Director: Brad Bird
Runtime: 118 Minutes
So back in 2004, almost 15 years ago, I was surprised with The Incredibles and how revolutionary it was. The animation style, the characters, and bringing superheroes from comic books into the cinema. Remember, the first Iron Man didn’t even come out until four years later, launching the Marvel Superhero craze that has continued today.
With relatively high expectations, I felt the film had an almost impossible task ahead. How do you top that? Especially when your audience, who were young kids at the time, are now adults who have seen millions of Marvel superhero films.
I walked into this film with a fair amount of trepidation and was seeing it in cinemas purely because I had to know. All the people of my generation were seeing it, were talking about it and were joking how this wasn’t a kids’ film.
Overall, I will say I was pleasantly surprised.
After seeing the trailers, I had growing concerns. The characters had not aged and the timeline had not changed after audience’s waiting for 14 years to see it. This seemed like a strange move and one I was already worried about. Furthermore, the over-reliance on Jack Jack and his powers for humour seemed quite juvenile for the now adult audience.
The plot is better than the trailers led on, but I still had a few issues with pacing. The film has a similar runtime to the original, but this time it really shows its length. Sometimes, especially the scenes with Mr. Incredible at home with the children, it seems to run far too long and saps the suspense from the film. In The Incredibles, they had a mystery to solve and the kids were slowly discovering more elements of their powers. In this film, they seem to have it all figured out and there aren’t any major elements propelling the plot.
The villain, unfortunately, I could see coming a mile away. I’m not sure if it’s just because it is still technically a kids movie, but at no point did I expect anything different. The use of hypnosis is a cool addition, but the motivations of the villain generally fell flat for me, and I wasn’t compelled to understand where the villain was coming from like I was with Syndrome.
The basis of The Incredibles was always around superheroes and concealing their identities because they were no longer wanted in society. Unfortunately, this plot didn’t age well, since the Marvel industry has spent almost a decade convincing audiences that superheroes are generally beloved by people and society. With this being the driving factor of this film as well, it becomes hard to digest as Marvel films have already moved beyond that.
The over-reliance on Jack Jack and the discovery of his powers did bother me a little. While it’s great discovering these different abilities, in the climax of the film it’s used far too much for humour, making the moments that should have tension seem comical and light-hearted. It also serves no real purpose. While in the original, Syndrome kidnaps him at the end to raise him as a villain, the discovery of his powers in this film seems to make little-to-no difference to the plot, except to give Mr. Incredible something to do.
It’s great to see Elastigirl at the forefront, and the character is sympathetic and compelling. They showed that elastic powers can be cool, and that she can be both mother and hero, which is a nice touch. Sometimes her particular storyline seems a little too “Go women, go!”, especially when we now live in a society (and have done for a little while) where mothers can still live out their own dreams with the full support of their husband.
Honestly, if you just take the film for what it is, a kids’ movie, it is highly enjoyable and still entertaining. The action scenes are particularly where the film flourishes, as the animation is better than some billion-dollar Marvel films.
If you enjoyed the first film, you will enjoy this one, but come in with an open mind and remember that it is a kids’ film. Some plot points are easy to see coming and others aren’t that complex, but it is still enjoyable and a throwback to your youth.