Incredibles 2  (2018)

It's kind of amazing that with all the attempts by the MCU and DC at making superheroes darker and grittier and more based-in-reality, the most realistic depictions have been cartoons. The Incredibles and Incredibles 2 are both awesome movies, and somehow manage to feel more grounded than movies starring actual people. The stories stand on their own without turning into a three-hour marathon like the MCU churns out, and without making everything gray like DC.

A big trend in film is to resurrect franchises with sequels decades after the original, and use the passage of real time as a story-telling element. Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Rocky, and other franchises have embraced this style. "Incredibles 2" shuns this, and even though it was released 14 years after the original, the story picks up immediately following the end of "The Incredibles". Supers are still illegal, and the government that was ready to pull the plug on the Superhero Protection Program takes the last step and shuts everything down. The Parrs are stuck living in a hotel until an entrepreneur approaches them with a plan to change the laws and make supers legal again.

The goal is to show the public the good side of heroes, not just the devastation that follows in the wake of a battle. It actually echoes a lot of what the MCU and DCU do, where rather than just sweep things up in a neat package, everyday people are affacted by the aftermath of an alien invasion or maniacal villain. The Chitauri attack New York in "The Avengers", and Michael Keaton's character in "Spider-Man: Homecoming" is a contractor cleaning up the mess. Ultron lifts and drops an entire city in "Age of Ultron", and The Avengers become legislated in "Civil War". The idea of "Incredibles 2" is to get the public back on the side of the heroes, to see that sometimes they have to make difficult choices, to see that sometimes a mess has to be made.

One of the other struggles of the MCU/DCU is humanizing their heroes. They can show relationships, family conflicts, but things get quickly pushed aside because they cram so many heroes into each movie. Here, Disney/Pixar does a fantastic job at balancing Elastigirl's role as the face of change with Mr. Incredible's job as house-husband. Violet and Dash and Jack-Jack are still just kids, struggling with being a super-powered individual having to deal with boys or homework or being a baby.

All of this makes things sound pretty serious, but the Disney/Pixar magic is still there to entertain the hell out of me. I laughed plenty of times, and the fight between Jack-Jack and the raccoon is definitely a highlight. As I've said before, my movie-watching has changed a lot since Baby Varacchi arrived, and in a weird twist she actually "watched" this movie before I did. My wife had used it for background entertainment, but when I finally sat on the couch with Baby V on my lap to watch it for real, it was a great experience.

[Celluloid Hero] gives "Incredibles 2" an 8 out of 10.




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