Movie review: 'The Incredibles 2' gets the family back together with vigor

Phil on Film
Posted at 7:52 AM, Jun 15, 2018

"The Incredibles" came out so long ago that some people who saw it as kids will now be taking their own children to see the sequel. In most ways, the Pixar follow-up was well worth the 14-year-wait. In others, not so much.

A slickly-paced visual dynamo, the family superhero flick is a dynamic crowd-pleaser that gives superfans just about everything they could have bargained for.

It's been a strong year for action movies, and "The Incredibles 2" stands up well to the likes of "Avengers: Infinity War," "Deadpool 2" and "Solo: A Star Wars Story" in terms of breathtaking setpieces, breezy one-liners and thunderous battles.

Yet the movie falls short when compared to the rest of the Pixar oeuvre. All of the best Pixar movies are emotionally devastating and thought-provoking. In comparison, "The Incredibles 2" is trifling eye candy.

There's nothing really at stake, and what few surprises lurk in the script are telegraphed. What you get is basically an overgrown Saturday morning cartoon -- which is exactly what the beloved first film was. The amount you enjoy the film will directly correlate to the manner you can temper your expectations and your ability to slip back into the giddy mindset of a Jujube-popping 12-year-old.

Director Brad Bird sets out to conjure a family reunion in movie form. The original voice cast -- including Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter and Samuel L. Jackson -- returns. So does the theme of the original: The superhero family is out to prove to the government that spandex-wearing vigilantes do more good than harm.

The scene stealer is baby Jack-Jack, who is exploring his newfound powers and happy to wreak havoc in the way toddlers excel. That makes life difficult to stay-at-home dad Mr. Incredible (Nelson), who keeps house as his wife (Hunter), takes on a mission to track down a mysterious villain.

The narrative shifts between the two protagonists, altering tones from household disaster comedy to full-throttle action flick. It's the latter that's particularly impressive, with Pixar flexing its technological muscles with excellent chase and battle sequences that make everything in the original feel antique.

It's those scenes that rise to the level of the title. As far as the film as a whole, it could be called "The Totally Adequates 2." But there's just not much of a ring to it.

RATING: 3 stars out of 4.