Much like the first film, Incredibles 2 is good but not stand-out.
The Parr family, after their exploits against the villainous Syndrome, are still at odds using their powers for good in a world that rejects superheroes. But when a corporation looks to promote Elastigirl to restore the superhero public perception, Mr Incredible needs to take care of the kids…
Cinema Cocoa has a pretty controversial opinion of 2004’s The Incredibles. Even back in 2004, the superhero genre was already becoming rampant (within the five years before it released, we had X-Men, X-Men 2, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Blade, Blade 2, Daredevil, Hulk) and while it wasn’t as intensive as it is now, when Pixar joined the party there was an air of disappointment. Pixar are more inventive than that. Pixar go against the trends.
So when a sequel was finally released, fourteen years later, it isn’t merely a little baffling but it didn’t particularly excite. Bear in mind, the target audience for this film weren’t born when the first film was released! Yeah… Feel old now?
So Incredibles 2 is coming from an unusual place, and it is even more unusual that Pixar made the decision to not give a time jump; the story takes place perhaps mere months after the first film. So the first act of this film pulls double-duty; the need to re-introduce us to Bob and Helen Parr and their kids, it also wants to hit the ground running. It also, despite the superior animation of human characters in Pixar’s other release this year, Coco, relies on continuing the stylized look of the characters in 2004. Which is nice to see, but somewhat jarring today.
The entire film is strangely similar to the first time.
We still have the dark cloud of the characters suppressing their natural gifts to fit in to a world that doesn’t accept them, we get one of the parents being whisked away by a mysterious third party so they can be heroic. We have a secretive and non-super-powered villain, and a clashing of mundane lifestyle and superheroics. It feels like a film designed around a few great ideas, but padded out with quite tedious dramatic scenes (particularly restless children in the audience will be bored by half-hearted attempts at family strife) and too-familiar action set pieces. Honestly, this is perhaps the first time watching a Pixar film was reminiscent of an Illumination Studios production…
How many times have we seen a superhero stopping a runaway train?
So with the familiarity to the first film, the familiar action sequences and transparent twists, makes Incredibles 2 worryingly forgettable. Which is a shame… Over the last fourteen years Pixar for some reason focused on sequels for their movies about inanimate objects, fish, and cars, instead of their property that actually involves distinct human characters. On the whole, it feels like wasted potential.
But, there are those aforementioned “few great ideas” throughout this film. While chasing down a runaway train is all too familiar, the motorbike given to Elastigirl for this sequence is amazingly cool. It also goes without saying that the animation and effects were excellent. But perhaps the greatest moments of the film, much like the 2004 film, are the mundane family moments dispersed with superhero antics; namely Bob’s struggle and growth as a stay-at-home father, trying his best to control three kids of different ages. There’s a lot of fun around Bob discovering baby Jack-Jack’s insane superpowers! The third act did not feel as excessively action-packed as the first film either; escalating quite nicely into a battle with multiple superpowers at play, with synergies and combinations also being displayed with great effect.
The film felt a little drawn out, a bit too similar to the original to feel warranted after fourteen years, but it had some good moments dispersed throughout. Whether or not that makes the over two hours worthwhile or not is entirely up to the audience. Kids may find some of the rather padded dialogue tedious, and adults will find the screenplay predictable. For a Pixar film it wasn’t tremendously emotion-filled either.
But it was fun at key moments, just not as memorable as maybe it could have been.