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Incredibles 2 - Review

The Incredibles 2

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IT’S hard to believe that Pixar’s Incredibles is now 14 years old. But it remains one of the company’s greatest films.

This belated sequel, while perhaps not as game-changing or original in this new age of superhero domination, is no less enjoyable. Indeed, it’s a blast. Returning writer-director Brad Bird has maintained the energy, the humour and the intelligence to ensure that this is on a par with Pixar’s Toy Story sequels rather than the more run-of-the-mill Cars or Monsters University follow-ups.

Set 17 seconds after the original (and thereby picking up in its immediate aftermath), the film still finds the Incredible family shackled by the need to remain anonymous given that superheroes are still illegal.

Seeking to change all of this as much as the ‘supers’ themselves are the brother and sister team of Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and Evelyn Deavor (Catherine Keener), whose late father was a huge advocate for the post-war first-generation superheroes. In a bid to honour his legacy, they launch a new PR offensive to persuade the government to change their minds and reverse the ban.

They also promote Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) as the face of their campaign, leaving Mr Incredible (Craig T Nelson) at home to look after the kids, including baby Jack-Jack, who is developing an exceptional range of super powers of his own.

Needless to say, the plan to reverse the ‘supers’ fortunes isn’t quite what it seems and it’s only a matter of time before a new enemy threat has emerged, prompting the Incredibles to come back together for the greater good with the help of old ally Frozone (Samuel L Jackson).

If we’re being ultra picky, then a lot of the actual plot adheres to typical sequel conventions. It’s more of the same, only bigger and more spectacular. Bird still seeks to toy and/or breakdown superhero conventions by having his heroes have to do the right thing secretly, and also uses the tried and tested plot device of having one of the film’s villains be someone that initially seems good [and that’s not really a spoiler].

But he conducts proceedings with such panache that you’ll be having too much fun to notice. The set pieces are eye-poppingly good fun, effortlessly combining epic spectacle with inspired humour, and he even slides in some social commentary, with a villain using society’s addiction to TV (for that, read social media and all forms of screening) to brain-wash other victims into enabling them to carry out evil acts.

By placing Elastigirl at the forefront of the action, he also ensures Incredibles 2 is every bit the feminist superhero flick of the moment.

Crucially, however, he doesn’t lose sight of the characters. And the Incredibles themselves remain as endearing as ever, especially Nelson’s put-upon Mr Incredible, whose plight at the hands of his kids is something that any fatigued parent can relate to.

Indeed, some of the film’s very best scenes come from the home struggle, which bring a humanity and down to earth quality that’s missing from so many superhero films.

There’s also a new scene-stealer in town. Baby Jack-Jack is a comedic gem: a battle with a raccoon being one of the film’s highlights in which Bird gets to exercise a level of hilarity not seen since the heyday of Tom & Jerry or even Wiley Coyote and Roadrunner. It will get family members of every age laughing into the aisles.

Incredibles 2 is therefore another Pixar masterpiece. A follow-up that may not surpass the achievements of its illustrious predecessor, but which still manages to deliver a classic in its own right. You’ll have a blast.

Certificate: PG
Running time: 2hrs 5mins
UK Release Date: July 13, 2018