Review by John P Harvey
The setup may seem familiar — superheroes, banned from performing hero work, unable to follow their callings but suddenly needed even so. The Incredibles 2’s plot, though, is very different from that of its predecessor.
This time round, an apparently well-intentioned billionaire is doing all he can to facilitate extralegal hero action in order to swell public support for reversal of the superhero ban. And opportunities for our favourite animated “supers” to attract that support soon come thick and fast in the form of mass hypnosis by a hidden villain calling himself The Screenslaver.
But Mr Incredible has a hard time letting his petite wife, Elastigirl, do all the heavy lifting while he does the “easy” work of keeping safe two — no, make that three — kids raring to employ superpowers of their own.
Dealing with injured pride is just one of many personal journeys the film explores with considerable sympathy even as it maintains a fabulous pace in the action. Tech envy, memory-erasure troubles, the monstrous behaviour that frustrated sugar cravings can lead to, parental protective anxiety, and children’s need for significant roles all enter into a tale that’s nonetheless essentially pure escapist fun.
The film is chock-full of great gadget and plots, schemes, and of course superhero powers, and in that sense is reminiscent of the Spy Kids and Harry Potter series; not once losing its thread, but taking many unexpected turns.
The icing on the cake is a good deal of humour several degrees more sophisticated than in many “adult” comedies, along with photorealistic animation and a fabulous score.
The movie’s length at two hours five minutes, and the depth of its character revelations and complexity of its plot, may put it a little beyond the youngest for whom its appearance would seem to suit it. I’d have thought that nine would be about the lowest age at which a child would follow the whole story without confusion [I took my seven-year-old and five-year-old to this and they followed it perfectly; but they’re much smarter than me – ALLAN SKO].
To an extent, that may not matter: the visuals alone may be enough to maintain plot continuity even for six- or seven-year-olds, especially with the odd whispered clarification. And the movie’s appeal has no upper age limit.
A couple of hours’ great fun.