Incredibles 2 (2018)
I watched The Incredibles twice leading up to the release of the sequel: once while sick an binging Pixar familiarity, once with Shane since he was sad he missed the Pixar binging. Even though there have been 14 years (half of Shane’s life ago as we saw the sequel on his 28th birthday), I remembered the animation milestones related to Violet’s hair and the human presentation in the film. Half a lifetime of animation innovation has produced some remarkable clarity and detail, but the Parr family hasn’t lost a bit of their hijinx family drama as they pick up where the first movie concluded.
Chasing down the Underminer has caused more problems than they’d hoped to fix. Disavowed by the government, the entire program closed, Bob Parr / Mr. Incredible and Helen / Elastigirl must find their own way to provide for their family when hero-obsessed business siblings Winston and Evelyn Deavor (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener blending into their sudden arrival in the family’s life) offer them a way to redeem superheroes. As they send Elastigirl to take down the monitor-hypnotizing antics of the Screenslaver, Bob stays home to tackle Violet’s boy troubles, Jack-Jack’s sudden powers, and most terrifying of all Dash’s dreaded NEW MATH (AHHHH!). With Craig T Nelson handling parenting duty, his sitcom history makes Bob more playful than in the mid-life crisis original storyline. The insecurity at Helen’s breadwinner status is a subtext, less forceful than anticipated. Holly Hunter’s distinctive southern twang lets Helen be far more fun when her kids aren’t on the mission. Helen got to bring a bit of the Holly Hunter from Broadcast News without the parental concern.
The return of Sarah Vowell as Violet and Brad Bird as Edna solidified the film’s lovability. A must read author for me, Vowell brings the snide teenager out with her well practiced incredulity. All those audio books and NPR appearances discussing American society within the context of history have prepared her for an angsty teen facing both superhero and dating initiation. Brad Bird’s Edith Head caricature is my favorite Pixar creation, and her reappearance did not disappoint. Bonding with burgeoning baby Jack-Jack, they are the best friends of the summer. Only a portion of the longest computer animated movie was devoted to the goddess of superhero couture, but she was a vital shirt for the mammoth sequel
Artistically, the film reaches grand heights in its action scenes. Elastigirls’ first solo run, saving a train from derailment, covers a stretchy twilight metropolis with comic book parachuting in highflying detail. Easily the most consistent sequel in energy and familial authenticity, the film is already breaking records for animated films. Not that you can miss it, this will be a stunner in an already packed summer.