Incredibles 2 movie director: Brad Bird
Incredibles 2 voice cast: Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Catherine Keener, Bob Odenkirk, Samuel L Jackson
Incredibles 2 movie rating: 3.5 stars
Why would you take 14 long years to make a sequel to the critically and commercially successful The Incredibles, and pick up right where you left off? That is a question Incredibles 2 may find hard to answer, though not that it is trying to.
Writer-director Brad Bird, who also wrote and directed The Incredibles, places his new film in the same scenario, with the Parr family’s struggles with its superpowers at a time when “supers” have been declared illegal by the government. There are no worlds to save again, no big villains to slay, and the fight remains more about family this time and less about finding oneself. But having hit the mark with all this last time, Bird is not too far off the mark reprising it.
On the contrary, the highest points of the film and its acutest observations — even if predictable — remain Mr Incredible Bob Parr’s struggles with reconciling to the success of his wife, Elastigirl Helen, in a new superhero role. He is left handling son’s math, daughter’s boyfriend troubles, and a baby who won’t sleep, as Elastigirl tries out a new suit and a new vehicle, in pursuit of a new villain.
Elastigirl has been roped in by the brother-sister tycoon duo of Winston (Odenkirk) and Evelyn (Keener), who say they want to record her while she fights crimes so as to force the government to lift the ‘illegal’ tag on “supers”. Towards that mission, Bird again strikes some nice notes as Elastigirl and Evelyn compare notes on the men in their lives, and the thin lines to be trod around them.
It’s with the villain Elastigirl is pitted against that Bird tries to make his most ambitious statement. He is ‘Screenslaver’, who delivers a long speech about destroying a world where there is no real entertainment and where “every experience must be packaged” and delivered via a screen. However, it is an unconvincing argument, especially when you realise that what you suspected all along lies at the bottom of it.
The action, however, is kept to a minimum as the film realises its strength lies in having a superpower family to go back to. And so, it keeps returning to the home front, where Bob’s challenges with the children remain entertaining, especially when the baby Jack-Jack comes into his own and has a delightful encounter with a raccoon.
When that threatens to overstay its welcome, Bird efficiently diverts your attention with ‘Voyd’. She is a shy superpower with short blue straight hair hanging to one side, covering half her face, who is a fan of Elastigirl, speaks in a lisp and sounds very, very, very like Kristen Stewart. Mum is the word why, though Voyd’s powers include creating wormholes and warping space around her.