Title: Incredibles 2
Describe This Movie In One Mr. Mom Quote:
DORIS: You fed a baby chili?!
Brief Plot Synopsis: They're super, thanks for asking.
Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: 4 Hypnotoads out of 5.
Tagline: "Back to work."
Better Tagline: "It's not always easy / Being a family man"
Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: A catastrophic battle in downtown Metroville finally forces the end of the Superhero Protection Program, driving the Parr family from their home and leaving them with few options. A pair of unlikely benefactors appear in the persons of tech moguls Winston (Bob Odenkirk) and Evelyn (Catherine Keener) Deavor, who want to showcase superheroes positively in order to reverse public opinion in order to re-legalize them. They choose Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) for the effort's trial run, where she has to contend both with the mysterious "Screenslaver" as well as husband Bob's (Craig T. Nelson) inelegant transition to house husband.
"Critical" Analysis: Incredibles 2 succeeds in large part because of what it *doesn't* do. The sequel to the 2004 Pixar hit leverages much of what made the original so successful and also adds just enough new wrinkles to keep things lively.
We start up exactly where The Incredibles left off, with the city at the mercy of the evil Underminer (sounds like one of those Hostess comic book ads). The fallout from their tussle leads to the shuttering of the SPP, forcing a similar scenario to the first movie, only this time it's Elastigirl given the chance to show her stuff and — not incidentally — to raise public awareness about the good superheroes actually do.
This leaves Bob in the role of stay-at-home parent, and the cliche is at least given some new life with his realization that baby Jack-Jack is manifesting a hilariously dizzying number of new powers. This leads to another welcome callback when Edna Mode (Brad Bird) returns to help Bob. Daughter Violet (Sarah Vowell) is also given more to do this time around, with a subplot revolving around a boy who asked her out getting his memory wiped by Agent Dicker (Jonathan Banks) in his last act of "goodwill" for the Parrs.
It's ironically also one of the more benevolent actions performed by a Jonathan Banks character in recent memory.
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The action set pieces are still superb, often showcasing Elastigirl's malleable skillset instead of Mr. Incredible's brute strength. It's also a nice touch that her moves are trademark enough that another super — who happens to be a fan — exhorts her to "Parachute! Parachute!" at a key moment. Metroville and New Urbrem are the same nifty mix of future (Screenslaver's hypno-tech, the Deavors' hydrofoil) and retro (reporters still use flashcubes and wear fedoras) that worked so well the first time around.
Where Incredibles 2 comes up short is in surprises, at least as far as the villain is concerned. The ultimate reveal of Screenslaver's identity isn't too surprising, and while the baddie's motivation is somewhat more ... proletarian than Syndrome's, it lacks some of the latter's urgency.
But in spite of that, Bird is once again promoting hope. As with pretty much all his movies (the first Incredibles, Ratatouille, Tomorrowland), he supports the idea that those with talents (or powers) use them for the greater good (The Greater Good) against those who'd stifle them. Even the villain’s desire to free humanity from the potential tyranny of superheroes, doesn’t sound entirely evil, although Screenslaver’s adjacent criticism of Western society's reliance on convenience feels a little worn.
Still, the Parr family dynamic, Jack-Jack's antics, and the superhero action more than make up for any of that. Incredibles 2 may not be superior to the original, but it was well worth the wait.