Saturday, June 23, 2018

Incredibles 2

Incredibles 2; CGI animated fantasy comedy, USA, 2018; D: Brad Bird, S: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Catherine Keener, Samuel L. Jackson, Sophia Bush, Isabella Rossellini

The Parr family–Bob, Helen, Dash, Violet and Jack-Jack–are forced back to being a "normal" family after the superheroes are outlawed by the government due to too much collateral damage caused while catching criminals, and thus the Incredibles become a thing of the past. However, Helen accepts the advice of millionaire Winston and secretly returns as Elastigirl, fighting crime in the city. Thus, Bob stays at home and has to take care of the kids all alone, despite huge problems: Violet is angry that the agents erased the memory of her crush, Tony, while baby Jack-Jack has uncontrolled outbursts of superpowers. It turns out that Winston's sister, Evelyn, wants to sidetrack the agreement for rehabilitation of superheroes, in order to make them illegal permanently. Thanks to all the family, Evelyn is stopped and the agreement is signed.

Full 14 years have passed since the original "Incredibles" was released, and this long hesitation took its toll in this somewhat weaker assembled sequel, but a one that still offers enough humor, wit and creative action sequences to "float above" the average empty big budget spectacles, while also adapting feminist undertones: here, Helen / Elastigirl has been promoted to the main character while her husband, Bob, now unemployed, has to stay at home and take care of their kids while she is at work, whereas even the plot twist involving a villain stays true to this gender equality notion. "Incredibles 2" suffer the most from two things: Violet was an excellent character in the 1st film, since her teenage problems were easily identifiable, yet was sadly pushed to the background in this story, whereas the subplot involving the baby having sudden outbursts of uncontrolled superpowers (turning into a red devil while angry; teleporting himself...) was ill-conceived and misguided, a cheap attempt at jokes that clash badly with some more sophisticated moments in the film. Some of the finest moments arrive precisely from quiet comedy bits, mostly from Bob trying to take care of the kids at home: in one of them, after the baby has escaped several times from the cot at night, a tired Bob puts a table on top of the bed, so that the baby will not escape from it again. In another, while Helen calls over the phone and asks if Dash has done his homework, the camera pans at Dash sleeping on the table, while Bob says: "He's done!" More of such clever jokes would have been welcomed, since there are a few moment of "empty walk" here and there, whereas the three sequences of the villain's hypno-rays are a "flashlight overkill", yet Bird once again demonstrates that he still has enough freshness and ideas to deliver fun movies, which compensates for several omissions.


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