After a 14-year hiatus, fans of the original “The Incredibles” finally got to see what happened next after the infamous Underminer appeared and the Parr family put back on their masks. The last fans saw of the super family was on Nov. 5, 2004. Then, there was nothing but radio silence for 10 years until Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that a sequel was in the works, a sequel that was finally released June 15 of this year.
With fans on the edge of their seats since 2004, it’s no surprise that “Incredibles 2” has made box office history its opening weekend, earning $180 million domestically and an estimated $231 million globally. The animated superhero movie sequel has proved it has enough superpower to go toe-to-toe with Marvel’s trademark superheroes.
Box office success aside, one question remains. Does “Incredibles 2” live up to the legacy of the original “Incredibles”? Well, I believe this super sequel was worth the 14-year-long wait and here are five reasons why. Careful, there are spoilers ahead.
1. “Incredibles 2” strategically starts exactly where the original left off.
After waiting 14 years for a sequel, fans speculated a time jump between “The Incredibles” and “Incredibles 2.” Instead, director Brad Bird decided to start exactly where the original left off. In a recent press conference held at Pixar Studios in Emeryville, California, Bird explained why he made this decision.
“I thought about aging everybody the way everybody does, and then I thought ‘No, that sucks,’” said Bird. “The idea changes if you age the characters up. And the insights into those periods of your life and those particular perspectives disappear once you age them up.”
Bird simply wanted to spend more time with the characters as he left them and believed there was plenty of story left for each character: Bob and Ellen Parr as the middle-aged parents with superhero nostalgia on their minds; Violet Parr as the insecure teenage daughter starting to come out of her shell; Dash Parr as the energetic speedster and younger brother; and Jack-Jack as the baby with emerging superpowers unbeknownst to his family.
Not to mention, starting where “The Incredibles” left off leaves room to explore the consequences of the Parr family coming out of hiding to save the day with the superhero ban hanging over their heads, a key component of the sequel’s story. On the island of Syndrome, the original villain, the Parr family was safe to use their powers without public scrutiny.
Now, forced into the public eye by Syndrome and the Underminer, how will the family overcome the stigma against superheroes? Starting at this moment in time builds all the tension and suspense “Incredibles 2” needed for a great follow-up plot line.
2. The movie endorses female empowerment as Elastigirl takes the lead.
In the original movie, Elastigirl says the iconic line in the film’s opening scene: “Leave the saving of the world to the men? I don’t think so.”
“The Incredibles” relied on Bob Parr’s Mr. Incredible persona to do all the undercover hero work for the bulk of the movie. “Incredibles 2,” however, puts all its faith into his wife, Helen Parr, as Elastigirl.
After the family’s fight with the Underminer, they’re at a loss for what to do next as their fight with Syndrome has them holed up in a motel, the superhero ban keeping them in hiding. Luckily, the billionaire Deavor siblings approach Bob and Helen.
Winston Deavor is a huge fan determined to have the superhero ban lifted. He offers Elastigirl the opportunity to be the face of his campaign to bring superheroes back into the spotlight, much to Mr. Incredible’s chagrin.
Elastigirl then becomes a superhero icon as she successfully performs her duty, saving the lives of citizens, the mayor and a congresswoman from the clutches of the main villain, the Screen Slaver. She does all this while trying to be a mom from afar, calling Bob to see if Dash has his homework done and Jack-Jack is sound asleep on time. She is a mother and superhero combo like no other and shines brightly as a crime-fighting woman of power and skill.
3. The focus on family above all else continues in the sequel and creates a unique superhero movie experience.
At the press conference, Bird talked about how he came up with the idea for “The Incredibles.” “When I first had the idea, I went to a comic book shop and thought, ‘I’ve got to think up new powers.’ And after about a half an hour in the comic book shop, I realized every power has been done by somebody, somewhere,” said Bird.
“Right after that little epiphany, I realized that I’m not very interested in the powers. That’s not the part that interests me. What interests me is the idea of having a family and having there be a reason to hide the powers.”
In fact, the family’s powers are based on the stereotypical roles in the nuclear family.
“Men are always expected to be strong, so I had Bob have super strength,” said Bird. “Women, or mothers, are always pulled in a million different directions, so I had her be elastic. Teenagers are insecure and defensive so I had Violet have force fields and invisibility. Ten-year-olds are energy balls that can’t be stopped. And babies are unknowns; maybe they have no powers, maybe they have all powers.”
Paying homage to the original film, “Incredibles 2” uses the super-family dynamic to create a different kind of superhero movie than the likes of Marvel or DC. In this superhero movie, Elastigirl is balancing hero work and motherhood, while Mr. Incredible is left alone at home to take care of the kids while she’s gone.
Elastigirl fights Screen Slaver while Mr. Incredible fights math homework, teenage heartbreak and sleep deprivation. He studies Dash’s textbook to help him with homework, tries to rekindle Violet’s relationship with Tony Rydinger and attempts to manage Jack-Jack’s new powers. His short time as a single parent in his wife’s absence is funny but also relevant and endearing.
Family matters are at the heart of “The Incredibles 2,” and that’s a huge part of what makes it iconic, relatable and unique as a superhero movie.
4. Jack-Jack’s emerging powers take center stage and make for great entertainment.
“The Incredibles” ended with fans finding out that Jack-Jack the baby isn’t powerless, but harboring an arsenal of superpowers. The Parr family, on the other hand, was still clueless about this development.
In the big reveal, Jack-Jack has a run-in with a raccoon in what can possibly be called the funniest scene in the entire movie. Jack-Jack and the raccoon have the ultimate standoff, and the raccoon is ultimately overwhelmed by Jack-Jack’s powers. Bob catches the two in the middle of their skirmish and discovers Jack-Jack’s powers for the first time. And like the superhero nostalgic he is, he is elated.
However, as Jack-Jack’s powers start to get out of control, Bob is quickly strung out. He eventually turns to Edna Mode, a fan favorite from “The Incredibles,” for help and she ends up taking Jack-Jack for one night to learn about his powers. This, of course, leads to a comical bond between Edna and Jack-Jack, and she then introduces Bob to a super suit with controls to keep Jack-Jack’s powers in check. This is by no means the end of Jack-Jack’s comedic value, as it holds strong throughout the entire movie.
Jack-Jack causes mayhem and gladly takes the comedic role in “The Incredibles 2,” and fans are sure to enjoy his role as the super clown and occasional hero of circumstance.
5. Like “The Incredibles,” the villain’s motives are clear, real and reinforced by flashbacks.
In the original movie, Syndrome’s evil motives were reinforced by his brief encounter with Mr. Incredible as a young man. Mr. Incredible denied Buddy Pine’s offer to be his sidekick, so he spent years brooding over it, creating his villainous persona of Syndrome and developing his master plan against all the supers.
In “The Incredibles 2,” the main villain is Screen Slaver, a masked fiend who manipulates innocent people to do her dirty work by putting them into a trance when she broadcasts a signal onto a screen in front of them. As the movie develops, Elastigirl discovers that Screen Slaver is none other than Evelyn Deavor, Winston’s sister, but not before falling under her control.
Years ago, shortly after the government banned superheroes, the Deavor siblings’ parents’ house was broken into and their father was shot and killed. Instead of calling the police, their father, a huge superhero enthusiast, tried to reach supers for help, but because of the ban they never answered.
Winston believed the superhero ban was responsible for his father’s death so he developed a drive to lift the ban. Evelyn, on the other hand, thought her father was a fool for relying on superheroes to save him and blames them for his death. Her plan is to sabotage her brother’s campaign and ensure that the ban is permanent.
Evelyn’s tragic past is devastatingly real to grasp as a strong motive, regardless of how far she went as Screen Slaver.