The Incredibles movies are evidence superhero films were made for Pixar. If the animation studio ever gets ahold of the canon Marvel characters... watch out. Pixar's Avengers would shatter box office records. For now, we'll settle for the Parr family, they're not as cool as the Fantastic Four, but their movies are way better.
The Incredibles are recycled superheroes. Everything you see has been done before by Marvel or DC Comics. They're a cover band, but a really good one. Comic book devotees who can get over this hump love these guys. For kids, none of that matters.
The Incredibles (2004) remains a stellar mix tape of superhero powers, costumes, themes, and ideals. Writer/director Brad Bird's ability to distill a dizzying amount of comic book stuff into his film is remarkable. He continues doing it in Incredibles 2 — the movie is smart with its themes of equality, family, and being yourself while remaining visually spectacular. The sequel is a worthy successor.
Incredibles 2 begins right where the first movie left off with the Parr family, Bob/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner), and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile), going after a new villain, the Underminer (John Ratzenberger). Their fight causes mass destruction, and the powers that be are not pleased. Despite their heroism, superheroes are still personae non gratae in Metroville. The Parrs are forced to live under their real identities.
However, Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener), rich, corporate fans of the Parrs, have a plan: Elastigirl, the most PR-friendly hero, will fight crime in another city to build a good reputation. This means Bob gets to stay home (in a new palace) with the kids. The plan goes well with Elastigirl cruising on her motorcycle, kicking everyone's butt, and being soundly super. Home life, however, proves more challenging for her husband. Jack-Jack, who displays signs of his powers at the end of the first movie, becomes a handful for Bob. The little guy disappears, fires lasers from his eyes, and shows flashes of almost every other superpower. The kid is a dervish, and the best part of the movie.
Subtly, Incredibles 2 relates to any parent who doesn't understand their kid's homework, or fumbles handling teen romance. The script remains grounded in reality while defying it in the next scene. Giving Elastigirl the lead in the second act action sequences flips the gender script as well. It's not revolutionary, but it adds to the collective comedy quotient. Try not to giggle watching hulking Bob Parr search for his invisible baby with a cookie as bait. "Num, num. Cookieeee..." He coos exhaustively. It's always more fun seeing the kids beat up on dad.
Elastigirl, meanwhile, has a dojo's worth of stretchy kicks and chops for the villains, including another new one called the Screenslaver who uses TV screens to hypnotize people. He doesn't seem much of a challenge at first, but Elastigirl finds there's more to the creep than meets the eye. She'll eventually need the help of her entire family, including old friends Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) and Edna Mode (who helps to corral Jack-Jack's explosive powers with a new suit) to win the fight.
Incredibles 2 culminates with smart twists and some amazing action sequences that show off each of the characters' abilities. Jack-Jack steals every scene he's in. He's a beautiful sequel character, and a one-up on the idea of a kid born with powers. (A baby's powers would reflect his innocence, and indeed they do). And the rest of the Parrs, the villains, and Frozone, are no slouches. The action sequences are brilliantly animated. It's refreshing to see a sequel that fits so well next to its predecessor. Incredibles 2 isn't just proof Pixar has mastered superhero movies. It's proof it's mastered sequels as well.