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  Incredibles 2 Daddy Means Fun, Mommy Means Business
Year: 2018
Director: Brad Bird
Stars: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Catherine Keener, Eli Fucile, Bob Odenkirk, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Bird, Sophia Bush, Brad Bird, Phil LaMarr, Isabella Rossellini, Adam Gates, Jonathan Banks, John Ratzenberger, Barry Bostwick
Genre: Comedy, Action, Animated, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Since superheroes have been outlawed, the family of the Parrs, who have superpowers, have been placed in a difficult position as they believe they are unjustly scapegoated for the evil activities of the world's villains, superpowered or otherwise. In fact, they are convinced the public should thank their lucky stars they exist, as they have just returned from battling a megalomaniac to find there is another threat to the city underway. "Under" being the operative word, for the Underminer (voiced by John Ratzenberger) is using an enormous drilling machine to break into a bank and cause havoc in the process. Mr Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) marshals his family...

Which was interesting, for Mr Incredible was not really needed for the bulk of the plot, or rather he was not needed for his super-strength, he was destined for other things to help. Not help society, but help his family, as in the best tradition of Stan Lee's comic book heroes, Incredibles 2 was a story of responsibility, which you could argue was the point of every superhero yarn: what can you do with the talents and abilities you have to make the world a better place? Mr Incredible takes some convincing that he can look after his toddler son Jack-Jack, but this role reversal with him essentially turning house husband opened up what could have simply been a do-over of the previous film.

Nevertheless, with the market saturated with superheroes for some time by the stage this was released, it could be forgiven for providing at least some of what we had seen before in this genre, only with a fresh gloss and to an extent placing Mrs Parr, Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) in the spotlight to lead the battle against the threat to the city, director and screenwriter Brad Bird was legitimately bringing a new perspective to these stylings. This was the mother's perspective, as the heroine is traditionally meant to look after her brood of offspring as well as her man, only here the fate of millions was in her stretchy hands as she implemented her motherhood for altruistic ends.

To an extent this was satisfying much in the way its predecessor was, thanks to Bird's invention when it came to the action suggesting he could very well have directed a live action superhero effort, say a Marvel's Fantastic 4 that potentially might have really hit big on many levels as that comic was plainly the inspiration for the narrative here. Specifically the earlier, nineteen-sixties incarnation, where many of the trappings allowed these cues to show through, be that in the design (pleasing and colourful as you would want from Pixar), the references (The Outer Limits title sequence was there for a reason) or Michael Giacchino's music, one of his finest scores as he allowed his love of sixties themes to shine through in practically every scene. All that was missing was a nod to the societal upheavals of the decade.

Though you could make the point that Elastigirl was crusading for women's rights with her powers, though that would falsely indicate Bird was bashing the audience over the head with didacticism when it wasn't the case: whatever happened here served the storyline and spectacle and any conversations about working mothers and stay-at-home househusbands were left for the audience to pick up (or drop) as they saw fit. That plot saw an equally socially concerned villain whose valid worries about citizens relying too far on what they see on screens rather than living their own lives was soured by the misanthropy that fuelled it, an "I know best" attitude akin to a wayward parent exerting far too firm a control and punishment over their kids, purely for basic human behaviour. Elastigirl represented sensible guidance, Screenslaver was the antithesis of that, though the Pixar trope of revealing a sympathetic character as the actual baddie was growing too well-worn, not to mention prickly and paranoid. Other than that, pretty decent as sequels went, and certainly an improvement on Cars 2.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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