LOS ANGELES, CA-Mr. Incredible the homemaker. Who would have thought? Disney-owned Pixar got it right the first time with The Incredibles. They got it right again with The Incredibles 2. Fourteen years ago, Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter) and their superhero family allowed us to sit back and made us enjoy every second of the moviegoing experience that beautiful filmmaking is supposed to be about.
It is quite the challenge for a filmmaker to duplicate a successful model after a 14-year hiatus.
After all, The Incredibles (2004) raked in over $633 million worldwide in global sales and wound up being nominated for four Academy Awards. The $92 million budgeted film wound up claiming two Oscars (Animated Feature, Sound Editing) and wound up as some sort of cultural hitmaker with the incorporation of family values, humor, suspense, and good old-fashion action hero stuff.
R&B group Shalamar suggests on their smash single that “The Second Time Around” might be better than the first time. That’s about the best way to describe The Incredibles 2. If you had fun the first time around, the second trip to the theater to watch the Parr clan is hilarious and good fun entertainment.
The nearly two-hour film shows its adaptability to stay current with the times as The Incredibles 2 take on family narratives of reverse-role parenting, a daughter (Violet Parr, voiced by Sarah Vowell) going through the lovestruck teenage stage, a young whippersnapper (Dashiell Parr, voiced by Huck Milner) who sort of relishes tormenting his sister, and a cute, adorable little one (Jack-Jack Parr) who provides the film’s biggest bang for its buck.
When watching The Incredibles 2, the writing is so clever and in tune with reality-check themes of unemployment, debt worry, feminism, and the complicated layers within the family structure that there is something about this project that anyone us can identify with. There are certain times during the film where it almost feels like deja vu moments for yourself, which makes The Incredibles 2 a timely film, even if it does appear 14 years after its predecessor first hit theaters.
The time evaporation between The Incredibles and The Incredibles 2 very easily could have squashed any momentum the second film takes from the first movie. But it doesn’t. In fact, The Incredibles 2 picks up the baton where The Incredibles left off and sprints to the tape in a photo finish with a dash of outstanding funny moments and Marvel-action sequences.
With all of that said, the nitty-gritty of The Incredibles 2 comes down to the Parrs, with the assistance of family friend Frozone (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson), saving the world again. How the superfamily arrives there is a winding road of superheroes being pushed deep into obscurity where no one cares or wants them around anymore. As such, Mr. Incredible is beside himself.
Then when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a throwaway, rich dreamer (Winston Deavor, voiced by Bob Odenkirk), a man who longs for superheroes to get back on the scene, it is Elastigirl who becomes the chosen one to lead the way in fighting crime.
This, of course, flips the family dynamics. While Elastigirl is off being the breadwinner of the family by doing her part to combat crime, Mr. Incredible is out of work and is stuck at home, plundering his duties as Mr. Mom. This dynamic is a reality for many families today and certainly makes The Incredibles 2 an instantly relatable film. The family-oriented theme is what makes The Incredibles 2 tick.
With all the dimensions of superhero action films out on the market, The Incredibles 2 makes for a different type of moviegoing experience. It is a welcomed one. The Incredibles 2 moves fast in the film’s many action scenes as it does when the Parrs try to shake off some of their dysfunctional family blues.
The typical good versus evil banter plays out pretty well as every member of the Parrs, including Jack-Jack (voiced by Eli Fucile), eventually shows off their individual super talents to push back hard against the villainous deeds conspired by Evelyn Deavor (voiced by Catherine Keener). One of the more pleasant surprises in the animated film is the improvement in the role that Frozone has. Jackson’s well-matriculated voice gives The Incredibles 2 a little more (and needed) thump in its punching power.
But the real showstopper of the film is not Frozone. It’s not Mr. Incredible. It’s not even Elastigirl. It’s the smallest member of the Parr family. Sometimes being overlooked has its advantages. The Incredibles 2 authenticates this simple truth.