It’s an interesting benefit of a film being animated that a sequel can be made 14 years after the original film’s release and the action of both movies potentially only covering about a month’s worth of time for the characters.
As The Incredibles 2 opens with the attack of ‘The Underminer’, the closing moments of the first film and including one of my favourite spoken gags in any movie, it will be interesting to grab it on Blu-Ray in a few months and watch the two films back to back to see how well they fit together.
As a single, self-contained, movie, The Incredibles 2 has to juggle the expectations of an audience now familiar with better quality superhero films to the point of over-saturation and carrying 14 years of nostalgic good will for its predecessor. Returning to write and direct, Brad Bird seems to handle the expectations and pressure easily and delivers a sequel that has no issues being compared to the original.
It’s a different type of superhero story for this film, taking a few pages out of Captain America’s book and leaning into political thriller tropes more than the original film’s James Bond style plot. It works very well, but I did have to remind myself at one point that it’s a family film and Bird’s script was intended to be understood by people of all ages, not just those with decades of experience watching movies, so there are moments that seem too obvious when you know the tropes but are by no means out of place or poorly considered.
With a reversal of Bob and Helen Parr’s roles within the family as Helen secures work and Bob assumes the housekeeper role, The Incredibles 2 also shifts its focus from Bob to Helen and, to a lesser extent, Violet. While Bob, Dash and Frozone still have plenty of time to grow and participate in the plot, especially around Jack-Jack, it’s nice to see the women of the family get a chance to really shine.
A consistently excellent part of Pixar’s film-making, possibly due to the collaborative elements of animation, is the quality of the world building. There are so many small touches and well thought out ideas throughout the film that really give it a sense of being complete and lived in. It also livens up the action sequences with interesting ideas and creative uses of various characters’ powers.
A special note has to be given for Michael Giacchino’s score. Building on his work for the first film, Giacchino maintains the camp and bombastic nature of the setting while building on the tension of the scenes and really enhancing the story’s impact.
If I was to directly compare it to The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2 is a slightly flimsier story that blends the elements for the kids with the elements for the adults in a smoother way. It doesn’t quite have the emotional weight of the original but feels more cathartic in its resolutions.
The Incredibles 2 is in cinemas now.