Cast: Samuel L Jackson, Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner
Director: Brad Bird
The longest gap between film sequels came courtesy the Bambi franchise — a staggering 64 years. Though the Incredibles sequel, which is also produced by Walt Disney Pictures, took 14 years to hit the screens, we’re not complaining. A lot of us who watched the first film as kids are now adults and Incredibles 2, apart from being a fun film in its own right, is a lovely trip down memory lane.
In the film, however, not much time has gone by and the events of the sequel happen just three months after the defeat of Syndrome. The superhero work of our unconventional but happy Parr family consisting of Bob, Helen, Dash, Violet, and Jack-Jack, has hit a roadblock after Supers (as superheroes are called), are misunderstood as troublemakers and are forced to return to their secret identities. A super-rich sibling duo Winston and Evelyn Deavor, similar to Ray from Hancock, wants the world to see Supers in a better light and they get in touch with the Parrs to give the latter an image makeover. They kickstart the project with Elastigirl aka Helen (voiced by Holly Hunter) and that means Bob (Craig T Nelson) has to swallow his male ego and be a stay-at-home dad. While he realises how that’s tougher than fighting crime, Helen carries on her superhero work with a bit of PR help, but obviously, there’s got to be a villain. That comes in the form of Screenslaver, whom the family, with the help of a few more Supers, have to defeat.
Though the one-liner might sound simple, the intricacies brought in by director Brad Bird with ample easter eggs and pop culture references make up for it. For instance, Dash (Huck Milner) says, ‘It defines who I am,’ which is similar to what Batman says in Batman Begins, and he also watches Godzilla as well as the classic Jonny Quest cartoon on TV. Gazerbeam, whose dead body guides Bob/Mr Incredible in the first part, appears in the sequel in a flashback. But the biggest, somewhat expected and satisfying easter egg was after the climax — finding the letters A113 — the classroom number of animation students at the California Institute of the Arts, many of whom are working now in Pixar, which is a standard egg that appears in all Pixar films.
The villain, though he only has a limited screen time, is well thought out. Screenslaver puts people watching TV in a trance. He talks about how we’ve fallen prey to consumerism and instead of, for example, traveling, we’re watching travel shows. Looks like the Pixar is learning a few tricks of the trade from the Marvel side of Disney. And while we’re on Screenslaver, a word of caution — scenes in which he appears come with a good dose of strong strobe lights which might affect those who have epilepsy.
Incredibles 2 also digs deep into the Parr family, and their sentiments and emotions, without restricting itself to the bigger picture as its predecessor. So instead of high flying action, we get scenes of Bob helping his daughter Violet (Sarah Vowell) with her love life and Dash with something even tougher, mathematics. Not to mention the scenes where he also tries to come to terms with the numerous superpowers of Jack-Jack. And apart from Samuel L Jackson as Lucius Best/Frozone, there’s also Edna Mode — such a fan-favorite that the director himself has voiced her. Throw in a few more quirky Supers, a not-too-heavy dose of feminism, and a supercar named Incredimobile (similar to the Batmobile) and we have the perfect recipe for a fun sequel.
What doesn’t work is the aforementioned lack of action and a simple storyline which takes its own sweet time to unravel. Also, considering the emotional aspects of a family the film talks about, it doesn’t even get close to what a Toy Story or even a Wall E did. But that doesn’t take away the fact that Incredibles 2, though not as good as the original film, is an almost worthy sequel that will satisfy the expectations of the 90s kids, who loved Incredibles, as well as millennials, who are new to the franchise. Looks like the film will have a third part, and hopefully, it doesn’t take another 14 years.