Fourteen years. Not that I was counting or anything.
And I’m being honest: I wasn’t. I’ve been burned by those waiting-for-over-a-decade releases before. (Generally it’s video games, because yes, I had the collector’s edition of Duke Nukem Forever preordered, y’all.) That, and while I adored the original Incredibles, I wasn’t praying to the sequel gods and goddesses for a part two.
But here we are, 14 years later, with a part two.
And, well, I’m really trying to resist the obvious incredible comment, but it’s true—it’s incredible.
Look. Pixar ain’t playin’ around. Right off the bat they hit you with the feels, and that’s before we even get to the main attraction. Bao, the short film before the movie, is such a touching, lovely story about parenthood and the worries of exposing your child to the world. The fact that the cast is Asian adds a new layer of concerns for the next generation, and it reminded me of a lot of the conversations I had growing up as a woman of color.
So after I told myself not to cry over a six-minute film, that now iconic Incredibles music kicked in.
First and foremost, Incredibles 2 is fully aware that it’s been a long, long time since the last adventure. I was still in college when the first movie came out, barely old enough to drink, barely brave enough to fully come out of the closet. This can be tricky when it comes to sequels that take years to be released, especially when the story doesn’t age along with you. And Incredibles 2 isn’t some sort of “10 years later” story; it takes place immediately after the first one, but the movie seamlessly reminds you of all the important beats, right down to Violet’s boy crush. I’d dare say you don’t need to watch the first one to understand what’s going on, but let’s be honest, we’ve all seen the first one. (Then again, it has been 14 years, so there’s an audience who has no idea where Frozone’s super suit is.)
Despite the heroics of our favorite super family, the government is still on that “no super powers” kick. Enter Winston Deavor, a man with a plan—and, apparently, an unsurpassed amount of money. With the help of Elastigirl, he sets out to put “supers” in the good graces of the public. This leaves our main man, Mr. Incredible, as a super fantastical . . . stay-at-home dad?
At its core, Incredibles 2 is a superhero story, but like all great hero stories it’s about so much more. While the first movie mainly focuses on Mr. Incredible getting back into his hero groove, the second movie lets Elastigirl have that moment—and she’s awesome. Mr. Incredible, meanwhile, quickly learns that being a parent is its own superpower, all the while coping with the fact that despite his incredible name, he wasn’t picked for the job his wife is doing. There’s a very real theme of wanting to support your loved one while being a bit jealous of their accomplishing the things you’ve been striving for and learning what it means to be a real team. There’s also a real respect for being a parent, a job that should never be treated as lesser than any other career.
If you’re only here for the action set pieces that go great with buttery popcorn, don’t worry, because Incredibles 2 does not disappoint. And despite Elastigirl being the main powerhouse this time, you get to see everyone doing their thing. There’s way more Frozone action, and action with the kids, and it’s all pretty spectacular. There are great moments of teamwork and clever uses of everyone’s abilities—even little Jack-Jack, who’s basically a god-tier hero who, unfortunately, gets distracted pretty easily since he’s a baby.
If I had to name one nitpick, it’d be the fact that I figured out who the villain was pretty quickly. That’s no real fault of the movie, though. As a writer who watches and reads a ton of superhero content, it’s a bit difficult to take me by surprise with these stories. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the family come together to win the day. Just because I called who the villain was didn’t mean the villain wasn’t great. I liked the main antagonist, and I especially liked watching the heroes go up against them.
All and all, Incredibles 2 is a sequel I might not have been asking for, but it’s worth every second of your time. Go see it. Go see it twice, even. It’s easily one of the best movies to check out this summer, whether you’re a fan of superheroes or just a fan of fun, family-friendly films.
In short, it’s simply incredible. I know, I know . . . but if the super suit fits, wear it.