Picking up right where theThe Incredibles(2004) left off, the super-powered Parr family struggle to fulfill their duty as superheroes in a world where superheroism remains illegal. Given a chance to work as an advocate for a superhero legalization movement, the mother Helen Parr decides to don the mask and tights of Elastigirl once more in order to create a better world for her friends and family. Meanwhile, her husband Bob is forced to swallow his pride and struggle with the demands of domestic life. He sleeplessly finds himself helping Dash with math homework, cautiously supporting teenage Violet as she navigates new dating relationships, and trying to keep up with the rambunctious baby Jack-Jack as he manifests a smorgasbord of amazing new super powers.
IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: A-)
Artistically speaking, Incredibles 2 definitely stands up to its predecessor in delivering an exciting, emotionally engaging, and visually appealing work that has become typical of Pixar-produced films. Like the original, this film features a unique score and sound design that pays homage to noir crime thrillers and saturday morning cartoons of the ‘60s, adding deep layers to the meticulously designed, immersive world. Despite a first act that is a little on the slow side, the pace picks up to comfortably fill the 2 hour running time without lulls. The main characters are expertly developed and provide both emotional depth and humor accessible to audiences of all ages.
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR FAMILY?
Incredibles 2 is rated PG for action sequences and brief mild language. Many theaters are giving an epilepsy warning to audiences because the main supervillain, Screenslaver, uses hypnotic strobing lights to control victim’s minds. These sequences are usually brief but one lasts almost a minute. The film also includes intense action that might be scary for children under 6. The mild language includes a handful of uses of “Oh my G–,” and “D—,” as well as “sucks,” and “crap.” Heroes are also shown drinking cocktails and other party drinks for brief moments. The violence and action of the film doesn’t exceed the intensity of that in The Incredibles (2004).
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
The Parr family spends the majority of the film conflicted with choices between what is right and what is legal. These moral conundrums, while difficult for the kids to understand, are portrayed as particularly challenging for the parents to navigate and explain to their family. Against the backdrop of increasing confusion in our own world politically and socially, this film provides a useful commentary on the benefit of strong family values and parents who remain hopeful in the face of confusion.
Helen and Bob swapping roles of provider and nurturer demonstrate working as equal partners in parenting. The film's main antagonist, Screenslaver, gains power from innocent people through their consumption of media highlighting our own tendencies to be distracted and deceived by over-reliance on media, participating in gossip, and neglecting in-person relationships. Ultimately, strong themes about the responsibility that comes with great ability, and of strength through unity, underscore the most empowering and triumphant moments of this family-focused foray into the superhero world.
Before (or after) catching the new film, revisit the 2004 classic and talk with your kids about vulnerability, trust, and open communication. Rent or buy it here.
Michael Stanley is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University’s Film/Media Arts program and currently works as a video production specialist in Salt Lake City. He and his wife, along with their soon-to-be-born son and pet cat, live in Saratoga Springs, Utah