‘Incredibles 2’ Blu-Ray Review: Still Super 14 Years Later
Pixar’s name is a noteworthy one in cinema, carrying with it loaded expectations borne out of the high quality their work is known for. I regrettably haven’t seen every film the studio has produced yet. Pixar has revisited some of their universes, such as Cars, with sequels, but 2004’s The Incredibles was always the title that seemed to have the most demand for a successor. And so, after 14 years, Pixar and director Brad Bird have delivered on an Incredibles 2, but is it a worthy continuation?
Incredibles 2 picks up directly from its predecessor, continuing its story, themes and the Parr family’s battle against the Underminer. Although successful in stopping the foe’s machine, officials believe the collateral damage caused by Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) outweigh the benefits of their family’s heroics and decree that superheroes remain outlawed. However, series newcomers Winston and Evelyn Deavor (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener, respectively) approach Lucius (Samuel L. Jackson) and our leading parents with a plan to bring “Supers” back onto the streets legally.
As with the prior film, Incredibles 2 concerns itself with discrimination; should the Supers really be forced into hiding, especially in a world where they have the potential to help civilians? Our primary villain, the mind-controlling Screenslaver, believes so. While the antagonist’s grudge against the heroes regrettably isn’t explored as deeply as it could have been (and, indeed, Incredibles 2 as a whole isn’t concerned with matching the original’s depth), it does nevertheless function as an interesting backdrop to fuel their conflict. Along with the Incredible family and their ice-themed friend, new heroes are introduced. Pixar took care to create many imaginative uses for their powers, and the fighting scenes are choreographed well and entertaining to watch.
However, the most compelling component to the film, as with its 2004 forbear, is the familial dynamics between the Parrs. Whereas Mr. Incredible was at the forefront last time on the field, his wife is the primary do-gooder here, leaving him without her to fall back on at home. His ability to be a father and tend to the everyday tasks that entails — helping his son with math, consoling his daughter whose date stood her up, and taking care of the baby — test him in ways he never has been before. Seeing the gung-ho hero out of his element was entertaining, especially when his infant son Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile and Nick Bird) demands attention because of his many emerging powers. Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Dash (Huckleberry Milner) also begin coming into their own as heroes in this film, and seeing them cooperate together in the climax was the most gratifying action scene in all of Incredibles 2.
Three major bonus features are included on the Blu-ray disc, all of which are worth watching. Bao, written and directed by Domee Shi, is a beautiful seven-minute short film that originally accompanied Incredibles 2 in theaters. It looks at an Asian-Canadian family, particularly the son’s eagerness to move away from his family’s customs and gain independence and his mother’s efforts to retain him. The respect and attention to detail for the culture it is based on is authentic, and its sympathetic message is a nice compliment to the big-budget film it sits alongside. A five-minute short detailing Jack-Jack’s night at Edna Mode’s (Bird) facility is also included. It isn’t as entertaining as the film proper, but it’s still a fun insight into events that Incredibles 2 only really references. A story about raccoons from Bird is also included, along with a commentary track for the film and trailers for other upcoming Disney productions.