Director: Brad Bird
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell
Running time: 118 mins
If like me, you were a child in 2004, you will know that Disney Pixar’s The Incredibles was a cult cartoon classic amongst a generation. This was why when they made the announcement of a sequel, fourteen years after the original was made, I was both delighted and apprehensive. The idea of being part of a family of superheroes was once revolutionary, but now after years of Marvel-mania, it felt like even the nostalgia wouldn’t be able to revamp this played out premise.
But The Incredibles isn’t about intergalactic warfare and special effects, at its core, it’s about a family, and that’s what the second instalment stayed true to throughout. Set little after the first film ended, the family are out of work and living in a motel, due to the fact that ‘supers’ have been made illegal. Despite their best efforts to prove the need for superheroes, both the police and the government decide that the crimefighting family cause too much destruction, meaning they have to return to the normal world.
Thankfully though, just before they take off their suits for good, Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) informs Mr.Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) about a rich businessman who wants to help to rebrand superhero’s and change public perception. With the help of his tech-savvy sister Evelyn, Winston Devour chooses to make Elastigirl the star of his ‘super’ campaign, sending her out on a mission to help the citizens of Municiberg and improve the reputation of superheroes. Meaning that while Elastigirl is out shaking hands and fighting crime, the domestic duties fall to Mr.Incredible, much to his disappointment.
It’s also a gentle reminder that gender doesn’t stop you from doing anything, superhero or not
Now, I know what you might be thinking, the gender stereotype swap is unimaginative to say the least, and I agree. In particular, the initial scenes where Bob doesn’t know how to help Dash with his homework or talk to Violet about boys were cringe-worthy. But eventually it does find its way and moves past the clueless Dad cliche to focus on the Parr’s hilarious handling of baby Jack-Jack’s new found superpowers.
Meanwhile Elastigirlis in the middle of the action, saving crowds of people from near-miss train collisions and helicopter crashes, she soon gains full support of the public to legalise ‘supers’ again. But brand new supervillain the Screenslaver is out to ruin all her hard work, using mind control and hypnosis screens to turn everybody against the heros. So now it’s up to Elastigirl to save the day, no longer the sidekick to the strong man, she’s doing it all on her own and succeeding, all while riding a kick-ass new motorbike.
Without any doubt, this film wasn’t as good as the first, because the thing is, you can’t re-introduce great characters. The reason why we were so encapsulated as kids was that these characters were the first of their kind, so although it’s great to see them again, it has less of an impact. That being said, it feels very well timed to have a female-led animation that isn’t perpetuating the damsel-in-distress stereotype. To kids, it’s a fun and relatable cartoon where the characters are worrying just as much about getting to school on time as they are about saving the world. But it’s also a gentle reminder that gender doesn’t stop you from doing anything, superhero or not.
Overall the brightly-coloured larger than life graphics are a pleasure to watch and underneath it all is has a story with heart. My only real criticism is there needed to be more Edna because, well, you can never have too much Edna Mode darling.
Did you know? At 1 hour and 58 minutes, Incredibles 2 is not only the longest Pixar Animation Studios film to date, but also the longest computer-animated feature film to date.
Incredibles 2 is screening at Broadway Cinema until Thursday 23 August