It’s incredible to think it has been 14 years since the first outing of Pixar’s superhero family. Often considered to be one of the animation house’s best efforts, the imagery and imagination are still vivid in the memory. Flash forward to the present day and much has changed. Not only has the technology used to create these films come on leaps and bounds, but so has gender politics, allowing screenwriter Brad Bird to fashion a dynamic, if unsubtle, story that transcends the more humble original.
The Incredibles 2 begins where the first left off. A quick, exciting catch up with the Parr family, a bit of action as they attempt to catch the evil Underminer, and the drama is under way. The family are still still in hiding as laws making superheroes illegal are in force, but a strange offer that is too tempting to turn down looks to change their situation entirely.
Mysterious billionaire siblings Winston (Bob Odenkirk) and Evelyn Deavor (Catherine Keener) have hatched a plan to save superheroes from extinction. One member of the family must fight crime again and stream their heroics to the populace. Mr Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) is more than ready to take up the cause, but it is his wife Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), so often in his shadow, that the Deavors want for their project.
This rather simple yet refreshing twist throws the entire family dynamic on its head in a way that invigorates this sequel. Not only are we cheering for Elastigirl as she fights crime in a slightly less destructive way than her other half, watching Mr Incredible take care of the house and the kids is an absolute riot. The role reversal is a cute touch and it becomes all the more hilarious as Mr Incredible grapples with the emergence of baby Jack Jack’s myriad powers.
Despite the potentially sour notes that could be played during this switch of the stereotypical roles, The Incredibles 2 doesn’t hit them. It plays it light, frank and honest. Though the sometimes condescendingly dogmatic morality occasionally jars, it is exactly the kind of film that we need in multiplexes: exciting, rib-tickling but with some thought behind it.
Perhaps we can fight against jingoism another day - for now, let’s enjoy the redress of a balance of power rarely seen on the big screen.