Pixar’s newest offering is one of the most anticipated movies of the year—dare I say it, even more than Infinity War. This is a sequel 14 years in the making: Incredibles 2. More supers, more crimefighting, more…villains with a weirdly good point than ever.
So how was it? I’d rank the storyline slightly below the original The Incredibles. The original was just too good to beat. On the other hand, the pacing (it’s Pixar’s longest film ever at 1 hour, 58 minutes) is markedly better. Re-watching the original, I thought it ran a little fast, jumping from scene to scene too fast for the impact to fully land—not always, but fairly often. This one was spot on, though. So in a word: great!
My rating: 5 out of 5.
Also, I feel the need to warn you that there is a seizure warning on this movie. (And I’m honestly surprised they had to add it, and it wasn’t shipped with one.)
Incredibles 2 picks up literally the minute The Incredibles left off, with the Parr family fighting the Underminer. Unfortunately, the fight doesn’t go well. Despite the Parrs’ and Frozone’s highly-praised defeat of Syndrome’s Omnidroid three months earlier, superheroing is still technically illegal, and they actually cause more damage fighting the Underminer than he would have done on his own, without even catching the bad guy.
Unable to return to hero work and with their house still destroyed from the last movie, the Parrs need a break, and corporate tycoons Winston and Evelyn Deavor step in to help. Winston is a giant superhero fan and wants Helen (Elastigirl) to go out crimefighting again (still illegally) as a corporate-sponsored hero to try to gain the sympathy of the public to “make supers legal again!”
Cue hilarious scenes of Bob (Mr. Incredible) struggling (though ultimately succeeding) to be a stay-at-home dad while Helen fights the nefarious villain Screenslaver, who can hypnotize people through TV screens. After saving an ambassador’s life, she gets the public back on the supers’ side…only to find out that Screenslaver was a setup from the start.
The interesting thing about both Incredibles films is that the villain not only has a point, but is…kind of more right than the heroes—you know, aside from the killing people part. As screwed up as Syndrome was in the first movie, he may well have had the better argument when he said the supers’ powers shouldn’t make them better than everyone else. Now contrast the Parrs, who basically embrace their superiority and let their son who can outrun a Bugatti join the track team in the final scene. It may not technically be cheating, but it’s certainly against the spirit of the competition—and not very heroic.
A little unfair? Maybe, but you can definitely see the thread. Now, in Incredibles 2, we have Evelyn Deavor (Seriously, who didn’t see that coming?) who believes that people have come to rely too much on the supers (and this from painful personal experience), tying it into how they have also come to rely too much on technology. Just read Screenslaver’s speech, courtesy of the Villains Wiki (yes, that’s a thing):
“Superheroes are part of a brainless desire to replace true desire with simulation. You don’t talk, you watch talk shows. You don’t play games, you watch game shows. Travel, relationships, risk; every meaningful experience must be packaged and delivered to you to watch at a distance so that you can remain ever-sheltered, ever-passive, ever-ravenous consumers who can’t free themselves to rise from their couches to break a sweat, never anticipate new life. You want superheroes to protect you, and make yourselves ever more powerless in the process.”
There’s more, but you get the picture. If that’s not a commentary on the state of society today, I don’t know what is—especially with the juggernaut that is Marvel playing on the screen next door (pun intended). And to top it all off, Screenslaver says all this while the movie is drawing the audience in with a big action scene.
The point is, Evelyn is obviously wrong to restrict the supers’ rights to use their powers and help the world, but she’s right that their influence on the world hasn’t exactly been healthy, whereas Bob and Helen (at various times) are just enjoying the hero game and not paying attention to her concerns.
The movie ends on a positive note for the supers, with the government (via a judge, weirdly) reinstating their legal status. But we can hope that after what they went through to get there, they will be a little more socially conscious in the future and try to help the world in more ways than just fighting crime.