Who would have thought we’d see a black President of the United States before we got a sequel to The Incredibles? Now that it is finally here, it was well worth the wait.
Incredibles 2 smashed Finding Dory’s record as the top opening weekend for an animated film. The $180+ million weekend haul would be impressive for a live-action film and, to put it in perspective, that’s more than Captain America: Civil War made in its opening weekend. It’s safe to say that fans were pretty excited about this one and the movie did not disappoint.
We pick up with the Parr family at the exact second we left off with them in The Incredibles. Superheroes are still illegal, but that doesn’t stop the Incredibles from facing off with The Underminer. What happens in that fight propels most of the action in the rest of the movie, including Bob staying at home with the kids while Helen goes to save the day.
The best part of the movie is the way writer and director Brad Bird positioned Bob at home. He isn’t some bumbling oaf who doesn’t know how to vacuum or start a washing machine. Instead, he is the incredibly relatable dad who is doing his best to take care of his family. And yet he provides plenty of laughs along the way.
Scientists have pretty much proven that women are better at multitasking than men are, a talent that is particularly handy when handling three kids. In Incredibles 2, we see Bob struggling to keep up with math homework, first dates, and a baby that can walk through walls and fights raccoons. I found myself completely identifying with Mr. Incredibles struggle to even process everything that is going on in his family, all while trying not to let Helen know how much of a struggle it is. And when Brad Bird reprises his role as Edna, the comedy moves from good to great.
One of the strengths of the film is also its biggest weakness. Elastigirl takes center stage in this outing, catching the bad guys and leaving her family at home. It sounds like a big step forward for women who are “leaning in,” but the story is really one-sided. We get to see Elastigirl’s perspective as the hero in the spotlight, but we never get Helen's perspective as a working mother after years of being a stay at home mom.
In fact, the one time she is directly asked about work-life balance, our heroine dodges the questions to go pursue more hero work. This could be a casualty of Pixar not allowing enough of a female voice in their productions.
That aside, Incredibles 2 is still a fun journey for the entire family. The real identity of the villainous Screen Slaver is a little too easy to spot, but their motivation is compelling and something that goes a little deeper than a mustache-twirling bad guy.
Without a doubt, this is Pixar’s second-best sequel, right behind Toy Story 3. However, it suffers from letting Elastigirl shine and leaving Helen behind. Much of her character development was given to Bob at home so any message meant for a strong female character is only partially delivered. For that, it gets an 8.5/10 in my book.