If you’re reading this website, you’re almost certainly going to see this film – and rightly so. Director Brad Bird’s original Incredibles movie is a classic, and his belated sequel once again combines family drama with superheroics to winning effect. There’s an expanded role for mum Helen Parr / Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), more fun powers for toddler Jack-Jack and a villain that could encourage even teens to step away from their phones for a moment after the lights come up. It’s charming.
While it’s been 14 years for the rest of us, only moments have passed for The Incredibles, superheroes in a world where using their powers is outlawed. Another mission causes massive collateral damage and drives them further underground, but a mysterious mogul called Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) comes to them with a proposition. He is a fan, and believes that Elastigirl can lead a public relations push to rehabilitate the supers’ image. She goes to work, leaving the superstrong Mr Incredible, aka Bob (Craig T. Nelson) at home to look after teenager Violet (invisibility and shielding powers, played by Sarah Vowell), tween Dash (super-speed, Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile).
Two problems: Jack-Jack has unguessed-at powers that are going to cause problems for Bob, and Helen finds herself up against a sinister villain, the Screen Slaver, who hypnotises his victims through any nearby screen and forces them to cause disasters.
There’s a lot going on, and the result is a film that’s a little less focused and propulsive than the original, meandering somewhat between Bob, Helen and their respective challenges – with appearances from super-designer Edna Mode (voiced by Bird himself) and Bob’s mate Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) to fit in as well. Deavor’s recruited other supers as well, and has a tech-genius sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) who becomes fast friends with Helen.
It’s a lot, and a long running time for a family movie at nearly two hours. But on the other hand there are huge action scenes, delightful comic set-pieces (Jack-Jack vs. a racoon) and lots of interesting ideas about family and heroism for the more adult members of the audience. Bird’s 1960s visuals and Michael Giacchino’s jazzy score create the feel of a classic Bond, with all the dazzle you’d expect from a superhero blockbuster. The first family of Pixar are back, and they remain, er, unbelievable.
Is this a Good Movie for Kids?
Definitely, except that younger kids might find some of the fight scenes scary, and the two-hour running time could be a problem for the more restless. But the scenes with Jack-Jack and Dash will charm all of the under 10s, while teenager Violet and newcomer Voyd (Sophia Bush) will entertain older kids. All the older members of the family should love it.