3 Stars - Wholesome
The value of a fantasy children’s story like the Incredibles 2 is in its exploration of our humanity. Like the first film, this second animated film is also written and directed by Brad Bird (Ratatouille and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol). Capturing both the struggles of families as well as the pressure on super heroes, this ongoing story of a superhero family is entertaining.
The ensemble cast is a family of incredible humans whose super powers have been outlawed due to the mayhem their family produces when “insurance had it covered.” The one producing the major damage is the dad, Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson). Since strength is his superpower and he works through force, the resultant collateral damage is massive. The mother, Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) works with more finesse, while their two children Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Dash (Huck Milner) provide a super shield and super speed to the mix. The newest member of the family is the infant Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile). We soon discover that this little one is the most powerful of all but is also infantile in the use of his super gifts.
We won’t spoil the tale or the complexity of their new villain, but the issues explored are common: the patriarchal privilege of the male and the empowerment of women; the moral struggle between what is legal and what is best; teenage angst with its drama and insecurity; sibling rivalry; the poly-gifted nature of children; self-identity and family identity; as well as family purpose and meaning. Though none of these are explored in depth the scenes are often humorous with many unexpected twists and turns. This is truly enjoyable ride.
Unlike most fantasy films where the superhero lives a relatively isolated life, the genius of this incredible family is that they do it together and have a true love and appreciation for one another. That is a message for all of us to hear.
- The struggle that the father has when his wife is chosen to provide the income for the family exposes patriarchal bias. How have you experienced this in your own life?
- The baby Jack-Jack is a wonderful symbol for potential. Though he needs guidance to help him control his massive power, it is clear that his is the family to do so. How has your family guided your abilities to their full potential? If they did not help you then what have you done on your own?
- The villain of our tale is responding out of a place of pain-filled vengeance. Has your pain, or the pain of your family, caused you to harm others? How did you change that?