Superhero movies are dull, heteronormative, braincell-deadening nonsense. High-speed chases, elastic jump suits and indiscriminate destruction. Surely, the days of the genre film are well and truly behind us.
But Incredibles 2 is a little bit more than a mere genre film. First of all, it’s a Pixar animation and is therefore sufficiently aware of itself to self-satirise at any and all opportunities. Secondly, and probably most importantly, it manages to turn everything we’ve come to expect from this type of movie on its head.
The sequel picks up exactly where the original left off. The Parr family cause major destruction to the city trying to defeat The Underminer and, in doing so, prompt the government to cut their superhero protection and relocation programme. Bob and Helen (aka Mr incredible and Elastigirl) are approached by a tech billionaire who has a plan to convince the world that supers should be legal again.
The twist is that it’s Elastigirl who he wants to spear-head the campaign. She goes out on her mission to catch the Screenslaver – an anti-technology hypnotist – while Bob stays at home to look after the children. Violet is in the midst of some serious boy trouble, Dash is as unruly as ever and Jack-Jack is getting to grips with an uncontrollable array of new powers. While mum is out fighting bad guys, dad is at home fighting his own exhaustion.
This film is one part family comedy drama and one part straightforward superhero flick. And despite what viewers might think, these two seemingly incompatible categories complement each other to produce a multi-faceted adventure. Incredibles 2 is high-octane yet hilarious, it’s supernatural yet recognisably human. It is also well-voiced by Craig T Nelson and Holly Hunter, in particular – as well as director Brad Bird as the inimitable Edna Mode. This is a cartoon, but one that is quietly saying something very important about men and women and what has come to be known as “the nuclear family”.
Incredibles 2 is already being hailed as a feminist triumph. And in the sense that it’s probably the first “kids’” film to distort a traditional family dynamic and place the female lead right in the centre of an action-based storyline, that sounds like a fair assessment.
Incredibles 2 is released nationwide on 13th July 2018.
Watch the trailer for The Incredibles 2 here: