Amazing, spectacular, fantastic, uncanny… these are superlatives that have been used to describe various superheroes over the years. One, in particular, is not only in the title of this movie, but can also be aptly used to describe the film itself – incredible.
This sequel to 2004’s The Incredibles picks up immediately after the end of that film, with the attack of the Underminer (Pixar lucky charm John Ratzenberger) on the city.
Hence, the Parr family of supers – super-strong Bob/Mr Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), “flexible” Helen/Elastigal (Holly Hunter), force-field generating and vanishing Violet (Sarah Vowell), super-fast Dash (Huck Milner) and the supposedly powerless Jack Jack – are thrust into the thick of action from the get go.
This gives us a great look at the true extent of their powers and how they work together as a family, and also that of the ice-powered Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) as well.
Unfortunately, superheroes are still considered illegal in the world, so the Parrs’ actions lead to the Super Recollection programme being cancelled and the family consigned to live in a motel with nowhere to go.
Enter telco tycoon Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), who wants Elastigirl to be the face of his campaign to make superheroes legal again.
Her first mission leads to a confrontation with a villain called the Screenslaver who has been causing all sorts of incidences in the city of New Urbrem.
Meanwhile, with Helen taking on the role of main breadwinner, Bob stays home to take care of the family, which is easier said than done, especially when Jack Jack starts to manifest a variety of different powers.
It’s been 14 years since Brad Bird produced The Incredibles, not only one of Pixar’s best movies ever, but also arguably one of the greatest superhero movies ever made (can you believe that it was actually released four years before Iron Man, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first movie?).
Happily, the sequel not only lives up to the original standards, it also manages to surpass it in many ways. It’s funnier, for one, with the adorable Jack Jack stealing most of the laughs, along with the returning Edna Mode (voiced by Bird himself). He also manages to give all the members of the Parr family significant roles to play, and good old Frozone gets a lot more action as well.
There’s also a lot more depth to the story, and explores the superhero genre in ways that live-action movies, even those from Marvel, have never been able to do. With the main characters and their powers already well-established, Bird is free to go full-throttle on the thrilling action sequences, and also push the limits of their superpowers in a way that only an animated feature would be able to manage.
If there’s one thing I have to complain about this movie, it’s that the villain and plot are a little predictable. But that’s just a really small gripe about a movie that surpasses even my lofty expectations of Pixar movies. As with last year’s Coco, the animation studio has crafted one of the year’s best films, animated or otherwise, one that is best summed up with one word: incredible.
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Director: Brad Bird
Voice cast: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Samuel L. Jackson, John Ratzenberger, Brad Bird, Huck Milner, Jonathan Banks, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Sophia Bush, Isabella Rossellini