Behold the Underminer!

Incredibles 2 is the nearly incredible 14 year follow up to The Incredibles. If there’s any Pixar sequel I was most excited for, it was Incredibles 2. Unlike most of the other Pixar continuations, superheroes are made for multiple movies. So it was only a matter of time before it was greenlit. After directing Ratatouille, Brad Bird was questioned about the possibility of an Incredibles 2. He already had ideas for it, but he didn’t want to do it until it was perfect.ย Incredibles 2 asks questions about the superhero family that help their relatability. Rather than follow adult versions of the kids like I briefly assumed, Incredibles 2 takes place exactly 1 minute after the first movie.

Anticipation for the long awaited sequel was bigger than any Pixar sequel at the time. Since superheroes only grew in popularity since 2004. Thanks to Disney owning Marvel as well. My generation made it clear that the movie was made for us. Any child that saw Incredibles 2 wasn’t even born when The Incredibles came out. Going from 9 to 23 years old, superhero movies were such a big deal that my entire family went to the theater to see it. Something we hadn’t done since Toy Story 3. Sure originals like Coco were successful, but nothing beats name recognition. Making it the third Pixar movie to cross the billion dollar mark. Incredibles 2 was a fun experience, but the only thing strong enough to take its Best Animated Feature win was another superhero movie…

40. Incredibles 2

The Incredibles fight together

Incredibles 2 has its family theme represented in its Oscar winning short Boa. A sentimental Chinese allegory where a mother experiences motherhood all over again through a baozi bun. Incredibles 2 was far from the only sequel made in the time gap. Sequels were also made in the form of the video game The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer and comic books made by BOOM! Studios. I played and read both, but I had a feeling they wouldn’t use material from either. Since computer animation had advanced exponentially since 2004, Pixar no longer feared human focused stories. The only difference was the software that no longer contained the original character models. Like Toy Story 3, they had to be re-rendered from scratch. The Incredibles was still impressive, but it was a very early attempt at a human centered computer animated movie. So characters are now cleaner with slight improvements made to their stylized appearances. Along with the usual increase in locations.

All the primary respectable cast members return including Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, and of course Samuel L. Jackson. Which would be his 11th appearance in a superhero movie since the first Incredibles. Spencer Fox was understandably replaced by Huck Milner. Like the replacement voice for Nemo, Milner does a fine job recapturing the energetic voice. Since John Ratzenberger could only voice the Underminer at the end of the first movie, it only made sense to follow events immediately after he emerged from the ground with the Incredibles ready for action. A Pizza Planet truck was also included, but tear worthy moments are in short supply. Can’t say I was expecting to open on Tony Rydinger recapping events. Tony was Violet’s crush who asked her out at Dash’s track meet. He describes how he witnessed the Incredibles suited up and accidentally saw Violet without her mask to Rick Dicker. Since Bud Luckey retired, then passed away, Jonathan Banks replaces Dicker. He erases Tony’s memory the same way he did to Kari in the short Jack-Jack Attack.

The Incredibles are still learning to fight as a family. Mr. Incredible faces Underminer directly, Elastigirl stretches to help citizens avoid the drill, Dash runs to help, Violet shields people with her force fields, and Jack-Jack is passed around. Frozone arrives to use his ice on the drill and Mr. Incredible uses his super strength on it when Underminer escapes. The long awaited fight starts the sequel with a bang, but it’s a little underwhelming compared to the video game. Really the devastation is meant to highlight a bigger issue. Despite the Parr families very confident expressions while masking up, Elastigirl & Frozone bring up superheroes being illegal. The government shuts down the Superhero Relocation Program in response to City Hall’s destruction. Dicker says his goodbye’s, but Bob mentions Tony before he leaves. Bob & Helen disagree on the anti-supers law over dinner while the kids just want to be super. Lucius arrives at their motel and tells Bob & Helen all about a rich tycoon who wants to make supers legal again.

The three of them arrive at DevTech dressed in their classic costumes. Bob Odenkirk is the eccentric head of the company Winston Deaver. A man who loves superheroes so much he knows their theme songs. Catherine Keener is his unseen sister Evelyn Deaver. A laid back, behind the scenes part of the company who designs all their technology. They each disagree on the death of their parents who died waiting for supers after they’d been made illegal. Winston’s goal is to fix the public’s perception of supers with calculated heroic missions using a body cam. Some people read too much into it, but Brad Bird always intended Elastigirl to be the lead in Incredibles 2. She’s chosen by Deaver since her stretching powers cause less collateral damage. Since superhero movies & shows are all over the place, Elastigirl is the one given the most superhero action. Since Bird wanted to put more focus on the family dynamic.

I should be disappointed, but I love the characters too much not to appreciate anything they do. Having a mom with a new job gone while dad watches the kids was very relatable. It’s something my own mom and dad did once when I was younger. Helen gets a new dark grey costume from an alternative designer and a snappy new Elasticycle. Meanwhile, Bob becomes Mr. Supermom back at Deaver’s lavish house that he lends to them. Elastigirl is sent to a crime filled city to wait for crime. When a runaway train occurs, she stretches into action. Elastigirl’s stretching is easily the most creative use of those powers I’ve seen put to screen. The Elasticycle breaks apart for better elasticity and the rest of her stretching comes in handy to stop the train. Even though Bob would much rather be the one fighting crime, he begrudgingly accepts his new role.

All members of the Parr family have their own problems to deal with. Dash only has math homework to deal with and Violet has relationship problems with Tony. Bob is unable to comprehend new math and is accidentally responsible for Tony forgetting Violet. Staying up with Jack-Jack starts to drain him as well. After the end of The Incredibles and Jack-Jack Attack it was obvious that Jack-Jack would be the highlight of the sequel. Who doesn’t love a superbaby? Jack-Jack’s unexpected fight with a raccoon had the whole theater erupting with laughter. While every new power he exhibits is funnier than the last. Powers like fire, demon transformation, heat vision, floating, and phasing were seen in the movie/short, while new powers like multiplying, cross dimensional travel, blobbing, enlarging, and morphing are just as entertaining. Bob hides Jack-Jack’s powers from his wife and kids while Helen interviews for her train rescue. It’s then that she discovers the main villain Screenslaver. A villain capable of hypnotizing anyone with a screen, including the pilots of a foreign Ambassadors helicopter.

Elastigirl makes another daring rescue before anyone gets hurt. I continue to forget The Incredibles was set in the 60’s, but the sequel makes it even more obvious. Even though Evelyn’s technology mirrors our own. It’s just that the Screenslaver’s message of escaping into a TV screen would have made more sense in the modern world. Meanwhile, Violet renounces superheroes after Bob mentions Dicker erasing Tony’s memory. Bob also gets mad when he sees his old Incredi-bile being bid on live TV, but he decides to make the most of his time with the kids. Learning Dash’s new math and attempting to make it up to Violet by going to Tony’s parent’s restaurant. When the kids discover Jack-Jack’s powers, they call their Uncle Lucius. An exhausted Bob shows Jack-Jack’s powers to Lucius and he decides to take him to Edna Mode. Incredibles 2 does check off a few boxes, but at least Edna’s role is different. She instead helps Bob by studying Jack-Jack’s powers which can be seen in the short Auntie Edna. She reworks his super suit and builds a control panel to help keep his polymorph abilities under control.

After another successful save, Winston introduces Elastigirl to fellow aspiring heroes who just came out of hiding. Each one stranger and more stylized than the last. The main one is Elastigirl’s biggest fan Voyd, voiced by Sophia Bush, with the power to create portals. Other supers include strongwoman Brick, electrical conductor He-Lectrix, telekinetic crusher Krushauer, owlman Screech, and elderly lava vomiter Reflux. Helen and Evelyn have many mature conversations throughout, but one conversation gives them an idea to catch Screenslaver. She finds him in an apartment with seizure inducing hypnotizing screens. Screenslaver is unmasked, then locked up, but Helen can’t shake the feeling that something is off. Surprise, another twist Disney villain! SPOILER ALERT! It was Evelyn Deavor who had the evil endeavor all along. Her reason to hate supers makes sense, but she doesn’t hold a candle to Syndrome. Her evil plan is to hypnotize supers like Elastigirl after she’s made progress in gaining public trust, then having them attack at a televised summit meeting.

After an hour of mostly family drama, the superheroic climax was more than worth the wait. Mr. Incredible is hypnotized along with Elastigirl and the rest of the supers go after Dash, Violet, and Jack-Jack. Frozone arrives to help after a brief shout out to his wife. They do their best to fight the hypnotized heroes and Dash even signals for the Incredi-bile. Frozone is taken over, but the kids escape. Leaving them as the only ones who can save their parents. The climax on Deavor’s boat is another incredible blend of multiple powers that ends when everyone comes together to free the supers and stop the runaway boat. Evelyn is arrested, Violet gets a new date with Tony, and supers are made legal again. Ending in another call to action that hopefully won’t take another 14 years to see. Followed by the always epic Michael Giacchino score. Incredibles 2 did a serviceable job at standing out from other superhero blockbusters and was well worth the wait.

41. Incredibles 2

Elastigirl rides into action

Preceded by: The Incredibles

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