The time that has passed between the first Incredibles film and its sequel, has brought with it some changes, not least that the adventures of our ‘Super’ family have only become more enjoyable.
Incredibles 2 shares some of its core ideas with those explored extensively other superhero films. However what it does differently is play out these familiar big picture debates through the microcosm of one family’s dining table. The personal and political clash as our superhero parents debate how to raise their children, namely whether to encourage or hide their special powers. Meanwhile a contemporary take on the work/parenting dilemma sees Helen’s Elastigirl take centre stage with a high profile new job, with former Mr Incredible Bob taking on the hard work of running a household with three children.
Bob’s sudden incompetence in the home is on the face of it comical - but the topsy-turvy dynamic exposes some deeper truths about modern relationships. For the first time he understands the extent of the emotional labour that women tend to do in many relationships, often unacknowledged – whether it’s supporting an teenager upset by ‘boy troubles’, helping with a hyperactive child’s homework, or struggling to get a newborn down to sleep. Until you’ve done it, it’s easy to underestimate how hard it is.
Underlying this is his wider struggle with his ego – not only does he have to take on the work in the family that he sees as less appealing than his superhero crash bang wallop antics, but he also has to take the backseat for the first time and support his wife’s amazing work in the limelight. In many ways it’s a thoroughly modern movie, reflecting the dilemmas any families experience.
On a personal note my age probably puts me and other millennials in a unique place when seeing these films as a franchise. I saw the first Incredibles as a teenager on a summer holiday family outing with my dad and my brother. Fourteen years later, the sequel coincides with having emerged the other side of puberty and early adulthood. I used to identify with the angsty teenager Violet – but now I’m closer in age to her career-juggling mother Helen. That the franchise works for both audiences is a testament to the filmmakers’ clever and thoughtful character-writing.
It would do the film a disservice to not mention the CGI animation, which has advanced to the point that the detail in a number of scenes is truly astonishing. I challenge you to not be mesmerised by the movement and colour of individual strands of our protagonists’ hair!
Overwhelmingly, Incredibles 2 is just very funny and watchable – in my view, even more so than the first. Whether its baby’s Jack-Jack’s hilarious face-off with a raccoon or the glorious reprisal of extravagant costume designer Edna, the film’s comic moments are spot on. And special mention goes to the short animation preceding the film, Bao. Now a firm tradition the short films aired ahead of Pixar’s main features tend to be funny and sweet, and this is no exception. Without revealing too much, I found it amusing, surprising, and heart-wrenching all at the same time, and was in tears as the credits rolled. Definitely don’t miss it.
All in all a great night out – don’t miss Incredibles 2 at the No.6 at 7pm on Saturday 8th of September.
Review by Lianne de Mello.