Here is the thing as a adult critic that you must do in order to not fully nit pick and hassle kid/family films like INCREDIBLES 2. An adult critic has to expect a film that is made for both kids AND adults. Just because you saw the movie as a younger fellow 13/14 years ago, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to be made for you now. You could put that argument with the Star Wars prequels as well, but as well all know, the Star Wars prequels had bigger problems than just Jar Jar Binks and having to satisfy both an audience that saw the originals in the 70’s/80’s, and new audience members. Where am I going with this? Well, Incredibles 2 is extremely predictable. How extreme do you ask? A new character shows up near the beginning of the film, and with just the look and appearance of this person, I tapped my wife real quick, and said, “whoever is the bad guy in this movie, it’s this person.” And I was dead on. Even some of the clues were in your face and little medium “AH-HAs” before we get to the ultimate reveal of “AH-HA.” And yes, I was a bit disappointed by that predictability. But then I thought to myself, “wait a minute, a movie like this cannot be THAT complicated, because this movie is made primarily for kids. And if you throw in too much of a complicated plot, you can lose that audience quicker than a drop of a dime. The real question is, is there enough other content there for an adult to look past that predictability (aka the journey) that will make them enjoy the movie just as much? Absolutely it does. In fact, Incredibles 2 is Disney/Pixar’s best sequel since 1999’s Toy Story 2…and that is almost two decades ago. I was able to look past the predictability and some of the same beats as the original, and what I found were genuine heartwarming laughs, feelings, excitement, and awe.
When it was bothering me a little that the film was too predictable, after the movie, I looked back on other Disney/Pixar films…and you know what? They are all basically extremely too predictable, it’s the execution of the journey that transcends all the familiar beats and cliches. You know a Disney/Pixar film isn’t going to have a dark ending. You know that Woody and his friends will be okay and be played with by some other child if not Andy, they aren’t going to have a sequence of someone actually getting away with someone throwing them in a shredder or cut to black when they are lying lifeless at the bottom of a garbage pail. We know that the father will find Nemo or Dory. We know that Wall-E will get Eve. We know that the circus bugs will help the ants get rid of the crickets, we know the rat will make the young chef famous but then be revealed as being the real cook of the kitchen. You know the feelings inside that girl are going to succeed on their journey to make her emotions okay in the end. It’s all there. The real excitement though is the unpredictable aspects of the journey before you get to the predictable reveals/endings. Like Bing Bon’s sacrifice in Inside Out. Everybody on Earth being absolute fat asses from being in space too long in Wall-E. Woody being a collector’s item in Toy Story 2. Incredibles 2 has a bunch of those unpredictable moments. The opening action sequence with the Underminer is fantastic. Baby Jack Jack completely steals every scene he is in and he has a fight scene with a mini critter that leave you in stitches. The action sequence of Elastagirl chasing this and that is thrilling and exciting. The end action sequence is great too. It’s also a great looking film and Michael Giachinno’s score was perfect as always. I had so much fun with this sequel that my slight irkness with the predictable plot soon flowed out of my body and I was able to enjoy the spectacle on the screen.
Is this movie as good or better than the first one? Of course not, and you shouldn’t expect it to be. The first one, being 13/14 years old, is now considered a classic with classic moments. You are getting something brand new here, so it’s going to take awhile for everything to sink in and consider certain scenes to be a new kind of classic. It’s going to take awhile to have those marathons with your kid or buy yourself or with some friends of watching the first and this one back to back. But it will happen! I don’t think the first one was considered a classic until a few years after it came out, it had enough time for it to be appreciated over and over again and enough where people finally came out and said, “this is as close to a perfect Pixar film we are ever going to get.” The Incredibles is my favorite Pixar film, followed closely by Wall-E and Ratatouille and Toy Story 2, so that might tell you where my allegiances lie and where I would put this film in the future where I rank my personal favorite Pixar films (Cars and its sequels will always, always, always be the bottom three films, even the forgettable Good Dinosaur didn’t hit those lows.
I didn’t really go into plot here, and I don’t necessarily need to. The movie picks up literally right after the first one ends, and nothing energy wise skips a beat. All the voice acting is again top notch and even though a lot of the film is very predictable and copies some of the same beats of the original, it still has a solid storytelling structure with no unnecessary filler. If I were to give some advice if there is a third one of these films, I would say that the supers being illegal thing has played itself out and something else needs to really drive the story. It picking up right after the first one, and not dealing with them being legalized yet was fine because the first one didn’t really address if everything was going to change right away. But now since Brad Bird use it as a primary driving force once again (I won’t reveal if he finally solves it here), for the third time, you can’t do it again. It would be like having Starkiller base, after you have already made a Death Star and a Death Star II. I did like some of the new cast in the film, Saul Goodman…errr Bob Odenkirk shows up as a guy that wants to represent superheroes and try to make them legal again, and his sister is voiced by Catherine Keener, who is also good, and Sophia Bush does a good job as a new superhero named Voyd. Oh, and if liked Edna Mole in the first film, you are going to love her here.
So yes, I completely recommend Incredibles 2, I had a wonderful time. I don’t know if it will be there on my year end list, we’ll see. Right now it is, but we still got a half a year to go, hopefully full of nice surprises. It is a wonderful family film that is no doubt going to dominate the summer. If you see some critics being harsh with this film, saying it is too predictable and that there are not too many surprises, it is because they can’t just let it go that the movie wasn’t tailored made from them now like it was 13/14 years ago. It is tailored made for families and even more tailored made for kids. In that it completely succeeds. Kids are going to love this movie, just like they love the original (hopefully you nimrods have showed them the original by now and if not shame on you). And while I said it is Pixar’s best sequel since Toy Story 2, in time, it could even be named Pixar’s best sequel period.