Fourteen years ago, at age 5, I was just starting to learn how to brush my teeth on my own. Flash forward to the present at nineteen years old, and I am in my second year of college in a city across the world from that I grew up in- now requiring a travel sized toothbrush. Fourteen years ago, The Incredibles hit theaters.
A superhero film created before any of the beloved characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe had ever hit the big screen. Now, Incredibles 2 has hit theaters, more than a decade later. A while the animated movie is sure to attract some of the kids, the outstanding love the film has received thus far, is coming from its adult audience. “Kids are strangely treated as beards”, commented Brad Bird, “I’m a single guy but I found a kid, can I come in now?”. On social media the running gag is that this film is really for the “grown-ups” and that kids should wait at least a week so the adults could watch it first. “It’s an art form, it’s for anyone who likes movies you don’t need to have a kid to enjoy it”, said Brad Bird of the prospective audience. The release of the film no doubt sparked a nostalgic emotion for its audience. In 2004, the first iPhone hadn’t even been created yet and Britney Spears was the Queen of Pop. The idea has floated around for a long of a period of time, so while watching the film, it’s surprisingly refreshing how much of a modern take the film has made. Bird has managed to create a sequel for the cartoon in which doubles as a hidden social commentary. It feels strange watching the film and seeing just how much it is still applicable to what is currently happening worldwide.
The story touches on subjects such as the government, feminism, and women working outside the home. As superheroes have been banned and are illegal, the plot transitions into the good vs bad battle, one where the government is the other face of the evil. The story picks up just seconds after the first one ended. Bob and Helen Parr, (played by Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter), are faced with the repercussions of being a superhero publicly. Alongside their kids who also hold the superpower tendencies; the invisible Violet, voiced by Sarah Vowell, the super fast Dash, voiced by Huck Milner and baby Jack Jack. Being left in a motel after their house was on fire, the Parr’s struggle with a way to pay for their shelter, as they are both unemployed. In the battle against the law placed on them, this commentary ensues, “Politicians don’t understand people who do something good because it’s right.”
When Helen becomes the pawn needed to make superheroes liked again, the roles are reversed where Bob upholds responsibility in taking care of the kids while his wife is out fighting crime. In the midst of the type of women empowerment we are seeing in Hollywood the storyline feels very much needed as a venture into a feminist perspective. “Obviously, times up, and it happened to be serendipitously reflected in this movie,” said Hunter. Much to the dismay of Bob, he is deemed as reckless and therefore becomes a stay at home dad. “They want you?!” initially exclaims Bob as the request for Helen is introduced. And while the request is at first very hard to hear, the transition into a loving, accepting father and husband was wonderful to watch. “I was resentful when I found out Mr. Incredible was going to be in this film not saving lives, not exhibiting any type of strength. But then I found out he was going to be helping out in saving the family.” said Nelson about the role reversal.
Whether you are 8 or 85, head to your local theater and watch Incredibles 2. It is out in theaters now, and I can assure you it’s nothing less of completely, utterly, incredible.