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article imageReview: ‘Incredibles 2’ used its time away wisely Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jun 19, 2018 in Entertainment
Audiences have waited more than a decade to go on an adventure with their favourite superhero family again and now they finally can in ‘Incredibles 2.’
Fourteen years ago, before Marvel had taken over the world of superhero cinema, audiences fell in love with a family that had extraordinary abilities. And then they went back underground and many doubted they’d ever be seen again. Finally, writer/director Brad Bird announced he was ready to return to their story — literally — as the sequel picks up exactly where the first film left off. It’s been a long wait, but Incredibles 2 (which could have also been named “The Rise of Jack Jack”) was certainly worth it.
The Incredibles, a.k.a. the Parr family, are on the ground ready to face-off with The Underminer (John Ratzenberger). Unfortunately, their efforts are not appreciated and they’re promptly arrested for breaking the anti-super law. Stuck in a motel with few options for the future, a mysterious millionaire (Bob Odenkirk) and his techy sister (Catherine Keener) come to the rescue. He offers to help supers get back in the world’s good graces and he wants Elastigirl/Helen (Holly Hunter) leading the charge… which leaves Mr. Incredible/Bob (Craig T. Nelson) to stay home and look after the kids. Even with Lucius (Samuel L. Jackson) at the standby, everyone’s a little apprehensive about this arrangement; but things are mostly fine — until Jack Jack’s powers start appearing uncontrollably. While Elastigirl takes on a new villain called Screenslaver, Bob battles sleep deprivation, math, boy troubles and an Incredible baby.
It’s not often there can be this much time between a film and its sequel, and still deliver a picture that is near par with its predecessor. In fact, it feels like the original just happened. Of course, fans’ love affair with the super family didn’t stop between movies — there was plenty of merchandise and means to rewatch the first film to keep the spark alive. A short film featuring Jack Jack and Bird’s announcement were fuel to the fire, building anticipation for a sequel that was finally on the horizon. Thankfully, when it arrived, no one could be disappointed by this portrayal of domestic life with a superhero twist.
It should come as no surprise based on the marketing that even though things are happening with other members of the family, this movie is all about Jack Jack. And the tiny ham steals the show every time with displays of his previously undiscovered powers and a backyard fight that will have audiences in stitches. With a half-dozen abilities over which the youngest Parr only has partial control, chaos reigns supreme in the household… until an unexpected intervener makes it all right again. “Nom nom cookie?”
It’s somewhat fitting the picture should be released on Father’s Day weekend as Bob is required to step up and embrace his paternal responsibilities full-time, while Helen goes out to be the hero that makes it okay for their family to exist in the public eye again. Both parents envy the other’s new role as their functions have reversed — Elastigirl is able to return to her superhero ways, while Mr. Incredible begrudgingly takes a backseat and manages the home front. The stereotypical dynamics are at play as mom feels guilty for leaving while simultaneously revelling in her superhero job, and dad feels inferior because he’s not in the field and stuck at home with the kids from whom he feels disconnected. In the end everyone excels, but it certainly plays into those labels.
The comedy is balanced by some high intensity action sequences, the most exhilarating of which is a high-speed train chase followed closely by a helicopter attack. Elastigirl is given more space to flex her superpower muscles and it’s a welcome change to see a woman “doing it all.” There’s a few lulls, but Pixar has definitely not squandered their time by delivering a subpar movie.
Moreover, the Pixar short Bao by Toronto animator Domee Shi is expectedly sweet and infused with hints of the creator’s hometown. Serving as a metaphor for a woman’s relationship with her son, the picture hits all the right notes, looks fantastic and has a beautiful ending.
Director: Brad Bird
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter and Sarah Vowell
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