Movie Beat: “Incredibles 2” the sequel you’ve been waiting for
by Jenniffer Wardell
Rated PG for action sequences and some brief mild language
Written and directed by Brad Bird
Starring Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Catherine Keener, Samuel L. Jackson and more.
Grade: Four stars
The true purpose of a sequel is to both respect and build upon the story that came before it.
Don’t just rehash everything that came before, or re-package it – if you truly made a story good enough to deserve a sequel, we want to hear more of that same story. Even if the heroes defeat the villains in the first movie, what are the aftereffects of that defeat? Did they get all the bad guys? Is there rebuilding that has to be done? What’s the next step for our heroes? It’s both a simple task and, given how rarely Hollywood manages to pull it off, a nearly impossible one.
But these are the Incredibles, and clearly the impossible is no trouble for them. “Incredibles 2” is an amazing movie, a beautiful extension of the original film that manages to be insightful, fun, emotional and flat-out hilarious all in the same moment. It’s grown so organically out of the first movie that you could watch them both in a row, and the only thing that would be even slightly jarring would be the amazing leaps in animation the last 14 years have given us. I’ve been dreaming of a sequel to “The Incredibles” for ages, but the results are better than I could have imagined.
Though I don’t want to tell you too much about the plot – spoiling a movie this good is a crime – I will say that it hinges on a little detail from the first movie that honestly never occurred to me. During the final moments of that film, when the supervillain with the big drill emerges from the ground and the kids put on their costumes, superheroes were still completely, totally and 100 percent illegal.
Yeah. Let that sink in a little bit.
What follows from that little plot detail is the kind of thoughtful exploration of superheroes, family, balancing life, responsibility and claiming your whole identity that live-action superhero movies can only dream of pulling off. Bird spins the entire plot out of little details from the first movie, finishing and deepening character arcs started in the original film and examining implications and aftereffects. “The Incredibles 2” is a great movie on its own, but when paired with the original film they become something genuinely amazing.
There’s also a solid sprinkling of social commentary, and I’m not talking about the monologues from the villain. The shots at the government are blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, but they made me smile every time.
There’s also plenty of incredibly fun moments, which I will stay incredibly vague about so I don’t spoil it for any of you. Elastigirl is an awesome superhero, as she proves multiple times, and there’s a whole sequence with the kids that makes me now want Pixar to do a bunch of short films with just them. The Edna scenes are as glorious as they were in the original, and Jack Jack is an absolute delight pretty much every moment he’s onscreen. And, as always, there’s nothing better than the Incredibles fighting villainy together as a family.
And I will say one more thing, which I’m telling you less as a movie critic and more as a friend and fellow movie lover. If you have any control whatsoever over the situation, make sure you’re not in the bathroom during the raccoon scene. I won’t go into more detail than that, except to say that every single second of it is a treasure you don’t want to miss.
The whole movie is a treasure, really, and everything I could have possibly hoped for. There’s only one problem – it’s made me desperately hungry for more. Where do I start my petition to get an “Incredibles” trilogy?