Incredibles 2: The journey may be predictable this time around, but it’s still a whole lot of fun

Published: July 10, 2018
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The voice cast is as effective as they were the last time round. PHOTO: IMDB

More than a decade after they first conquered the big screen with what turned out to be an instant Pixar classic, the Parr family is back for their second adventure in Incredibles 2, a return to the world created by Director and Writer Brad Bird that revisits much of the same turf as the original but makes sure it never ceases to be fun.

Our protagonists – parents Bob (voiced by Craig T Nelson) and Helen (Holly Hunter), and their kids Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner) and Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) – are, once again, dealing with ostracisation. Superheroes are still illegal, forced into hiding by a society no longer willing to support them.

But an opportunity presents itself to potentially change the law and bring the supers back when wealthy businessman (and big superhero fan) Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) – along with a little help from his sister Evelyn Deavor (Catherine Keener) – hatches a plan to help the supers return. He enlists Elastigirl on a mission to change the world’s perspective of superheroes and regain the public’s support.

With Helen out fighting crime, Bob is left in charge of the house, and has to deal with parenting issues, like Violet’s first date with a boy she likes, Dash’s struggle with math, and infant Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers.

But balancing superhero duties and life isn’t the only challenge the Parrs are about to face. When the villain Screenslaver shows up and starts hypnotising people through screens, it will take one mighty effort to defeat the baddie.

The movie is well-executed and clearly made with a lot of skill and care. Visually, Incredibles 2 is impressive and the action sequences are well-made. The voice cast is as effective as they were the last time round. There are laughs sprinkled throughout the film; young Jack-Jack’s escapades, in particular, provide the most amusement.

But it all seems very formulaic, like a rehash that doesn’t bring anything new to the franchise. Over the years, Pixar has set such a high standard for itself and made so many quality films, including sequels – like the Toy Story movies, for instance, all three of which are terrific – that we always expect excellence from the studio, but we don’t get enough inventiveness or the same kind of emotional impact here to be truly excited by this chapter.

A different story that allowed the characters to explore new grounds would have been more rewarding. The script could have been smarter, the dialogue crispier. There is something quite clichéd about Bob’s ineptness as a stay-at-home dad as well as Helen’s feminist advancements. The idea behind the Screenslaver, too, is a bit on the nose, and the supervillain is more menacing theoretically than practically; ultimately, you’re never in any doubt which side will eventually emerge victorious. Also, why the animators decided Evelyn should look distractingly like Lisa Rinna remains a mystery.

Maybe some of the tedium stems from the fact that the cinematic landscape has changed so much since The Incredibles wowed us 14 years ago. Superheroes have oversaturated both the big and small screen in the last decade, so perhaps yet another superhero movie doesn’t have quite the impact now that its predecessor did in 2004.

That said, Incredibles 2 is by no means a disappointment. While it doesn’t rank among Pixar’s most inventive endeavours, it is still a solid family adventure that will keep both kids and grownups entertained for nearly two hours (although its running time is, admittedly, a tad overlong).

Overall, the journey may be predictable this time around, but it’s still a whole lot of fun.

All photos: IMDb

Sameen Amer

Sameen Amer

The author is a Lahore-based freelance writer and critic. She tweets as @Sameen (twitter.com/Sameen)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.