The Incredibles was one of the best superhero movies ever made. It challenged conventions and clichés with complex characters, was easily understood by children and loved by adults. The sequel is the next part of the story and the next step forward.

In The Incredibles 2, the illegality of being a superhero is at the forefront of the plot. Instead of playing on heroes’ hopes of reliving past glory to further their schemes, a wealthy benefactor (Saul Goodman) hopes to reverse the laws that forced the heroes into hiding. Somewhat reluctantly, Elastigirl takes over the role of prime hero from Mr. Incredible (apparently role reversal is a thing in Pixar sequels). Despite being set in the mid 1960s, the villainous “Screenslaver” strikes at a decidedly modern societal problem: over use of screen technology.

I’m not dark and angsty – ooh a new Elasticycle!

On the subject of modern social problems, it seems everyone just noticed Elastigirl’s curviness – apparently there can’t be a female lead character without talking about how she looks. The thing is it’s not new. In fact, of all the characters in the franchise, Elastigirl is the one who changes the least.


Because Elastigirl is a strong female character. She was never just a stretchy ex-superheroine mom berating her husband with some snappy one-liners. Look at her in the first movie, and you see she had the brains, powers, and (prior military) training to compete with – and even out-do – her male peers.

Conversely, Mr. Incredible is reduced to a caricature of the stay-at-home dad, complete with all the typical tropes. He struggles with being sidelined, his children’s problems, and exacerbating every situation he tries to solve. He has a complete breakdown because he’s in a situation that he’s never encountered before – his own family. It’s a lazy sort of portrayal in a cast that is otherwise so fully developed and interesting.

Except that is the point.

Mr. Incredible is a cliché. He is a glorious demonstration of everything typical of and wrong with superheroes. The film opens exactly where the original finished – with Underminer bursting from beneath the city to do bad things. In attempting to stop Underminer, Mr. Incredible causes several million dollars worth of collateral damage – and Underminer still gets away. He – his method – is why supers are illegal.

There are a few jarring continuity errors. Violet has a date on Friday, but the kids are back in school the next day. With the film’s record long runtime, we’re guessing that scenes depicting the intervening weekend were cut so that Jack-Jack fighting a raccoon could go the full ten rounds.

It seems odd that everyone is surprised that Jack Jack has powers, since it was crucial to the resolution of the first film. Mom and dad didn’t see what made Syndrome drop Demon Baby, but it was so obvious to the audience that it makes them come off as oblivious.

It’s not the Fantastic Four sequel we think we deserve. It’s the Fantastic Four sequel we need, guest starring Iceman. See The Incredibles 2.