Film

The First Reviews Of ‘Incredibles 2’ Are (Mostly) Saying It’s Incredible, Too

We know it's going to be good -- but is it super?

While we have to wait a few more days to see Incredibles 2, the first slew of reviews are in — and they’re damn good.

So far critics are calling the film a smart, funny and somewhat prescient follow-up to the wildly successful first movie. Despite Pixar’s penchant for sequels, it’s taken fourteen years for The Incredibles to receive a follow-up — it’s rumoured that director and writer Brad Bird resisted until his 2015 film Tomorrowland flopped, losing Disney around $120-130 US million ($157M-197M).

With this in mind, it’s easy to imagine Incredibles 2 as a cash grab on short-term nostalgia, but the reviews have slain the cynical bones of our body.

First things first — critics agree it’s a blast, faithful to the first. Some slightly bad news: they also agree it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the first. But could it ever?

In 2004, The Incredibles was breath of fresh air, an original superhero IP which was a delight to watch as it established its own universe, untied to comic books — now, the excitement is so strong that thousands of Twitter users are joking they’ll trample kids in the cinema.

Vanity Fair film critic Richard Lawson writes that, “Incredibles 2 ought to offer everything you liked about the first movie, with a bit of the surprise stripped away”.

Over at The Hollywood Review, Todd McCarthy agrees: “Incredibles 2 certainly proves worth the wait, even if it hits the target but not the bull’s-eye in quite the way the first one did”.

Incredibles 2 picks up where the last film left off, both figuratively and literally — we dive right in where we left off, as the Incredible clan face off in a “stunning” opening scene against a new super-villain, the Underminer.

As in the last film, superheroes are still illegal. Before too long, matriarch Helen/Elastigirl is shifted into the spotlight when she’s approached by brother/sister inventor duo, the Deavors (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener, who according to Vulture is a highlight among a strong cast). She soon becomes the face of a campaign to let superheroes, uh, superhero again, armed with a body camera to make her altruism go viral.

Meanwhile, Bob/Mr. Incredible becomes a stay-at-home dad, looking after precocious Dash, angsty Violet and baby Jack-Jack, whose tantrum-spurned superpowers are out of control. Add into the mix a new super-villain who hypnotises people who stare at their computer screens too much, and you’ve got the basic gist of the plot.

Despite the film’s 1960s setting, Incredibles 2 is filled with tangible lines to 2018 — superheroes are repeatedly referred to as “illegals”, and the new super-villain’s technological grasp approaches Black Mirror moralism. Critics are a little divided on whether these references work.

Some, like Vox’s Alissa Wilkinson, found the social commentary a little ill-fitting, noting that the first film’s Ayn Rand-styled strand of individualism continues, alongside somewhat tired jokes about gender-roles.

Incredibles 2 tries to say lots of things and winds up saying nothing at all,” Wilkinson writes. “That doesn’t take away much from the pleasure of watching it. But it does seem, at least a little, like it’s been sucked into a jet engine by the size and ambition of its own cape.”

What all reviewers agree on is the action sequences, repeatedly called “the best you’ll see all year” — especially one involving Jack-Jack and a mischievous racoon.

Vulture also praised the streamlined nature of the film, saying that the teams behind Marvel and co’s action-packed films should feel “a twitch of shame”. Over at Roger Ebert, reviewer Brian Tallerico says that the one word that comes to him is “fluid”, noting how impressively slick and “effortless” the whole film was.

You can find out for yourself this Thursday, when the film receives wide-release in Australia.