s Ratatouille. Pixar (and Disney) wracked up a smashing series of successes with Cars, WALL-E, Up, Toy Story 3, Inside Out, Finding Dory and, most recently, Coco, to mention a few.
As you may recall, when we last saw the retro Parrs – father Bob aka Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), mother Helen aka Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), sullen teenage daughter Violet (Sarah Vowell), energetic son Dash (Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) – they were forced to tread softly after a sequence of unfortunate events put being a superhero in jeopardy. Fellow crime-fighting best friend Lucius aka Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) suffered a similar fate.
In Incredibles 2 (Disney/Pixar), the Parrs are given a chance to redeem themselves and prove to the citizens of their bustling metropolis that they can’t live without them. But not before an attempt to stop the villainous and destructive Underminer (John Ratzenberger) threatens their future.
Enter the wealthy brother/sister Devtech telecom team of Winston (Bob Odenkirk) and Evelyn (Catherine Keener) Deavor. On a two-person mission to restore honor to the Parrs, and all superheroes, they offer Elastigirl a job as a way to capture Screenslaver, the new bad guy. Screenslaver utilizes hypnosis to carry out his sinister and deadly plot, often incorporating goggles that force the wearer to carry out his evil deeds.
Half the fun of experiencing Incredibles 2 is watching the characters uncover the true identity of Screenslaver. However, if you’re savvy, you’ll probably guess who it is, long before it’s revealed.
Nevertheless, as with its predecessor, Incredibles 2 looks great. Maintaining the early `60s mood in combination with more contemporary attributes, Incredibles 2 is timely (especially the commentary on tech) and timeless.
But what you really want to know is if scene-stealer and superhero couturier Edna Mode (Brad Bird) is present and accounted for. She is and she’s funnier and feistier than ever. When it’s discovered that Jack-Jack is in possession of multiple superhero powers, he becomes Edna’s prize project, and this subplot becomes the movie’s undeniable high point.
Unexpectedly violent, as if the Incredibles team needed to prove they were worthy of being on the same Disney family tree as Marvel, Incredibles 2 also keeps the laughs coming (especially in scenes involving Jack-Jack). The introduction of additional superheroes, including Reflux (Jack Eiding), whose power has to be seen to be believed, may also offer a clue as to future Incredibles sequels.
As Pixar sequels go, Incredibles 2 is closer to the Toy Stories than to Cars. Rating: B