REVIEW: ‘INCREDIBLES 2’ is a super film and ‘BAO’ is masterclass storytelling
THE INCREDIBLES is probably one of my favorite films and after 14 years we finally got the sequel we all wanted in INCREDIBLES 2.
The whole Parr family is back and it makes sense because this film literally picks up right where the last one left off with the Underminer wreacking havoc in the city of Municiberg. As you may remember, the controversies of the franchise include the fact that being a super hero is actually illegal. So when the Incredibles find themselves saving the day (and wrecking the city) they find themselves in a scenario not too unlike those facing the Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) was always a feminist and one of the ranking big dogs in the world of supers and in this film she’s given even more of the recognition she deserves to take on a fancy undercover job doing super-hero work. That leaves Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) to take care of house and home while mom brings in the big bucks. Obviously, hilarity ensues.
It’s really great to see the playing field in cinema being leveled more and more with gender and power dynamics. It should be no surprise that Mr. Incredible has a REALLY hard time taking on the role that was handled so perfectly by his wife and we get to see this through a series of vignettes that would otherwise seem routine except for the fact that there’s an unexpected change in the family dynamics… Jack-Jack has powers. And he’s not entirely in control of them.
Jack-Jack‘s unpredictable powers become center-point to the film causing both triumph and tribulations. His scenes are some of the most memorable in the film including his interactions with a rogue raccoon and later on in an absolutely phenomenal interaction with fan-favorite Edna Mode (Brad Bird) all just chewing up the scenery.
But the baby is not the only character getting more screen time for this film. We find both Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Dash (Huckleberry “Huck” Milner) stepping up into bigger roles both in the film and in the family dynamic. THE INCREDIBLES showed that family dynamics are never perfect even when you’re superheroes and that continues on in this film with the characters having real and believable struggles and emotions with their situations. Violet with her teen strife and Dash rough-and-tumble middle child.
Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and Evelyn Deavor (Catherine Keener) are two new characters who seem to be offering a deal that’s seemingly way too good to be true.
Of course, Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) is another fan-favorite and he continues to be a trusted friend and ally to the Parr family and his theme song — which we hear in the end credits along with the other main supers — is absolutely masterful. Music has always been a strong point of this film and we get more of that great sound in the score.
One of the biggest stars of the film was the PRODUCTION DESIGN. I want to live in Municiberg. I want to shop in the stores, live in the homes, drive in the cars, eat at the restaurants, and even stay at the motels. It’s Mid-Century Modern on steroids and it’s all fabulously retro. If my eyes could drool I would have been slobbering the whole time. With regards to the notion of water pouring out of your eyes… we would be remiss to not talk about the Disney-Pixar short that plays before the feature: BAO.
I was NOT expecting the gut punch of emotion in this film. A mother-son dynamic is explored masterfully without ANY words and with the help of an anthropomorphized little bao dumpling. It is an absolutely GORGEOUS piece and the fact that it features a Chinese-Canadian empty-nester protagonist is a tribute that a good story triumphs any marketing about what main characters should and shouldn’t be. BAO alone is honestly reason enough to make trip to the theaters but INCREDIBLES 2 is also fantastic.
INCREDIBLES 2 is a super film, see it in theaters. You won’t be disappointed.