If you see just one superhero movie this year… see Black Panther. BUT: if you see two superhero movies this year—wait, you’ve probably already seen Infinity War also, haven’t you…
OK. It’s true. We’ve got a lot of superhero movies coming out these days. And a lot of sequels. But just because there are a lot of them doesn’t mean they’re worth ignoring! Especially when one of them comes from Pixar. Incredibles 2 opened last weekend to $182 million, the third-highest opening of this year, and No. 8 all-time. And with good reason—it’s completely delightful.
This movie picks up pretty much exactly where 2004’s The Incredibles left off, and circumstances are basically the same: Superheroes are outlawed because the public has been convinced they do more harm than good, and Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl are doing their best to raise their children as normally as possible in a world that has criminalized who they really are. In a plot that’s probably a bit needlessly convoluted, the Incredible family is approached by a tycoon who wants to rehabilitate the images of the world’s superheroes, and he chooses Elastigirl as the face of the campaign, leaving Mr. Incredible to figure out how to manage two adolescent children and a baby as his wife is off fighting crime.
Director Brad Bird is excellent at staging action scenes, and he shows a ton of that skill here, with fast-paced, high-flying acrobatics that are still constructed so well that they never seem confusing. And I appreciated that much of the power in the movie is given to women—no longer is male brute strength coveted above all else.
While there’s not a lot that’s actually new in Incredibles 2, Pixar does this sort of thing so well that it’s wonderfully entertaining while still poking at the heartstrings. And a superhero movie that’s as perfectly fun as this is a lot more welcome right now than one that’s filled with existential dread.