Incredibles 2 Well-Acted, Expertly Crafted Tale Anyone Can Enjoy

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Incredibles 2

Pixar’s latest animated instant classic, the long awaited The Incredibles 2, is incredible, despite what some of my hoity toity film critic brethren might think. It’s also a good place to start a discussion of the term “sequel.”

The Parr family is back and once again battling supervillains with the help of family friend and bad mamma-jamma, Frozone. Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Vowell and writer/director Brad Bird are all back to lend their voices to Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Frozone, Violet, and Edna Mode, respectively. The fourteen year gap since the release of the original film allowed puberty to catch up to the original Dash, Spencer Fox, who know speeds his fingers as the lead guitarist for indy band Charly Bliss, so Dash is now voiced by young Huck Milner. Even John Ratzenberger is back as The Underminer, the subterranean ne’er-do-well who erupts from the bowels of the earth at the end of the first film. I appreciated Bird’s decision to pick up where he had left off, rather than jump the family some period of time into the future. Continuity! Learn to love it!

Joining the Parrs and Frozone are new characters, Winston and Evelyn Deavor, voiced by Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener respectively. Winston is a talented businessman and superhero advocate who recruits Elastigirl to be the face of his “Legalize Supers!” campaign. Evelyn is his tech genius sister and becomes a friend to Elastigirl. While she is out doing super-stuff, Mr. Incredible has to stay home to tend to Jack Jack, who starts manifesting multiple superpowers, help Dash with his “New Math” homework and try to make up for accidentally ruining a potential relationship with an interested boy from school. You know, just another day for ordinary folks, but for people who are used to punching their problems into next week having to slow down and get a grip on teenage hormones and ill-considered changes to traditional school curriculum is not the easiest thing to do. The mysterious Screenslaver menaces the city and eventually the kids and some novice new heroes have to come to the rescue.

Does it change the game, cinematically? No, and guess what—it doesn’t have to! I’m so sick of critics complaining that whatever film they just saw doesn’t change the genre. Does anybody really want that? Should The Incredibles 2 be a whimsically animated Schindler’s List for kids? Hell no! Pump some artificial butter flavoring on your overpriced tub of GMO grain and try to remember when cartoons were the fun part of your week. I know it’s hard to have fun when you’re consumed with “adulting,” working too hard for too little and trying to learn your own kid’s “new Math” when you’re mentally exhausted. That’s the beauty of animation—it takes you back to those carefree days of childhood: Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, He-Man, Jem and the Holograms, Space Ghost, Speed Racer, Smurfs, Strawberry Shortcake.

For those of you with much less lofty expectations, you’ll be well-pleased with this highly entertaining flick. Brad Bird took his sweet time, but he crafted a gem of a film with some of the slickest animation you’ll find outside of Japan, where animation gets much greater respect as an art form. It’s great to see Elastigirl in the spotlight, and there are numerous nods to the good ol’ days. We find out that the older generation of superheroes had cool custom cars with tons of gadgets and even catchy theme songs—Holy Adam West! While Marvel’s cinematic opus is marvelously intricate and DC’s efforts often doomed from the outset, it’s refreshing to watch a well-acted and expertly crafted tale that anyone can enjoy without knowing 80 years of comic book history. You don’t even have to have seen the original film from fourteen years ago to enjoy the new one, but it’s too good not to watch it. Several theaters are running both as double-features! Get that two-gallon cherry ICEE™ ready for me, and grab one for yourself—The Incredibles 2 isn’t just another summer sequel, it’s a direct continuation of the super-heroic family fun that everyone loved way back when George W. Bush was still in office. Talk about the good ol’ days…

This review is dedicated to Jason C. Klefisch, an actor, writer and friend who would have loved this movie. You will be in the hearts of your family and friends forever, chum. 

5.0 / 5.0