One of my most favorite animated movies of all time is probably Brad Bird’s The Incredibles (2004); I watched it as a kid and it blew my mind. I watched it multiple times after that and I still love it for its comedy, fast paced action, likeable characters and fun villain. As an adult I love The Incredibles for clever commentary on the superhero genre (monologing villain), fifties setting and surprisingly dark adult themes (midlife crisis, depression, family difficulties etc.). So it was only natural, that I would be thrilled for the sequel, it took long fourteen years finally to came out. So is it as good as the original? Let’s find out…
The answer is: “No”. No it is not good, is it devoid any qualities? No, there are some redeeming qualities, the film looks really great, modern computer animation as usual for Pixar is top notch, fifties setting is even more apparent (which I like a lot), design for the new characters is creative and couple of times I wish, I could pause the movie just admire them. The action is creative and quite fun. Voice acting is kind of a mixed bag, it is pretty good, but the actor’s voices are quite noticeably aged to say the least. With all that being said, what’s the problem then?
Well, it’s the story, main villain and sadly protagonist (Elastigirl). Let’s start with the story, the film is set immediately after the first movie and the family tries to stop The Underminer (John Ratzenberger), but they are unsuccessful, also superheroes are still illegal. With all that (their home is destroyed and government no longer supports them), they are forced to move to motel. Luckily Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) are approached by wealthy businessman and his sister with a plan to make superheroes legal again. This time Elastigirl is the main character in the movie, while Mr. Incredible stays home to take care of children. My problem with the story is, that it is quite similar to the first movie.
1) Superheroes are illegal.
2) One of the parents is approached by a company to do some superhero shenanigans, while other one stays at home with the kids.
3) Villain has no superpowers, but is technological genius.
4) Villain has a problem with superheroes.
5) Climax is in the air.
6) It looks like superheroes are legal again.
7) The credits are 2D graphical events from the movie.
This wouldn’t be a problem, if this was some generic superhero sequel, unfortunately I came to expect something more from Incredibles II and more importantly from Pixar, say whatever you want about Cars II (2011), but at least it’s not the rehash original movie.
As I mentioned before, Helen Parr (aka Elastigirl) is basically a main character, similar how Bob Parr (aka Mr. Incredible) was a protagonist of the first movie and honestly I think that this was great idea. If it actually worked properly, and this my dear reader probably one the worst aspect of this movie. Elastigirl is basically the same character from the beginning to the end, she doesn’t learn anything, she doesn’t experience anything that would change her character or something that would challenge her beliefs. Audience didn’t learn anything about her. Does she have a past, friends, colleagues, other superhero associates, anything? The only character that actually change or faces any problems is Mr. Incredible, he learns that parenting is hard and he can be a good father that helps his children with their struggles, but again what about the protagonist? If the protagonist doesn’t experience anything that resembles mental struggle or change, why should audience care about anything in the movie?
This is the only part where I get into spoilers, mainly about the main antagonist, because I can not explain without spoilers why this villain is so bad. So the main villain of the movie is Screenslaver, who can hypnotize people and honestly this is one the worst villains I have ever seen in any movie (superhero or animated). There is also an obvious twist, that the real villain actually is Evelyn Deavor (Catherine Keener), the reason for her hatred of superheroes is that, when she was a child her father was a superhero fan, but during the night he was killed by some robbers, when he tried to call two superheroes and she thinks that he should have gone safe room with the rest of the family and somehow she thinks that it is the fault of superheroes and people are to depending on their protection. Ok, but what if he tried to call the police? Very same case can be made about police or military. Motivation is lame, but whatever, so what is her plan? She works along side her brother Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) who wants to make superheroes legal again, kidnaps a pizza delivery man, who poses as Screenslaver, helps Elastigirl to get him captured. Then she helps her brother, to point where superheroes are almost made legal again (government officials even sign their relegalization on the ship), then she hypnotizes Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson), get them in front of TV cameras, where they declare that they are evil now and they want crash a ship full of people on a city. And somehow she thinks that no one notice those “hypno glasses” they’re wearing or how they acting completely different or how Screenslaver hypnotized news interviewer in similar fashion, or that everyone previously hypnotized has a memory loss, so when the pizza delivery man starts to talk he will say that the last think he remembers is delivering pizza to her. This is a plan of a technological genius!? She basically torpedoes her entire plan, how exactly does she thinks that she gets away with this? This plan is garbage!
Incredibles II is a very disappointing movie, especially if you are a fan of the original movie or Pixar in general. Is it a bad movie? Yes, while it is better than Cars II, but not much. The Incredibles is an original and clever movie, that even to this day has something to say, it wasn’t just for kids, it was also for adults. The sequel however is just for kids. While the animation for the first movie is a bit dated, the story isn’t at all and the sequel is just the opposite.
Rating: 4 or 3 / 10
P.S.: Jack-Jack has a prominent role in the movie, mostly comedic and anything he does isn’t funny at all.
Until then keep watching The Incredibles!