It only took 14 years, but one of Pixar‘s most beloved movies finally has a sequel. Yes, Incredibles 2—the “The” has been dropped, for reasons we may never learn—is finally here, and … it’s very similar to the first movie. One would have thought that in the nearly decade and a half between films, in addition to the surge of popularity when it comes to superhero films, a better script than “the first one again but with some parts changed” would have been written. But, alas, that’s what we’ve got here.
Maybe it’s been long enough that audience members who choose not to rewatch the original won’t notice how similar the films are. Or maybe it doesn’t matter. The film is lively and funny and packed with action and strong characters; the story ultimately becomes secondary to all of that. Besides, lots of sequels do this. It wouldn’t be fair to just single out this specific one because it’s been 14 years or because it’s Pixar or because it’s animated or because I still kind of don’t fully love the original film even though pretty much everyone else seems to.
The sequel picks up directly after the original, which is probably the right decision. Superheroes are still banned, and after an incident trying to stop a villain, The Incredibles—a family of superheroes—are going to have to completely ditch their hero personas for good. That is, until a rich fan, Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) decides to hire them to try to put superheroes back on the public’s good side. Elastagirl (Holly Hunter) is first up, leaving Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) to stay home with their children: Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner), and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile).
What The Incredibles did so well was balance its superhero and family stories—at least, in its first half. When it gets away from that and became an all-out superhero film, it loses what makes it special. Incredibles 2 does the same sort of thing, this time flipping the parenting/superhero roles. The father stays at home and has to learn how to be a better parent and supportive/less jealous husband, while the mother gets to do the fun action stuff and learn how to trust her husband instead of trying to do everything on her own. It’s really lovely. And this one balances its family/superhero portions better than the first one, even if it doesn’t feel as fresh this go-round.
It’s all a lot of fun. The screenplay might not be the most original thing out there, but it’s polished when it comes to the characters and their interactions with each other. The dialogue is sharp and funny, the performances really bring the characters to life, and it’s great to see them again and the way they further develop after the events of the first film. The animation is even better than it was last time out; technology has advanced quite a bit, after all. And the action scenes are fantastic. A couple are jaw-droppingly great.
While it might not feel as original as its predecessor—in part because of the influx of superhero movies in the last decade and because the screenplay takes a similar shape—Incredibles 2 is a lovely movie that does a great job of balancing its superhero scenes and the parts that detail the familial life of its heroes. That balance is probably even better this time out; it doesn’t completely shift one way in its second half. This is a funny, action-packed, and beautiful movie that both kids and adults can enjoy.
Conclusion: Incredibles 2 is a lively, action-packed, and funny movie whose plot isn’t very original.
Recommendation: If you liked The Incredibles and want more of it, you’ll have a good time with its sequel.