Reviewed by Galen Strickland
I'm not sure why I waited so long to see this. Incredibles 2 was at first-run theaters for close to two months, then at our discount house for another month, where it would have been just 50¢ on Tuesdays or the first showing on Saturday, only $2 otherwise. Yet I waited even longer, until it came to Netflix. It might not be there long, probably moving to the new Disney streaming service whenever it launches, so I finally watched it yesterday. Outside of a select few Disney classics, I consider the first Incredibles (reviewed by Eliza DoLots) to be at least my second favorite animated film, the only other modern one in contention also from Brad Bird, The Iron Giant, which I really need to re-watch and review one of these days.
It's a good thing animated characters don't have to age the way we do, since it took almost fifteen years for this sequel to arrive, yet it picks up right where the first film ended, with the Incredibles battling the Underminer. They are not able to prevent him from robbing a bank, and they don't apprehend him, although they are able to keep his drilling machine from doing even more damage than it might have otherwise. They don't have much time to worry about him, since a new villain shows up almost immediately. The ScreenSlaver is someone who is able to hypnotize others to do their bidding. About the only thing I can criticize is that I figured out their identity long before the reveal.
Unsurprisingly, the animation detail is even better than the first film. I've read where Bird used both traditional and computer generated animation for Iron Giant, and I'm assuming only computers for the first Incredibles. I haven't done any research on this one, but it would not surprise me if they used some real-life sets here, overlaying the characters and effects via computer. Two scenes specifically looked so real, the motel parking lot, and the ship and ocean waves toward the end. If it was all computer generated, even more reason to be impressed. I had read the consensus opinion was this was not as good as the original, but I disagree. True, the initial wonderment of the family coming together as a team was over, but how that partnership solidified even while each were undergoing personal problems was just as interesting. Bob has to grapple with the fact his wife is just as capable as he is, Violet struggles with balancing her powers and responsibilities with just wanting a normal teenage life, while Dash has to learn a bit of humility and discipline. In spite of all the exciting adventures they have, both separately and together, Brad Bird nearly stole the show again in the guise of Edna Mode, world-class fashion designer, who has a fascination with the Parr family and wishes to reward them with her best work.
The villain makes sense too, as it did with the first film. Both were people who wished to strike back at supers who were not there to help when they needed them, their intelligence affording them the means to exact their revenge. We don't have to worry about Syndrome again, since they perished in the plane explosion in the first film, or at least we assume they did. ScreenSlaver could escape prison to wreak havoc again, but if there ever is another film in this franchise, or a TV series, let's hope they come up with a new villain. It would be more enjoyable than all the frequent recurrences in the Batman universe. If I cared to criticize or nitpick about anything else, I'd have to ignore this is fantasy and not subject to logic, but how does it make sense for the children of supers to all exhibit completely different powers? Bob, Helen, and Dash seem to only have one power each, but Violet has at least two. How does Jack-Jack manifest so many, and which ones will become dominant? If he doesn't learn how to control them, the new freedoms granted to supers might be short-lived.
I'm sorry I waited so long to see this. I re-watched the original on Blu-Ray just before this, for about the fourth time, and I will likely buy Incredibles 2 as well, since it won't be available streaming forever, and I'll want to check out what I hope will be numerous extra features. I've rated both films a 9 on IMDb.
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