Incredibles 2 is an entertaining, well-made movie that’s a model of family entertainment. Writer-director Brad Bird, who made his Pixar debut with The Incredibles in 2004, has come up with a fresh take on his ground-breaking story of a superhero clan. It emphasizes wife and mom Elastigirl and elicits big laughs from the smallest member of the family, explosive infant Jack-Jack. (I saw the movie with an enthusiastic audience last weekend and every gag involving Jack-Jack scored a crowd-pleasing bull’s-eye.)

Like all sequels this one poses a challenge for the filmmaker: the surprise factor inherent in an origin story is gone. We’ve already met the family and know what they’re about. Bird meets this task head-on, armed with a fresh point of view, lots of gags and almost non-stop action, accompanied by Michael Giacchino’s vibrant, brassy score (which, like his music for the first film, emulates the 1960s sound of John Barry). Another major asset is the stylish and imaginative production design by Pixar veteran Ralph Eggleston.

After a spectacular opening sequence in the city of Municiberg, an ungrateful city council votes to ban all superheroes! This doesn’t sit well with a determined business tycoon (Bob Odenkirk) who decides to “sponsor” Elastigirl and prove the city wrong. As a result, Mr. Incredible must adjust to being a house-husband, learning day by day about the hassles of raising three kids and running a household. (He’s even defeated by New Math.)

But never fear: the Incredibles are true superheroes. They all live up to their reputation, over the course of time, with satisfying victory moments for teenagers Violet and Dash and even good ol’ Dad. The returning voice cast (Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huckleberry Miner, and Samuel L. Jackson as Frozone) makes these characters both real and likable. Frozone makes a late entry and is underutilized, as is Edna Mode, voiced once again by director Bird.

My major complaint is the same one I voiced about the original picture in 2004: it’s too long. Brad Bird is an often-brilliant filmmaker but doesn’t know when to quit. He apparently doesn’t believe there can be too much of a good thing. For decades, animated features were short, many coming in well under 90 minutes. Bird broke that record with The Incredibles and, having produced a smash hit, saw no reason to change his way of thinking. The Incredibles 2 is long and feels it, but I have a feeling the public isn’t going to mind. They’ll be too busy having a good time.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

Subscribe to our newsletter


Maltin tee on TeePublic


Maltin on Movies podcast


Past podcasts


Maltin On Movies Patreon


Leonard Maltin appearances and booking


May 2024