Writer/director Brad Bird (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Tomorrowland, Ratatouille, The Iron Giant) returns to helm with Incredibles 2. The new installment picks up right where the 2004 original left off, The Underminer, voiced by Pixar mainstay John Ratzenberger (TV’s Cheers), causing havoc, which superhero family and its close friend Frozone must quell.
“It’s time to make some wrong things right! Help me bring supers back into the sunlight. We need to change people’s perceptions about superheroes, and Elastigirl is our best play.”
Set in 1964 (confirmed by specific references), Incredibles 2 features the Parr family and Lucius Best (a.k.a. Frozone and well-voiced by Samuel L. Jackson). This group encounters telecommunications tycoon Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) who becomes a strong ally of the superheroes. Winston runs his company with his tech genius sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener).
Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson) soon becomes a sleep-deprived, stay-at-home Dad when Winston chooses family matriarch Helen, (Holly Hunter), for a hero restoring campaign. For Winston’s grand plan, Elastigirl is preferable over Mr. Incredible and Frozone due to the limited damage she creates.
Daughter Violet, voiced by Sarah Vowell, also returns as Huck Milner takes over for Spencer Fox as her brother Dash due to voice changes.
Jack-Jack’s voice by Eli Fucile is all archived recordings with Bird’s son Nicolas provided Jack-Jack’s voice when he’s in an altered state while the most famous off-screen character, Honey Best, is voiced again by LaTanya Richardson Jackson. If these characters are ever aged, then Jack-Jack would easily be at the forefront based on several revealing new powers that are used well for dramatic and comic effect. Superhero relocation superior Rick Dicker is now voiced by Jonathan Banks who took over for the late Bud Luckey.
New characters include Voyd, voiced by Sophia Bush, along with other superheroes while Isabella Rossellini voices The Ambassador.
Even at 118-minutes, Incredibles 2 needs more character development, especially for Frozone, Bob, and Dash. Most of their action is situational as they react to the conflicts and challenges without really giving the audience any insight about how these events harm or help them as individuals. A small casualty to the non-stop, action-filled plot, but a noticeable one.
A surprising character twist mixes well with the movie’s themes and tones are a bit dark and overtly political, especially in an audio manifesto from the Screenslaver, voiced by Bill Wise, during a sequence where Elasticgirl closes in on him. Michael Giacchino also returns for a great musical score that keeps the thrills and continuity going.
The film’s visuals are truly incredible, especially the motorcycle sequence with Elastagirl that take full advantage of the animation medium showing stuntwork and action otherwise impossible. The color schemes and animation techniques really shine, especially an interior fight sequence.
Bird also voices superhero fashion designer Edna Mode and adds to the comedic enhancements in the film. Michael Bird, Brad Bird’s oldest son, returns to voice Tony Rydinger, Violet’s classmate in an expanded role that helps progress the plot well.
Several well-placed elements enhance the story and include subtle references in the set design (e.g., a large painting in Helen’s hotel room, Municiberg Credit Union, etc.), Mr. Incredible’s car, and family challenges ranging from dangerous threats to Common Core math. The reference to “an eccentric billionaire who wanted to enter and leave his home unnoticed” also seems to reference the remote-loving villain Syndrome.
The animated action-adventure film Incredibles 2 is Pixar Animation’s 20th film and is a great family adventure, and comes recommended (*** out of four stars). It’s rated PG for action violence and mild bad language. Audiences can enjoy the short film Bao before the show. Also showing in 3D and IMAX theaters.