By masterfully pacing comedy with action sequences "Incredibles 2" is a rare movie that will satisfy every family member and proves that you don't need formulaic gimmicks and tricks to make the film entertaining.
I admit, I was very skeptical with “Incredibles 2” since last several Pixar movies were heavily influenced by Disney’s decision to make as much money as possible, instead of presenting original ideas. That was also supported by the fact that this film is a sequel. It seemed as another attempt to milk cash cow of nostalgia. Boy, they surprised me!
The Parr family has a problem. While trying to prevent another villain from bank robbery they not only let him escape, but also inadvertently destroy half of the city. Public outcry over the actions of Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and their children – Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack – leads authorities to shut down all superhero activities and force all superheroes to live their secret identity lives forever. Bob and Helen are devastated by the idea of going back to pretending to be regular people, when they are contacted by a billionaire Winston Deavor, who is a great supporter of superheroes. He has a plan to make superheroes legal again. For that they will have to change people’s perception about superheroes. And the ideal candidate for this PR campaign is Elastigirl. However, Helen is reluctant about leaving her husband and kids. Albeit his frustration, Bob persuades Helen to accept the offer, promising to take care of the kids while she is out, saving the World. After all, how hard is it looking after the kids?
Of course, Bob is wrong. Film takes two distinct separate paths after this. We follow the adventures of Helen as Elastigirl, trying to regain superheroes their name and fighting a mysterious villain. The other storyline is Bob realizing the true meaning of parenting. Not only he has to deal with teenage Violet, but also keep troublemaker Dash at bay. All while taking care of infant Jack-Jack, who turns out to have incredible superpowers. Plot constantly shifts between these two narratives. While Helen’s narrative is full with action scenes and adventures, Bob’s storyline has comical and down-to-Earth approach.
With regard to specifics, I found the comedy part very well written. The jokes didn’t feel forced or fake. They were genuinely funny and I also specifically enjoyed the fact that jokes were situational and totally kids oriented. None of the jokes were due to any obscure pop culture reference, a witty remark or some sarcastic whip. This is what the family movie needs. Also, I think first time in a long while in a Pixar/Disney movie I didn’t see any mentally challenged comic relief pet/animal. I have no clue what the fascination of Disney is with having those animals around (rooster in Moana, dog in Coco, etc.), but “Incredibles 2” doesn’t need such a devise.
I also enjoyed that film stays light by not pushing a heavy social message onto a viewer. There are no fake drama moments, no artificial tearjerkers. And while I am sure a lot of viewers are expecting “Finding Nemo” or “Coco” like emotional connection, “Incredibles 2” will most likely disappoint them. But why should Pixar include these moments into every film? Why not make a truly enjoyable film that doesn’t rely on anyone dying or losing memory or what not?
One more thing that is worth mentioning is that “Incredibles 2” is one of very rare superhero films that don’t concentrate on a villain. So many superhero movies these days thrive on bad guys (see “Avengers: Infinity War“, “Wonder Woman” or even “Dark Knight Rises“). Instead, the main plot of the film is about being a family.
Brad Bird returns to directing Pixar movie, first time since “Ratatouille”. And what a return that is. Since his brief stint as a live action director (which also included his debut film “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol“) we can assuredly say that he learned new tricks and perfected old ones. While his old animated films had satisfactory action scenes, they were never masterful. In “Incredibles 2” Bird’s action sequences are precise and full of excitement. Fights are well choreographed and neatly edited. As a matter of fact, I think “Incredibles 2” have the best action sequences in history of Hollywood animation.
The constant shift of narrative from Bob to Helen and back is what makes “Incredibles 2” work. Of course, two narratives eventually diverge into one, but for the majority of the film we have balanced action/no action staging which doesn’t bore the viewer. This all despite the fact that film is whooping 118 minutes long (longest for any Pixar film). I was pleasantly surprised that the long runtime never actually affected the experience.
“Incredibles 2” is a rare family movie that will satisfy every single family member, old or young. By masterfully pacing comedy with action sequences, Brad Bird gives us a truly enjoyable experience that never bores during a long runtime. And while film doesn’t have a big emotional reveals or tearjerker moments, that has been so over-utilized by Pixar and Disney, “Incredibles 2” shows that you don’t need formulaic gimmicks and tricks to make the film entertaining.