Starting where we left them 14 years ago, The Incredibles return with Helen at centre stage. After the events of the previous film, an attempt is made to make superheroes legal with Elastigirl as the family’s primary hero whilst Bob is left at home to take care of the kids.
Brad Bird has returned to write and direct the follow up to the best version of the Fanstasic Four we will ever get. It may not reach the heights of its predecessor, however it’s a worthy sequel thanks to its inventive action sequences whilst keeping it about family.
When we left our favourite superhero family at the end of the first film, they were facing the Underminer, a villain who comes from the underground to launch his attack. Their proceeding efforts to thwart him get the family arrested under the breach that they are no longer supposed to be active. A lot of property damage later and the Parr family are living in a motel with no backup plan after the superhero programme is shut down. It doesn’t take long for a new opportunity to arise in the form of philanthropist Winston Deavour and his tech genius sister Evelyn, who want to see the heroes of their childhood back in the limelight. A plan is presented which involves putting Helen at the centre with Bob side lined to take on a challenge of his own: staying at home to look after the kids.
With a 14 year break between the two films you’d be forgiven for assuming that there would be a time jump however Brad Bird stated that he wanted to have some time in between the two films if he were ever to do a sequel. Continuing in this way has allowed the dynamic to switch between Helen aka Elastigirl and Bob as Mr Incredible naturally expects to be the at the centre of this new scheme. Elastigirl truly takes the reigns of this film and steers it in her direction, calling back to her old interview where she doesn’t want to leave it to the men to save the world. She takes on a new villain known as Screenslaver who preys on those who rely on technology and can enslave anyone using any sort of screen or monitor. Her chase scenes and fight sequences are proof of Pixar’s technology improving due to their slickness.
Whilst Bob may feel he’s been sidelined, some of the best moments comes from his struggles at home as he attempts to remain as grounded as possible. His issues in dealing with Dash’s homework (“Why would they change math?!”) as well as Violet whose adolescence kicks into full gear are aspects which many parents can relate to. However without question it’s Jack-Jack who becomes the biggest challenge as he steals every scene with his adorable innocence, especially when he becomes part of an unlikely double act. He comes into his own with the multiple and unpredictable powers he possesses during a scene which has to be one of the finest Pixar moments as he faces down a raccoon. It’s a sequence which matches that of any classic silent comedy.
Most comedy sequels amplify the personality of its characters, be they main or supporting, there seems to be some ridiculous shift in how they behave. However The Incredibles 2 keeps its characters on a believable level, with each interaction feeling natural and needed. Especially when Frozone is being yelled at by his wife again and Edna is as Edna as ever. Whilst not as good as the first it is still a worthy sequel, going deeper thanks to the dynamic switch and showing the mounting pressure parents are under their children no matter what. It’s a thrilling film with some incredible sequences better than most modern action films we have whilst keeping it’s heart and family values firmly at the centre.
4 out of 5.