The “Incredibles 2” is this year’s summer offering from the illustrious Pixar studios. Released fourteen years after its predecessor, it’s been a long time coming for eager fans.
This installment picks up after the original “Incredibles” ends, following the Parr family as they fight evil villains and navigate life. Most of the original cast returns, with Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter voicing the lead couple of Bob/Mr. Incredible and Helen/Elastigirl, and Sarah Vowell reprising her role as Violet. New to the cast is Huck Milner, who wasn’t even born when the first instalment was released, as Dash. Eli Fucile embraces his inner child as he returns to voice the baby Jack-Jack. Each family member has different powers, and works together along with family friend Lucius/Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) to help bring peace to the city.
The plot, in and of itself, isn’t going to win any awards for creativity. It follows the essential superhero movie formula. The key characters are introduced, the villain appears on the scene, and the heroes overcome challenges to eventual victory. But what made this animated feature stand out to me were the hidden and not-so-hidden messages throughout. First and foremost was the villain, “Screen Slaver”, who controls the population by hypnotizing them through television and other screens. The take-away for me was don’t make yourself a slave to the screens in your life. Heading into summer, where kids will undoubtedly be begging for screen time on any number of devices, I can’t think of a better message to send to a captive audience!
Another message was revealed when Elastigirl (Helen) was chosen over Mr. Incredible (Bob) as the superhero of choice in a superhero rebranding initiative. It was refreshing to see traits other than big muscles and a smash and crash attitude being valued.
Additionally, the movie addressed the complexity of balancing the needs of family with working parents, with the added dynamic of Bob staying home while Helen works. Unfortunately, the movie uses the typical “dad is useless with the kids at home” and “mom doesn’t trust dad to do a good enough job with the kids” tropes at first. But Bob and Helen (and the movie) redeem themselves; he digs in to prove he can make things work on the homefront, and Helen chooses to trust him and focus on her career.
There were other winning aspects of this animated offering as well, including the laugh factor and kid-friendly fight scenes. Aside from two potty-level-humor jokes, the laughs are all clean and I heard the kids and parents laughing with equal gusto throughout. The fight scenes are engaging, but not too violent or drawn out and I particularly enjoyed the creativity of how each superhero used their powers to outwit and outmatch each other.
The “Incredibles 2” really is fun for the whole family and is sure to warm your heart as much as it entertains you, so grab a loved one and some popcorn—and maybe think about what superpowers you have that could help save the world.
Amy Kellestine is an educator, engineer, Arati life coach and entrepreneur living in Edmonton, Alberta. She spends her free time camping, gardening, and volunteering for causes such as Cystic Fibrosis and nature conservation. She is a devoted mother and is passionate about helping others and writing.