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Review: “The Incredibles 2” Worth the Wait

I’ve waited fourteen years for this sequel. I LOVE the original. It is one of the best pieces of animation along with some of the best voice actors around with one of the best superhero plots, better than some comic books and I wanted more a long time ago. Suffice to say, that this sequel was anticipated and I had high hopes from the trailers that it would at least equal the first film. I was right and it is all about Jack-Jack. It is all about family and it was highly entertaining from beginning to end.
At the end of the first movie, the Incredibles, Bob Parr / Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Helen Parr / Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Violet Parr (Sarah Vowell), Dashiell ‘Dash’ Parr (Huck Milner) and Jack-Jack Parr (Eli Fucile) have as a family defeated the villain and started fighting crime again, the kids helping. Even Mr. Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) joins in. But the laws haven’t changed and when the Incredibles fail to stop the bad guy and destroy city property along the way, the end of the superhero identity program ends and they are left to figure out the next step from a cheap motel. Along comes Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) who has a plan.
His plan is to make superheros legal again, with the assistance of his sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener). They recruit Elastigirl as their first spokesperson, demographics showing that she has less destructive tendencies and will be the best choice to change public perception. The plan is to have a super fight crime with a tiny camera so viewers can be part of the crime fighting, seeing what challenges the hero faces. It leaves Bob at home, taking care of the kids, Violet having romance issues, math challenged Dash, and Jack-Jack, soon demonstrating his array of powers. The plan is a success but Helen soon faces a new villain, whose identity eludes her and if she can’t take down Screensaver, her whole family and the plan to legalize superheroes will be destroyed.

There are so many reasons this film is a success. Let’s begin with the storyline. It takes the first animated movie and turns the plot concepts upside down. Instead of Mr. Incredible being the one to go out and start events, this time it is Elastigirl that gets to shine in the role of hero. In that movie fourteen years ago, it was shown clearly that the pair are, of course, partners and support each other. There were also hints that sometimes Helen ended up in the shadows, frustrated with her role at stay at home mom and homemaker. While this is always an admirable role, this time the jobs for the pair are reversed and they each get to see that neither position is perfect. Helen misses out on time with family, has to figure out problems with the villain on her own and Bob finds out that life at home isn’t as easy as he thought it would be.

The humor is another reason this film will do well. There are jokes that will appeal to the whole family. The dynamic between the parents is hilarious, especially Bob’s turn as stay at home Dad, with which the newer generation can empathize. The teenagers will understand Violet’s frustrations with boys and her younger siblings, especially her embarrassments, while the rest of us will laugh at some of those same moments. Dash trying to learn math will make every parent wince a bit in sympathy. Jack-Jack has some of the best moments of humor as we get to see all the ways his powers expand and his time with “Aunty Edna” Edna Mode (E) (Brad Bird) will get chuckles from everyone. I personally love Frozone and his ‘smoothness’ as he jumps in to help his friends.

The real reason this film works so well, though, are the talents, the actors and animators. Despite the time that has passed, the writers captured the essence of the characters and created a story in keeping with the fun of the first movie and developed themes begun in that story. In addition, the voice actors feel like they never left their roles behind. Craig T. Nelson was as good this time around as the last, the perfect Mr. Incredible, strong but a loving dad. Holly Hunter did a phenomenal job as Elastigirl, getting her moment to show that she is as strong a hero as the men in her life. Samuel L. Jackson is smooth as Frozone but more importantly, is not only the best friend but kicks serious butt as an animated character. Edna’s character is awesome, humorous and a problem solver for the family. Finally, the actors playing the kids give them life. Sarah Vowell as Violet is awkward but pulls it together for her family. Huck Milner as Dash is wild but is reliable when needed. Eli Fucile as Jack-Jack is exactly what the family needs, in all the good ways. Phil LeMarr, a notable voice actor, did a great job with the characters he voiced and there is not one missed beat with any of the characters.

If I were to critique, there are a few small bits that bothered me. The creators feel like they forgot the ending of the original. I won’t way what they forgot as I don’t want to spoil the sequel but part of that ending is what the characters deal with in this sequel. While I think this is done to help aid the story, it was a bit disconcerting to me as even after fourteen years, I haven’t forgotten the conclusion. Second, the villain of the movie was predictable, at least to me. Again, there are some points where the writers do try to cover it up but there are too many hints of who it is and it was easy to guess. While I still loved the action, humor and plot, I would have liked a touch more mystery.
I loved this movie, though. I think any fan of the original is going to fall in love with this one as well. It has a ton of to love, laughs for both adults and children. It has animation and action to keep you on the edge of your seat. It has a plot that develops the themes from the original about the roles of husbands and wives, mothers and fathers. It delves into how family dynamics work. This movie is perfect for the whole family. It is, frankly, Incredible.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Super Suits

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