Before “Incredibles 2” begins, writer/director Brad Bird and stars Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson and Samuel L. Jackson, apologize on screen for the 14-year-wait between the very popular and successful original “The Incredibles” and the sequel. It’s kind of adorable because the kids in the audience were too young to see the original and have probably watched it 12x at home and as adults a 14-year gap in Incredibles movies is likely the least of our worries. The 2004 movie won the Oscar for best Animated Feature and brought in $633 million. No worries, “Incredibles 2” had the biggest opening weekend ever for an animated film. Bigger than all those Toy Stories and fish movies and even “Frozen.”
“Incredibles 2” (PG) begins immediately where the first one left off and unless you have an amazing memory, you wouldn’t recall that involved the villain The Underminer and a really big power drill.
Bob “Mr. Incredible” Parr and Helen “Elastigirl” Parr and their Incredible kids, Violet (Sarah Vowell), a teenager who can become invisible and Dash, who runs super fast, are frustrated because crime-fighting superheroes are illegal. When Winston Endeavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) reach out to The Parrs to help redeem the reputation of superheroes, they’re all in.
But because the brawny Mr. Incredible causes more damage and costs the city more money, the Endeavors recruit Elastigirl for their non-evil plot. So while Elastigirl stops a runaway monorail, Mr. Incredible stays home with the kids, dealing with Dash’s math homework, Violet’s teenage melodrama and baby Jack-Jack’s diapers and emerging superpowers, which involve an epic brawl with a raccoon.
Of course, since it’s a movie sequel law now, there must be many extra superheroes. In addition to Jackson’s Frozone from the original, who is literally the coolest superhero ever, there are several other relatively inconsequential caped crusaders.
I love the look of Incredibles 2” which apparently is set in 1962. The family lives in an HGTV-worthy mid-century modern home. The phones have cords, the cars are cool, the buildings are cool, the fab music by Michael Giacchino sounds like something out of a 1960’s detective show or a Rat Pack movie. Even the credits are retro cool.
There’s plenty of humor in “Incredibles 2,” especially on the homefront with Bob and the kids. Nelson is terrific at parental frustration. I’m also a big fan of Vowell, who is best known as an author of terrific historical non-fiction books. I’ve listened to her quirky voice on several audiobooks and it’s perfect for an animated teenage girl.
The story might not be as well crafted as “Coco” or as emotional as “Up” or “Toy Story 3,” but it serves its purpose. My biggest complaint is there is not enough Edna Mode. The tiny but forceful fashion designer with the blunt bob and oversized glasses is the only thing I really remember from the first movie. Brad Bird voices the character so you’d think she’d get more screen time. And she really should have designed Elastigirl’s outfit which isn’t particularly flattering.
You can’t go wrong with a movie like “Incredibles 2.” I mean, it’s Pixar right? Everyone leaves happy. And you get a bonus short animated film before the movie, “Bao,” a slightly perplexing tale about a lonely Asian woman who misses her grown son and a dumpling, yes the kind you eat, who comes to life. It sounds strange, because it is, but it’s also sort of lovely, just not as great as my favorite short, the Oscar-winning “Piper” (2016).
Incredibles 2: 4 out of 5 Stars