It's only fair that I start this review by revealing that the first Incredibles is not my favorite Disney Pixar movie... in fact, it's not even in my top 10. I know for several of my friends, it's their favorite, or right up there, so if you fall in that camp you may not agree with my take on the sequel.
Now that my big caveat is out of the way, I really enjoyed Incredibles 2. Just because the original isn't in my top 10 doesn't mean I didn't enjoy that movie either! These movies have plenty of heart and are entertaining, but just don't resonate with me quite like the Toy Story franchise, Finding Nemo, Coco, Up, Inside Out or even Monsters, Inc. What can I say? I like Pixar to hit me in the feels on some level, and these just don't do it for me.
Incredibles 2 picks up right after the first. After another attempt to save the city by Frozone and the Incredibles goes awry, the government steps in and says they're better off without them. Superheroes are forced to go back underground and the Parr family is left trying to figure out their next move. Enter telecommunications company, Devtech, who wants to change the perception of superheroes as super and not mischevious or criminal. This sets the stage for Elastigirl, the less messy of her male counterparts, to get back to work saving people and Devtech showing the public just how super they are.
I had to remind myself that Incredibles is set in a retro, 50s timeframe because the idea of the wife going to work while the husband is the caretaker creates an awkward tension I no longer even think about in today's world. I forget that even to this day, the old school of thought that the wife is the homemaker and the husband works, occasionally still is a reality for some people. Bob's reaction to Helen's success was not the most supportive and his intentions were selfish (if she succeeded, he would be able to be a superhero again). It felt so antiquated and wasn't my favorite plot line, but for the time the movie is set, it was realistic. I'll give it that!
I appreciated some of the other political statements this movie made. I don't know how much they'll be picked up on, but they were there if you're paying attention. Some of the ones I noticed were: the aforementioned role reversal (the wife can be the breadwinner, the husband can take care of the children), government being tyrannical, people being slaves to their devices (the villain's name is Screenslayer who has a line "People will trade quality for ease"), even the more subtle plot line that public perception is reality and it can be manipulated. At one point Violet even makes a statement about how if you're rich, you can get out of jail with ease! Not so subtle there, Vi! I need to a do a rewatch now that I'm more politically aware and engaged to see if the first makes these kind of statements, but I was a mere teenager in 2004, and those would have definitely flown over my head, as I'm sure these will for kids today.
So the big question is, how does it measure up to the first? It falls just about in line with the first for me. Jack-Jack and Edna steal every scene they're in, which is a ton of fun. I wouldn't be surprised if Jack-Jack got some sort of spin-off of his own. I really enjoyed the children getting a big role in the action. Dash and Violet both had stand out moments, with Dash bringing levity to the movie with every line. Frozone is just as cool, and I thought we could've used more of him. We're even introduced, albeit briefly, to a new cast of superhero characters that I could see being part of another installment. Despite being able to see the plot twist from a mile away, the following action sequences in the second half of the film are very well animated. The story is fairly predictable, but if you have a soft spot for the first, you'll wholeheartedly enjoy the second. As far as this being a Pixar film, I have the same complaints that the emotional depth in these films is lacking. The family dynamic is sweet, but doesn't illicit the same response as about ten other Pixar films, so for that reason, this one will be put near the same middle-of-the-pack ranking.
Brit's pro tip: Put your metaphor-deciphering hat on early for the Pixar short, Bao, before the movie. You'll need it.