After ages of waiting (yes, ages because that’s exactly how a few minutes feels like when you’re a little kid), one of the cinema’s glass doors creaks open, and you hold yourself back from rushing in and pushing your way past the people coming out; your mom or dad holding down a kid from his most treasured toy.
Only when the last person leaves the cinema does mom let go of your hand, releasing you and your now half-empty bag of popcorn into one of your favorite places. You find the best seats in the house–not too close to the massive screen, but not too far from it either. Not too much to the left, not too much to the right…somewhere smack in the middle. Perfect.
The trailers come on, and the movie starts. The storyline, the humor, all the action and superpowers your little kid heart can handle all in one movie, and it’s just– amazing. And that killer ending too.
Bam! Easy win.
The Incredibles is now one of your favorite movies of all time. It’s going to go down in history as one of the defining moments of your life’s cinematic experiences. You can’t wait to talk about it with your friends in school and fight over which one of you gets to be Dash or Violet (or Jack-Jack) during your playground make-believe sessions. And the sequel? You can’t wait for it to come out. You’re dying to see how badly it ends for the Underminer and how the Parr family defeats him as a unit. And you only have to wait…
And seven months.
In a time when movie studios seem less interested in putting to film new and original stories, and are more interested in cash-grab reboots and sequels that are more often than not sub-par compared to the source material, Pixar’s The Incredibles 2 seems to accomplish both sides of the spectrum.
Picking up right where the first movie left off, the audience is thrown right back into the action, with the Parr family battling it out against the first movie’s last minute villain: The Underminer. Since the two movies’ plots flow seamlessly into each other, it’s quite easy for one to forget that the two movies were released nearly 14 years apart. It’s basically like nothing has changed, other than the fact that you’re pretty much an adult already, of course. In fact, let’s face it. You were probably a thousand times more excited to see The Incredibles 2 than all the whiny, sticky-fingered, impatient, undisciplined little…children in the movie house. You find it hard to believe that just a few moons ago, that was you.
However, the sense of continuity that runs through both films makes this newly released sequel feel less like a wistful nostalgia trip down memory lane, and more like a simple reliving of the excitement of watching the first Incredibles movie as a child, enthralled by its world of heroes and villains.
Empowering women one Pixar movie at a time
The superhero movie genre has undoubtedly expanded in recent years. They’ve grown to include heroes of all shapes and sizes, but still the proportion of male to female superhero leads leaves something to be desired. The Incredibles 2 doesn’t fall for that trap of pushing female characters to the side, but instead has two strong female leads at the forefront of the action.
With the first movie having focused more on Mr. Incredible and his career, this new installment changes gears and puts Mrs. Incredible (referred to in this movie with her previous moniker: Elastigirl) in the spotlight. The movie’s plot hinges on her being the figurehead of the superhero community, and she actually doesn’t flounder at it. She’s presented as intelligent, determined, and, all in all, a capable female lead for young audiences to look up to.
Now on the other side of the moral spectrum, the movie also chose to give the role of its main antagonist to a strong female character– albeit strong in a different kind of light. The Incredibles 2 introduces Evelyn Deavor, a technological genius, who feels she is the mere shadow of her charismatic businessman of a brother, as the mastermind behind Screenslaver, the movie’s primary villain. Her character is shown to have a lot of depth, with several parts of the movie dedicated to her sharing her views on superheroes and the public’s over-dependency on them. This in itself is a far cry from many of the other female supervillains seen in movies, whose characters tend to be flat and one-note.
All in all, we think the younger generation could use seeing more of these “strong, independent woman who don’t need no man because she can do things for herself thank you very much” on-screen role models.
Don’t forget the men
The Incredibles 2 certainly switched their main characters’ roles. Not only did the movie have Mrs. Incredible become the central “hero” but it made her the Parr family’s breadwinner too. She and Mr. Incredible had to deal with an issue more and more people are facing in the real world–wives being employed while husbands take charge of the kids and the house, and really, what’s not to love about that?
Admit it—seeing Mr. Incredible try to master the art of putting the adorable baby Jack-Jack to sleep, helping Dash with his math homework, and Violet with her love life wasn’t just adorable and amusing, it was empowering. He, a man—a strong man at that–had to learn to go out of his comfort zone by doing what his wife used to take charge of—taking care of the kids. And turns out, taking care of them made not just him stronger, but their relationship as a family as well. This only goes to show that it might be a good idea for men and women to try switching it up once in a while, you know?
Relatable and realistic family dynamics
What made the Parr family’s dynamic so fun to watch wasn’t so much their all having superpowers, as it was their relatability. The realistic dynamic portrayed only made the audience connect with the movie more. Come on, sounds of “Awww” echoed throughout theatres all over the world when Violet told her dad that he wasn’t great, but he wasn’t incredible–even if he thought he’d failed them as a father.
Families in the real world can relate with the imperfectly perfect Parrs. Dash is adorable. He’s also annoying. He and Violet get into fights. But when push comes to shove, they have each other’s backs. Violet snaps at her dad because she’s going through some things with Tony, her love interest, who “forgot” who she was, but she loves him. Mr. and Mrs. Incredible argue, sure, but at the end of the day, they support each other. Jack-Jack is a handful, but he’s also his family’s secret weapon. Their collective ability to look past each other’s differences and beyond their own personal struggles in order to work together is something families in the “real world” can get something from. After all, a house divided against itself cannot stand.
Philosophy and ethics? In a kids’ movie?
A main issue of in this movie was that of ethics–a topic not many think of first when a kids’ movie comes to mind. The superheroes in The Incredibles 2 were seen to question the law, which said that they were illegal. They wondered if it was best to follow the law and not help when people were in trouble or to go against it and actually try to be of use when the world was in danger. This is honestly a great lesson on how, in life, not everything is as black and white as we wish it to be, which is why it’s important for us to learn how to ask questions instead of being afraid. After all, we all have some super in us.
Considering the fact that the target audience of this film is mainly children, we think this movie did a great job in stirring up their ability to think critically especially about the issues and concepts brought up in The Incredibles 2.
The Incredibles 2 saves the day
Just when you start to freak out, wondering if the nearly 14 year wait would be in vain or not, you breathe a sigh of relief. You’ve waited more than half of your childhood and now that it’s over and you’ve seen it, you let out the breath you didn’t realize you’ve been holding. To your relief, the movie was not a let down. In a world full of high expectations and broken promises, there still exists some things that just don’t disappoint.
The Incredibles 2 is one of them.