Incredibles 2 (Bird, 2018)

I’m very fond of the first Incredibles film, and by and large, its sequel is a welcome return. The characters are much the same as we’ve left them, as are their voice actors. Their personalities continue to shine through. Bird’s action sets remain dazzling, full of force and verve that keeps you entertained. And, in a bit of a nice twist, we get to follow Elastigirl’s journey, while Bob stays at home to babysit the kids. And it’s fun stuff! The Jack-Jack bits are especially cute. I found the film excelled with those bits of hilarity, because who doesn’t love to see a baby with a large assortment of superpowers wreak havoc on raccoons?

I did miss a lot of interpersonal dynamics that made the first film so lovable. Characters like Violet, Dash and Lucius feel under-served compared to its predecessor, and Edna Mode being reduced to an extended cameo is very rude. You don’t give an icon five minutes of screentime and expect us to be happy about it! The villain and their scheme of the day needed more work, too. Their displeasure towards superheroes as gross overreaches of state authority, with their own determined sense of meted punishment, is sensible, but a lot is left hanging in the air. Why, for instance, would one event make you come to this conclusion, if it makes more sense to have it built up over several negative experiences? And why doesn’t this film have a legible response to the villain’s concerns? As such, it’s difficult to know what this film wants to say about the superhero concept beyond simply pushing back against the villain. It ends up working more for its humor because of it.