It's been almost 14 years since Syndrome tried to rid the world of superheroes, but Pixar fans, some of them now in their 20s and 30s, have been eagerly awaiting a sequel to Brad Bird's The Incredibles as if they were still 8-10 years old. Their prayers have been answered, and Incredibles 2 will hit theaters everywhere this Friday.
Picking up right where the first movie left off, we find the Parr family doing battle with the Underminder (John Ratzenberger). However, the large amount of destruction caused by this encounter only seems to confirm the public perception that making superheroes illegal years before was the right choice. Only telecommunications mogul Winston Weaver (Bob Odenkirk) wants to bring these mythological figures back into the sunlight with a massively mounted PR campaign, which utilizes a fan favorite, Elastigirl (Holly Hunter).
The only thing standing in the way of legal crime-fighters is the appearance of a new villain, Screenslaver, an evil genius capable of hypnotizing anyone unfortunate enough to look at the nearest monitor. But it's the returning characters (Mr. Incredible, Frozone, Dash, Violet, Jack-Jack, Edna Mode) and the voices behind them (Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson, Huck Milner, Sarah Vowell, Bird) that make the movie worth the price of admission. After all, it's them we fell in love with back in 2004. Then there are all the new faces and heroes voiced by Catherine Keener, Jonathan Banks, and Sophia Bush.
So, is Incredibles 2 as super-powered as the first installment? Yes and no. It's got the magic and charm of the initial ride, but the intervening years have made The Incredibles such a popular and iconic piece of pop culture that perhaps nothing could have lived up to it or surpassed it. Advances in animation allow for an even better-looking product, and a collection of laughs centered around Jack-Jack's manifesting powers combine for a follow-up worthy of the Incredibles name. With that said, you might feel a slight sensation of déjà vu in terms of the overall story.
With a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes (1% less than the original), the overall consensus reads:
"Incredibles 2 reunites Pixar's family crimefighting team for a long-awaited follow-up that may not quite live up to the original, but comes close enough to earn its name."
Continue on to see what critics are saying about the sequel.
***WARNING! Possible spoilers for Incredibles 2 ahead...***
"Incredibles 2 ought to offer everything you liked about the first movie, with a bit of the surprise stripped away. This sequel has a richer, more intricate gleam than its predecessor —14 years have done a lot for animation technology — but it still whizzes and glides across the same architecture. It’s a blast — and then it’s gone." -Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
"No joke: These are the best superhero action sequences in our superhero-drowned decade. You figured Bird might be trepidatious returning to this material. Since 2004, there have been untold eons of comic book heroism adapted to the bigscreen, two Fantastic Fours, three different Spider-Men, the ongoing threat of a Jared Leto-Joker film. But the writer-director brings a snazzy Pop Art kineticism to his heroes’ journey. When Incredibles pal Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) casts his Iceman powers, the furious density is astonishing. He’s not just casting freeze-rays. It looks like he’s whipping up an Everest. And there’s a character whose power seems to be vomiting lava; I’ve never seen prettier lava." -Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly
"As with everything else, Bird’s timing makes even what’s expected galvanically funny and what’s unexpected volcanically so. Can we dare to hope that the studio people behind the current plague of superhero movies will watch The Incredibles 2 and feel a twitch of shame? Their films are largely set inside computers anyway, so why not take their cues from Bird and streamline the storytelling, distill the action to its lyrical essence, and give us one great climactic sequence instead of the usual shambolic five? May they learn from the Bird to fly high!" -David Edelstein, Vulture
"Incredibles 2 certainly proves worth the wait, even if it hits the target but not the bull's eye in quite the way the first one did. It remains to be seen whether everyone who loved the original when they were six years old and is now 20 will rush out to catch this follow-up, but there's plenty of crackling entertainment value here for viewers from five to 95." -Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
"It’s a high-water mark for superhero sequels and for Pixar in general. With gorgeous animation, pulse-quickening action, painfully funny family-driven gags and just enough topicality and substance to make it work beyond mere surface-level pleasures, The Incredibles 2 is a terrific piece of high-quality entertainment." -Scott Mendelson, Forbes
"Pixar doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to sequels, but this follow-up surpasses most everything without Toy Story in the title. The animation is stellar and detailed in excellent action sequences, Michael Giacchino’s score swings harder than ever, and the first film’s family-friendly warmth is just as appealing now as it was then, even if Incredibles 2 isn’t totally incredible itself." -Brian Truitt, USA Today
"Sequels, especially sequels that came out over a decade since the original, are a tricky prospect. The original casts a longer and longer shadow as its popularity grows, and it becomes difficult for a sequel to make a splash on its own terms while retaining what people liked about the first movie. While it never quite reaches the delirious highs of The Incredibles, Incredibles 2 is a worthwhile sequel that never loses sight of why we fell in love with these superheroes in the first place." -Matt Goldberg, Collider
"Each story point hits us with its overly calculated “relevance.” Bob’s awkwardness as a nurturer in the brave new world of dads-as-homemakers; Helen’s proud post-feminist advancement over her husband; the ominous threat of whatever comes through the computer screen — it’s all a bit too thought out, and maybe a tad behind the curve. In The Incredibles, the thriller plot was the vehicle through which the Parrs discovered the meaning of using their powers: of being themselves. In Incredibles 2, they save the day once more, but emotionally they’re just going through the motions." -Owen Gleiberman, Variety