Incredibles 2 ★★★

“Politicians don’t understand people who do good simply because it's right.”

The Incredibles is one of my favourite superhero films of all time. With unparalleled finesse, it rides the line of being a larger than life, comedic spectacle and a clever, mature exploration of superheroes as a concept that is barely even a step down from something like Watchmen. When I finally came to watching this sequel though, I was pretty cautious. Is this ultimately a good follow-up?

I mean, I guess. 

What works well for Incredibles 2 is in the strong relationships in the family themselves. Violet and Jack-Jack have especially natural and well done progressions from when we last saw them. Bob has a great character arc on paper although some of the moves Brad Bird plays to get him there are a little awkward for me. Why is he so resentful of his own wife at the start? I understand that he is jealous and wants to get back to super-heroics but I feel it is not especially heroic to put down your wife and claim you can do it better. Even though Helen is at the centre of the superhero action this time, she doesn’t really get a lot to do or learn as a character which is a huge shame. There are just a lot of missed opportunities here like Dash who has no kind of story of his own unless you found his maths problems entirely compelling. 

The animation is still really good in Incredibles 2 with some killer set and character designs although it is odd how they seem to have messed with the protagonists. Again, Bob seems to have suffered the most with some weird lines on his face that I think are supposed to make him look older but this is a direct sequel so I am not sure why they made this choice. It looks pretty unnatural. 

The villain plot is hokey and one-dimensional which is yet another example of a missed opportunity in this script. What made the first film so great was how the action and drama was layered and chilling to watch. It felt like a film tailored to adults that children could enjoy on a different level. The sequel feels like a children’s film based on more mature material and that is really disappointing. This film is ultimately just a cartoon and not an animated film. In fact, sometimes it even feels like self-parody. I hate it when sequels fall into the trap of just recreating scenes from the original because they are beloved rather than forging their own path. Everything with Edna, for example, feels like retread to me. Yeah, it does serve a plot function but the sequence is not there for that, it is there do we can laugh at this character again and see the stupid security she has and the conveyor belt of death. It just strikes me as a bit lazy. 

Incredibles 2 is a lot of fun though. There is joy and merit to be found in just revisiting this world and these characters so if you want to have a fun time that will not challenge your brain too hard, this one is a safe bet.