Incredibles 2 quenches the fourteen-year-long thirst left by the first film. Director Brad Bird knows what you want, and doesn’t waste time on exposition or backstory. The Incredibles 2 picks up mere seconds after the end of the first installment, and opens as the family is in mid-fight and they begin to learn that coming out of the proverbial closet isn’t as sweet or as easy as they had imagined.
Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) have a number of tasks ahead of them, both “super” issues, and not so super, like managing their teen daughter, Violet’s (Sarah Vowell) dating life, their super fast son Dash’s (Huck Milner) math problems, and keeping an eye on baby Jack Jack. As much as Dash and Violet want to be in on the action, they’re still novices when it comes to using their talent. Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl stand on opposite sides of an ethical debate. Is it right to teach their children to break the law even if they want their children to be proud of their superhero genes?
The theme of family survival remains at the forefront of this franchise. Bird has proven again that he’s adept at managing family politics, giving equal views into both sides of mom and dad. Watching how Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl fight in front of their children verses how they fight with one another in private is perfectly nuanced. The dialogue is filled with a history of managing disagreements both within the family and that within their society, which mirrors the current American society and its views on immigrants.
Disagreement runs rampant throughout the film and if viewers listen carefully, news and radio segments can be heard in the background discussing the rift between the citizens and politicians. My favorite line was, “Citizens trust a monkey with a wrench more than this Congress.” Another example is when the Parr’s try to explain to their children why the law doesn’t trust superheroes. “Politicians don’t trust people who do good for no reason. Makes them nervous,” they explain. The way Bird and the Pixar team seamlessly weave current society narratives and issues is yet another mark of Pixar’s natural way of connecting to audiences beyond the surface.
When a sequence of events has Elastigirl as the only super considered to lead the charge in making the public love supers once more, due to her lack of damage during her missions as well as a likability ‘coolness’ factor, it’s a little hard for Mr. incredible to swallow. But, he has a genuine desire to be a good husband and a wonderful father, so, he sucks it up and takes on a more domestic role while his wife goes to work. This journey is simply a slice-of-life heaven- with such a small role reversal numerous tropes and new experiences are created not just for our favorite power couple, but for their children and all future supers.
It’s tough to highlight an individual performances, because each performance was spot on. However, Edna Mode is an absolute scene stealer and used to the absolute height of her power. An unlikely pairing bring a side of Mode audiences have not seen yet much to our delight.
The one thing that might have been improved is the villain if only because it’s a little too obvious who they are from the moment they arrive on screen. Their plan is convoluted, feeling a bit underdeveloped and has little to do with the great subtext built throughout the film.
Overall, the film is a lot of fun and a delight for audiences of all ages. Nothing but respect for MY Avengers, right The Incredibles 2?
The Incredibles 2 is in theaters on June 15th.