It’s kind of crazy The Incredibles came out in 2004, just three days after George W. Bush won a second term – which seems like a lifetime ago. Kids who were two-years-old that year will now be able to drive themselves to see Incredibles 2. It all kind of feels like this because The Incredibles has become such an institution. It doesn’t feel like a movie that was released in any year, really. It’s one of those movies that kind of feels like it’s always been around. As family movies go, The Incredibles is canon.
Which is why it’s remarkable it took this long for a sequel. Director Brad Bird has been asked about a sequel since pretty much the first one came out and he’s always seemed open to it, but his answers always included some variation of “getting the story right.” And since the release of The Incredibles, the superhero movie business has exploded. It’s tough to make a film that subverts the superhero genre in 2018 when that’s what a lot of actual superhero movies are already doing.
And now, finally, Incredibles 2 is here. And instead of any kind of grand statement about superheroes, it’s almost as if Bird decided instead, “Let’s just have a lot of fun with this one.” And there does seem to be a message at play here, but it’s not really much about superheroes.
Incredibles 2 picks up right where the last one left off – which makes sense because it’s hard to peg when these movies take place anyway, so why mess around with it being “14 years later” or something like that. (If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen The Incredibles, the setting shows us characters driving cars and using tech that looks like it’s from the mid-1960s, yet everyone talks and uses slang like it’s in the present.)
After battling The Underminer (where the first movie leaves off), The Incredibles are apprehended by the authorities because, like in the first film, superheroes are still illegal. But Winston Deavor (I have no idea if doing voice work is fun, but Bob Odenkirk sure sounds like he’s having a lot of fun) wants to change all this! Winston loves superheroes and he, along with his sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener, who also sounds like she’s having the time of her life), develop body suit camera for superheroes to wear so that the normal person can get a sense of what they do and learn to appreciate them. Winston enlists Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), and Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) to be the first heroes to test out this new technology.