Sunday, 23 December 2018

The Incredibles 2

While certainly one of the less outright iconic and emotionally affecting Pixar movies, I definitely think of the first Incredibles movie fondly. It's nice to see what happened next, even if after a frenetic opening with plenty of interesting character dynamics, we find out that not much has changed.
In an effort to get Supers legitimized again, Mr. and Mrs. Incredible team up with a telecommunications firm who essentially aim to improve their PR. Because Mr. Incredible is so destructive, they choose Mrs. Incredible - AKA Elastigirl - as their opening gambit, meaning Mr. Incredible is left to be a single dad for a while. That leads to some very funny and well-judged scenes of Mr. Incredible alternately struggling, seeking help and having genuinely sweet breakthroughs with his kids.

This is most likely the strongest portion of the movie. The rest of it suffers somewhat from not really seeming like anything special. Brad Bird's best movies are when there's really heavy emotional hits - The Iron Giant will likely always be his masterpiece - but there aren't really meaningful emotional stakes here. The bad guy was only ever going to be one of two possible new characters (or possibly both) so there's no weight to the reveal. Despite the fun set-up of Elastigirl getting the limelight and Mr. Incredible having to deal with his conceptions of his own superiority, that kind of gets left undeveloped when the battles kick off and everyone has to get involved. It also seems a bit weird that nobody reacts to the latest episode of the Supers causing massive damage because of a supervillain who basically exists only because Supers exist in the same way that they always did, too. Overall, the story felt too much like an episode of a spin-off TV show and honestly, it wasn't a whole lot different from Despicable Me 3

There were some great moments as usual. Edna has always been the best thing about The Incredibles and that remains true here. Baby Jack-Jack is adorable and a fun element of chaos in the mix. I loved the theme songs they made for the characters at the end, especially Frozone's funky one. And I liked Violet going from shrinking violet to stroppy teen. From the trailers I wasn't sure, but by the end I was won over by the new direction they took her, and her moment when her father apologises to her probably is the scene with the most heart. 

Obviously, the visuals and animation are top-notch as always, with elements like fire, ice, underwater scenes and midair battles all spectacular throughout. Wouldn't have minded a post-credits scene, though.