After a long 14 years, Pixar Animation once again delights audiences with “Incredibles 2,” a family-oriented superhero film directed by Brad Bird and produced by John Walker and Nicole Paradis Grindle. The action-packed feature was perfectly suited for both kids and parents this past Father’s Day weekend and stands out from the ever-running flood of comic book movies.
The story picks up where the original “Incredibles” left off with the Parr family, comprised of Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Helen Parr/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner) and Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) and jumps straight into their fight with the Underminer. Lucius Best/Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) joins them, completing the main cast of characters from the original.
The rest of the movie introduces Winston (Bob Odenkirk) and Evelyn Deavor (Catherine Keener), an influential brother-sister duo who run a telecommunications company named DEVTECH. Since Winston is a big fan of superheroes and misses the days when hero work was legal, the Deavors call on Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone to help them prove to the public and politicians that heroes deserve to be in the spotlight again. This time, however, Elastigirl is asked to champion their cause while Mr. Incredible takes a backseat to keep care of the kids.
Outfitted with a new suit and motorcycle, Elastigirl steals the show as she returns to vigilante hero work. Her power to stretch and shape her body to her needs make each scene feel fresh and dynamic. One outstanding sequence in particular features Elastigirl driving up and over buildings like an inchworm on her “torquey” wheels, a feat that turned a standard chase scene into a stunning showcase of her abilities and their city, New Urban.
All of the action in the film is perfectly accompanied by a jazzy, primarily brass soundtrack by Michael Giacchino, who also made the soundtrack for the original “Incredibles.” It plays homage to spy thrillers and highlights the full glory of the idealized 1960s setting. Every scene reflects a true love for bygone days of Art Deco style.
The heart and humor in the family ensures plenty of laughs and warm, fuzzy moments. From Jack-Jack beginning his first stint at crime fighting with a neighborhood raccoon to Violet and Dash playing hot-potato with babysitting Jack-Jack, the kids all feel like real and capable heroes in their own right.
“Incredibles 2” falls short in one regard, and it is about its central plot, or lack thereof. Like many so-called “popcorn movies,” the identity of the villain Screenslaver is obvious, and their goal to thwart the return of heroes is never fully discussed. When they monologued in one suspenseful scene as Elastigirl snuck into their hideout, their reasoning made a surprising amount of sense. However, when it came down to the wire, their logical argument was literally thrown out the window in favor of a mesmerizing final fight.
Additionally, many scenes in this movie proved dangerous for epileptics. Screenslaver’s attacks include sequences of bright, black and white flashing lights that can last up to two minutes and may cause dizziness, watering eyes or seizures for epileptics. No warning was present before or during the movie to prepare viewers for these scenes.
Despite these shortcomings, “Incredibles 2” is still a fun movie with enough humor, style and emotional impact to make up for the missed opportunity for a compelling commentary on our era’s obsession with superhero movies. The characters and story are faithful to the original and prove once again that love and family saves the day.
Stephanie Wallace is a writer and copy editor for the Collegian and a graduate student in cultural studies. The views and opinions expressed in this review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.