Following the 2004 original, Bob Parr a.k.a. Mr Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) is now tasked to take care of the kids (Sarah Vowell’s Violet, Huck Milner’s Dash and Eli Fucile’s Jack-Jack) at home. His wife, Helen a.k.a. Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) is now working for the tech billionaire Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his tech-whiz sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener) to fight crime and save the world.
According to Brad Bird via IGN, the reason why Incredibles 2 took 14 years long to materialise was mainly due to finding the right story worth telling. The other fact that he didn’t want the sequel to be a cash grab was a sigh of relief.
For the record, Bird’s overall track record as a director was impressive. Some of his past efforts including The Incredibles (2004) and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) were both top-notch entertainments. Even his critically-divisive Tomorrowland (2015) was a worthwhile crowd-pleaser that evoked the visual styles of Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis in their primes. Personally, I really liked the 2004 original. It was no doubt one of the best superhero movies I’ve ever seen and easily among the finest animated features ever created by Pixar Animation Studios.
But surprisingly, the long-awaited sequel doesn’t exactly live up to its huge expectation. Don’t get me wrong. The animation is fantastic. It has lots of spectacular visuals, while the action — such as the opening city attack and the high-speed train rescue — is thrillingly staged with such verve and clarity. The familiar Michael Giacchino’s ’60s-style energetic score has again complemented well with the action’s fast-paced vibes.
Like the original, the Parr family is an absolute delight to watch for. It feels like a family reunion watching the voice cast — Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner and Eli Fucile — reprising their respective roles. But I’m particularly surprised with Jack-Jack the most. The baby Parr is such a scene-stealer in this sequel, particularly a memorable moment when he encounters a racoon. Then, there’s Brad Bird’s Edna Mode whose minor appearance as the returning fashion designer is equally praiseworthy.
Although Bird is again responsible for the screenplay, the sequel lacks the fresh angle and vividness of his 2004 original. I hate to say this but part of the reasons has to do with the superhero fatigue. The story is more or less the same and even predictable at times. It gives the feeling that “after waiting for 14 years, this is the best you can do?“.
Sure, the sequel remains an entertaining crowd-pleaser that will definitely appeal to both kids and adults. But why just stop there? After all, this is Pixar we are talking about. The animation studio where words like “game changer”, “innovation” and “originality” often go hand in hand. Except that it’s kind of a pity to see Bird chose to play safe instead. With the superhero genre has grown increasingly saturated, I was hoping Bird could offer something new or fresh in Incredibles 2.
Likewise, do arrive early in the cinema since there will be a Pixar short film titled Bao (referring to the Chinese dumpling). Directed by Domee Shi, it was both delightful and heartwarming short film.