Incredibles 2 (2018)
June 16, 2018 6:01 AM - Subscribe

Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) is left to care for Jack-Jack while Helen (Elastigirl) is out saving the world.
posted by octothorpe (62 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Saw it tonight! My 13 yo and I loved it. The screenslaver bits were very creepy and so very well done. I loved that both the lead super and the villain were both strong women, I loved Mr Incredible struggling with his support for his wife and his extreme jealousy that he wasn't the focus this time. And Jack Jack! And Edna and Jack Jack! And Jack Jack with the Raccoon! Violet's nose explosion! Dash's everything!

I was thinking that the time period is supposed to be early 60's, would that be right?
posted by h00py at 8:08 AM on June 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Well they go see Dementia A113 at the movies which is a reference to Coppola's Dementia 13 that came out in '63.
posted by octothorpe at 9:13 AM on June 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

So, I thought the whole point of the end of the first movie was that superheroes were already accepted, because they beat Syndrome. Did everyone just forget about that?
posted by J.K. Seazer at 12:24 PM on June 16, 2018

It was a delightful surprise to see the film center the stories of good vs evil on women this time around. Honestly, I was expecting the worst after the first Incredibles and Tomorrowland both had shades of Ayn Rand/Scientology vibes in them, so it was nice to see the movie not go down that road.

I feel like there's so much in it I need to watch it again, Pixar famously cuts their stories down to 90min or less to save money (it costs millions per minute of film) so I didn't expect this to go for two hours.
posted by mathowie at 12:41 PM on June 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I haven’t seen it yet because there are warnings all over Twitter that anyone with certain types of photo sensitivity might be caused to fit during an undisclosed black and white section that features aggressive rapidly flashing lights.

Can anyone confirm that this section exists and might be something to worry about..
posted by Faintdreams at 3:50 PM on June 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

There is definitely a scene with a lot of flickering and flashing.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 4:34 PM on June 16, 2018 [6 favorites]

Re: flashing lights: at our theatre, they were explicitly asking everyone going in to the theatre if they had epilepsy or photo sensitivity issues. There are several sections of the film that feature rapidly flashing bright lights. I’m not sure exactly what would and would not trigger a problem for someone with sensitivity, or whether it’s something that could be avoided by closing eyes during the flashy sections or not, but I definitely think it’s a not insignificant issue, given the warnings we were given by theatre staff when walking in.

As for the movie, I didn’t love this. I found it kind of confusing, thematically, and a bit scattered and all over the map in terms of the kinds of broader questions it was trying to pose (I know, I know, it’s a cartoon superhero movie....but when you explicitly have two main characters have a semi-interesting dinner table debate about the morality of obeying unjust laws and then just sort of.....drop it? And never bring it up again, either explicitly or thematically...It feels pretty weird).

I did love Jack Jack, and the Mr. Incredible as not-so-Super-but-willing-and-able-to-work-on-it-because-being-good-at-primary-parenting-is-not-some-inherent-female-characteristic guy plot line was (surprisingly?) well handled.

It was fun, but meh. And the whole voice-actors doing an awkward “sorry it took 14 years to make this movie” intro thing at the beginning was.....painful and awkward and sooooo strange??

But “Bao”, the short, was DELIGHTFUL (and not just cuz it made me super happy to see all the Toronto shout-outs!)
posted by Dorinda at 6:48 PM on June 16, 2018 [8 favorites]

Bao is worth the price of admission. It's precious and perfect, and it must be even more so to people with that particular immigrant experience. Her son's appearance just caught me in the heart.

I'm spoilt by Pixar. So much of this movie was so extraordinary -- the superhero action, the art direction, the character continuity -- and yet it was missing something. It didn't have a big emotional arc, but it also didn't insult me, and I liked that there was a female villain who wasn't driven by vanity or desire. I did like the way that they dealt with Bob's Mr.-Mom work without ending it on the suggestion that Helen was going to get back into the kitchen and take those tasks off his hands. He was learning to dad. It was cute. (Also a very prominent A113 on that movie title.)

The strobe effect, though -- there was no warning at the theater I went to, and they had already had dozens of showings. Personally I'm not affected by strobes, but it was definitely overwhelming, and I couldn't help thinking of all the kids who wouldn't know.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:23 PM on June 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

I loved how often this movie was hilarious in ways that only a cartoon can be. Enjoyed this so much.
posted by Regal Ox Inigo at 8:25 PM on June 16, 2018

Here's the Twitter thread that went viral about the strobing effects; author Veronica Lewis is a visually impaired woman who was surprised at the frequency, length and intensity of the strobing light scenes:

These scenes are also spread out across the movie and often come without warning. My descriptive audio device warned me about the larger scenes, but other times...strobe lights came out of nowhere for no reason.

Lewis also wrote a reasonable, thoughtful blog post that goes into a bit more detail:

There are at least five scenes throughout the movie, all of which feature the villain, that use bright white flashing/strobe lights for more than fifteen seconds, with at least one scene going over 90 seconds in continuous strobing lights. These lights stay at their rapidly flashing speed in the entirety of these scenes, which are scattered throughout the movie. My brother estimated the light flashes being as fast as 3 flashes per second.

Why is this an issue?

Many different populations can be sensitive to flashing and strobing lights, not just people with photosensitive epilepsy. Here is a small sampling of conditions that can be affected:

Vision impairment
Seizure conditions
Vertigo (specifically flicker vertigo)

Even people who do not have these conditions or have a history of them can still have an adverse reaction to strobe lights. This risk is increased for children and young adults.

To its credit, Disney/Pixar quickly asked theaters to put up a warning sign. Not to its credit, no one at the company thought to do this earlier.
posted by mediareport at 5:07 AM on June 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

(Or if they did, were overruled by marketing.)
posted by mediareport at 5:09 AM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

In my family a tradition accidentally developed wherein we watch The Incredibles every year. It's been going on for about a decade. Needless to say we were pretty excited about The Incredibles 2 and the movie delighted - we grabbed each other throughout the film and I kept whispering "I'm so happy!"

Really delightful that the film doubled down on Elastigirl, and its women specifically.

Also, I think it was strongest on visual jokes, and superpower-vs-superpower action scenes (blowing the Marvel crap outta the water!). Oh, and minor characters - "You want me to uncrush? Can you unpunch a guy?"

About the strobe scenes - I don't have any specific sensitivity to those but I was surprised that the film included them, since they were really powerful and disorienting. It was hard to watch but also a vivid and incredible effect, but yeah, there's surely the potential to alienate some viewers there.
posted by entropone at 7:20 AM on June 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

I enjoyed this a lot, especially the scenes with Jack-Jack. I've been a bit spoiled in the last few years with a bunch of movies that are as just about as good as they could possibly be, given the constraints of the superhero genre (Wonder Woman, Black Panther). This movie didn't hit those heights for me, possibly because it felt like it was retreading some of the same ground as the first movie.

I also loved Bao. So much emotion packed into such short scenes! One nerdy detail I noticed: animated movies have a history of listing Production Babies (babies born during the production of the film) in the credits. Bao had a credit for "Production Baos" which I found hilarious and adorable.
posted by creepygirl at 9:24 AM on June 17, 2018 [11 favorites]

It was a lot less Objectivist/Libertarian than Bird's previous Pixar forays, and deliberately inclusive by elevating Frozone's role, and including non-American POCs as featured heros/possible villains("How do you uncrush a person???") and utterly non-sex-object women heroes. (Void and Brick and Violet! They need to form a team.)

More, the themes - Capitalism is still good, but for once, it's a mixed good. Bad actors can take advantage of the good undetected and unopposed. More, it explains to kids that you have to break unjust laws to protest them. Brad Bird used superheroes to explain the Civil Rights Movement, and it works.

1963! Marvel launches the Starship Jack Kirby captained by Stan Lee, and those guys were all about social justice. Stan still is, fighting with two-fists against elder-abuse! The very thick of the fight for Civil Rights.

Can we talk about Jack Jack vs. the Raccoon through the lens of Ratatouille? Remy was tempted to steal from the trash because he was hungry, but talked himself out of it, as property rights are absolute rather than relative, and the poor do not have the right to steal because they are poor. This is dumb, and damn near ruined the movie for me.

Jack Jack sees the hungry stealing, and equates it to an armed robber holding up a store, and goes all out to punish the raccoon for the sin of taking garbage while hungry!

1) Despite the massive power disadvantage, the racoon more than holds its own.
2) Only a literal infant would think this is a fight worth having. Let that sink in a moment.

It's nice when the Brain Eater vomits up one of the good ones.

More! The fight scenes were amazing and intense - team-work, counter-team-work! Improvisation and reaction! Clever use of powers rather than overwhelming use of power, a lesson Mr. Incredible internalized after being shown the collateral damage numbers. The dialog! It's so well scripted, and the actors so invested in the script, it's a verbal traipse that engages and invests the viewer in the story and characters.

Strong characterization, a coherent and clever plot, laugh-out-loud humor ("I needed AA batteries, I bought AAA batteries which don't work, and now I still need to buy AA batteries."); jaw dropping action scenes in service to the story, and a lot of complex and intertwined themes.

And it's so incredibly beautiful - Mid Century Modern Sci Fi.

Gonna say it. I liked it better than the first one. By a lot.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:41 PM on June 17, 2018 [7 favorites]

The fight in the screenslavers lair was an incredible work of art - so intense.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:54 PM on June 17, 2018 [6 favorites]

So, I thought the whole point of the end of the first movie was that superheroes were already accepted, because they beat Syndrome. Did everyone just forget about that?

I did not get that impression. Probably, it was more a matter of things not changing overnight because of one victory. I don't think that it was an accident that this movie picked up right after the first one, with the Underminer turning out to be successful and the Parrs getting blamed for it. It does make a lot of sense that it would take a lot more time and effort to turn public opinion, even with a lot of the public already on their side (as with Elastigirl already having fans on her first public mission). I thought initially that Winston would turn out to be the secret villain, and that he was deliberately staging Screenslaver's attacks to make supers look good; I even found myself wondering if Winston and/or Evelyn had killed their parents to get their fortune. That was probably darker than they wanted to go with the movie, but it did feel like a bit of a red herring. It seems super unlikely that rich people in an urban setting didn't have better security for their house than a couple of hotlines to supers that they hadn't talked to in years. Because of that unlikeliness, and the fact that, as far as anyone knows, the burglary wasn't done by supervillains (and why didn't the parents just call the cops?), I found Evelyn's motivation for wanting to ruin supers forever to be pretty thin, down there with the Silver Age Lex Luthor becoming a supervillain because he blamed Superboy for making him go prematurely bald.

Regardless, overall, the movie was a success. Bob and Helen could have that conversation, and later Helen and Evelyn at the party (where they seem to be striking up a friendship, although that's quickly dashed, unfortunately--it would have been nice for her to have a friend outside the family, as with Bob and Lucius), and not just have scenes to set up the set-pieces, although those are indeed quite good. I liked the would-be superhero team, both as villains and as themselves. Still waiting to see Frozone's wife, though.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:23 PM on June 17, 2018 [5 favorites]

Do we know that Brad Bird is actually trying to make Objectivist propaganda? I read this article in which Bird is cited as saying a Randian reading is “ridiculous”.
posted by chrchr at 9:10 PM on June 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

I mean, maybe he was doing it unintentionally?

But yeah, the first Incredibles, with all its "If everybody's special, then no one is!" is definitely something. The article has quotes about how any sort of criticism is the result of people reaching ("people got silly with their analysis of it") but I dunno, I first watched it with no expectations and having heard nothing about it, and that whole theme threw me right out of the movie.

I can definitely buy it just being an unconscious product of vague reactionary instincts he never recognized as such or bothered to examine too deeply.
posted by trig at 10:02 PM on June 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

More, the themes - Capitalism is still good, but for once, it's a mixed good. Bad actors can take advantage of the good undetected and unopposed. More, it explains to kids that you have to break unjust laws to protest them. Brad Bird used superheroes to explain the Civil Rights Movement, and it works.

I don't get a "capitalism is good" vibe from either of The Incredibles. In both of them, the villain is a capitalist trying to use their money to push their values on the people. In 2, my read was that even when capitalists mean well, they're dangerous. I mean, who didn't get a frisson of fear when the family gets another outreach from a wealthy stranger? Like, yo! This didn't work out last time, either!

Solid bit of themery around follow the law vs change the law.

The other thing that comes out, and this is more interpersonal than large-scale political, is that the point of the Incredibles is that people can do far more working together than they can do on their own. And that's a political message I can get behind.
posted by entropone at 6:54 AM on June 18, 2018 [6 favorites]

I'm not sure where you see "Capitalism is good" in Incredibles. Observe the nightmarish, Kafka-esque sequence in which insurance agent Bob Parr tries to help a woman who is denied insurance coverage, and is reproved for it by his boss.

This sequel, I felt, had some pretty clear Anti-Randianism in the speech the superheroes give when they are under the influence of the Screenslayer. It's something about how the strong will now dominate the weak.
posted by chrchr at 9:20 AM on June 18, 2018 [7 favorites]

the point of the Incredibles is that people can do far more working together than they can do on their own.

I also noted this was the overall theme between the two movies. Also family stick together, and you'll learn where you fit in and take responsibility, like Violet coming around to volunteer to babysit Jack Jack with her powers (maybe it wasn't obvious to the characters, even though Bob saw that Jack Jack didn't have a scratch on him after fighting the raccoon, but he's basically indestructible, or maybe Violet knows she has to be there to control his powers).

I really really enjoyed this movie and I actually saw it twice over the weekend (the second time at a much later showtime because I missed some dialog the first time due to babies crying and the kid next to would not stop talking and getting scolded by the parents, I dunno why I thought seeing it at 11 am on a Saturday was a good idea). The lack of an emotional punch was kind of both surprising and a relief, because Bao had already hit me in the feels (both times I watched!) and I didn't wanna basically be bawling the entire night in the theater. I still really felt moved by Bob's apology to Violet. It's the kind of apology you don't see a lot in real life anymore.

The theme of being lawful vs fighting to change the law, to me, wasn't just brought up and dropped. It played out in Winston organizing and getting public perception changed, albeit with help from Evelyn as Screenslaver. That got the law changed, which was what Bob wanted, which gave him more encouragement to be super-dad and let Helen succeed.

I am quite upset, though, that the Underminer got away and was never mentioned again. I want that weaselly jerk caught!
posted by numaner at 10:53 AM on June 18, 2018 [4 favorites]

There was a much better balance of anti-consumerist/capitalist stuff to blunt the anti-government/regulation message these movies tend to have. Turns out the evil government actually wasn't all wrong to be concerned about collateral damage (and Helen was much better at anticipating/mitigating that aspect of her superhero ventures), while the vapidity and helplessness inculcated by consumerism was specifically called out by the villain, but her critique proved true in many areas--Chad, her parents, her brother and his insistence on performing his childhood consumerist nostalgia regardless of the potential harm it caused.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:00 PM on June 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

Originally I thought that the two heroes didn't answer because they'd already been Syndrome's victims, though there was a line that implied that the robbery happened just after supers were made illegal. That would have been an interesting twist in that Dad's choice was not as misguided as it seemed. If his call had gone through, there'd still have been time to get to the safe room (he had time to call two numbers and let each ring out -- this is before voicemail, so that's a fair amount of time) and he couldn't know that it wasn't a supervillain attack, emboldened by the new laws. A supervillain would probably be able to break into a safe room. For all we know, those could have been goons hired by Syndrome, figuring someone with so many hero connections would have hints to where the heroes went into hiding in his house.
posted by Karmakaze at 12:36 PM on June 18, 2018

Halloween Jack: I thought initially that Winston would turn out to be the secret villain, and that he was deliberately staging Screenslaver's attacks to make supers look good.

I thought the same thing, at least partially led by the voice of Bah Bodenkirk, who's wonderfully smarmy as Saul Goodman / Slippin' Jimmy. In an interview with Odenkirk, it seems like when first written, he was an untrustworthy character. I would have been disappointed at that rehash of "he hired them - but he's up to no good!" from the first movie, though.
posted by Pronoiac at 4:59 PM on June 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

First: I enjoyed this movie deeply, and probably more than the original for not having such a questionably Randian subtext. I was also thoroughly relieved that the movie did not lapse into the easy conflict/tension about Helen needing to be with her children, and I appreciated that we got a clearer outline of Bob having to struggle against his inherent asshole gloryhound personality traits. (I have a particular bugaboo about the need to acknowledge one's flaws vs. the false idea that "good" people just "do good" by nature.)

I am entertained by the fact that the Incredibles series now has a running theme of villains who aren't even particularly wrong and who are made villains by their personal cruelty (or at least a severe lack of empathy in Evelyn's case) and grudge against superheroes. I always call this the Technocracy problem, after the villains in White Wolf's Mage: The Ascension roleplaying game. It's almost precisely the Incredibles' conflict; when some individual actors have outsized capacity to affect others, leaving those individuals unchecked results in a Hobbesian nightmare. (Evelyn even outlines this fear explicitly in the speech she has the hypnotized supers give.) M:TA made the Technocrats super egregiously evil and violent, too, because otherwise they were kind of right and Mages really shouldn't be allowed to just futz with reality whenever they want.

On a darker note, I was grimly amused at the idea of Craig T. Nelson, in the context of our current gibbering hellhole of a reality timeline, having to give a speech about the need for direct action to highlight unjust laws or abuse of power by those in authority. Not that he'd ever notice the discrepancy.
posted by Scattercat at 7:19 PM on June 18, 2018 [7 favorites]

meanwhile, at the New Yorker, money was paid for these words
posted by Countess Elena at 1:57 PM on June 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

meanwhile, at the New Yorker, money was paid for these words

Meh. Weaksauce and lewd-for-clicks contrarian that couldn't be bothered to pay close attention to the film. Or any attention, really. This is a review of someone who was tossing popcorn at their friends and daring the ushers to give them the roust rather than, you know, let other people watch the movie they paid for with their less-than-millionaire funds.

Objectification of women is an issue in superheroic fiction, and along those lines, the "Dark Elastigirl" drove Edna up a wall with indignation - it wasn't just jealousy. The design insulted her personally, and her "Hall of Fame" was full of androgynous mannequins sporting her tasteful, capeless designs. (Note to self - I want to see her take on Brick and Reflux as clients. If for no other reason than to confiscate their skirt and cape and recount the fate of flowing fabric to them.)

Brick was awesome, she was deliberate and measured, but not slow or stupid. Void was awesome, creative and persistent! What fifty-shades character were they supposed to be? The most respected diplomat in the world is a waist-high POC woman in her late middle-age.

Violet takes charge, indicating adolescents can and should command their fates, and do the right thing even if a legal adult is against you! It was a woman-to-be character who filled this role in the plot and the theme, and if you think she was salaciously represented, you got issues that may lead to legal trouble.

The villainess' super-villain outfit was... a comfy speed-suit with Kirby stuff added and stylish-yet-sensible boots!

A ton of effort was put in to make this an inclusive film. Frozone is clearly better adjusted and more successful and wealthy in his new non-super life than the Incredibles, and they don't resent him for it an iota, and admired his judgement as their closest family friend.

They need it, because Jack is not an "intelligent" man. Cunning and decisive in the moment, sure, not always correct, but cunning and decisive, and when left to think about things for a while, will make the right decision, and what is being smart, anyway? That middle ground where something is intuitively obvious to YOU, but someone else is piecing it together? Who has the right decision in the end? Violet and Frozone and E know this about Jack, but Helen has trouble with people not operating on her level, below or above, even ones she loves or should be wary of.

I will need to watch and re-watch the scene where Evelyn and Helen spar hypothetically over "which sibling is right" - there's a lot of "wow!" in there, foreshadowing!
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:46 PM on June 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

The take on these movies as "Randian" probably has less to do with the text of the movie and more with the fact that ghouls like Paul Ryan are politically dominant.
posted by eustatic at 4:50 AM on June 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Countess Elena: "meanwhile, at the New Yorker, money was paid for these words"

Anthony Lane has a history of being Uncle Creepy; remember he's the critic who wrote this cringey profile of Scarlett Johansson
posted by octothorpe at 4:53 AM on June 20, 2018

meanwhile, at the New Yorker, money was paid for these words

I came here to post a different article, saw your comment, and assumed you posted the same one. But nope, apparently the New Yorker just wants to post Incredibles hitpieces. Review: The Authoritarian Populism of “Incredibles 2” in which Richard Brody works really hard to summarize and hate The Incredibles:

Yet what’s chilling about “Incredibles 2” isn’t its smug self-promotion; it’s the superhero essentialism—the vision of born leaders with an unimpeachable moral compass to whom all right-thinking people should swear allegiance and invest confidence.

Um - did we watch the same movie? The Incredibles, as a pair, explores the fallibility of hero work, the unintended consequences and social cost, and the tension of competing notions of what's good for society.

For instance, many Marvel films, even some of the mediocre ones, are more politically sophisticated than the Incredibles diptych, because of their rueful look at collateral damage, at their superheroes’ flaws and failures, their differences of opinion, intention, and strategy; the relations between superheroes and society at large are far more complex and uncertain.

I ... what?! The Incredibles is somehow NOT about this?! I'm sorry, I'm really struggling with "Marvel films are more politically sophisticated than the Incredibles diptych."

I'm open to different ways to read The Incredibles, but I feel like you have to try really hard to come up with this author's off-the-cuff interpretations. I think that The Incredibles' central idea is fundamentally more personal than political: it's about its characters' desires and how those result in family and social conflict. Once we get into social conflict, well, the mere presence of social conflict lets the movies interrogate whether superheroes are unimpeachably good, and the answer is a resounding no. Yes, we're rooting for them, but we see an extremely spotty track record of collateral damage. This sentiment is echoed by how the movie looks at capital and the rich: they are clearly not to be trusted, and are easily hijacked by bad actors! For that matter - so is the idea of superherodom! Syndrome hijacks the concept of a superhero for self-serving ends; Evelyn/Screenslaver hijacks the superheroes themselves. And the thesis behind Mr Incredible is that being super and well-meaning is not enough - you have to be smart, vulnerable, and COOPERATE WITH OTHERS.
posted by entropone at 5:42 AM on June 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

Did anyone else keep thinking of Winston as a sort of Mark Zuckerberg? I was sure he was going to have been the Screenslaver, or set him up, and the whole thing about cameras was he was starting a reality show about superheroes or had some other nefarious profit motive.

Void's appearance and attitude reminds me of a nonbinary person I know (with the same green hair, sometimes). She was probably my favorite minor character.
posted by Foosnark at 8:48 AM on June 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

I thought Incredibles 2 was entertaining but more importantly, I LOVED BAO!!

I would pay money to get to watch my fantasy director's cut of Bao that ends right after the mom pops her little dumping in her mouth. At that moment in the very full theater I saw it there was widespread gasping, and someone behind me shouted, "IS THAT IT??!!" My whole family keeps talking about how amazing it would have been if it had ended there! Even with the very cute and sweet end, there is a different flavor to that movie than to other Disney products of the last... several decades. Not just the highly specific Chinese-Canadian cultural references, which were so lovingly, painstakingly rendered, but the tone which just had a certain creepiness and complexity. The director said her own mom used to say to her: "I wish I could put you back in my stomach so I knew exactly where you were at all times". It really has this kind of complicated feminist art vibe that was fantastic.
posted by latkes at 8:00 PM on June 21, 2018 [9 favorites]

I think Winston is sort of a Zuckerberg. Big ideas and big technology trying to do some good, but gets suckered by bad actors that can manipulate their system.
posted by numaner at 2:05 PM on June 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Man oh man I loved this. I was worried at the beginning with Tony's recap of the denouement from the first movie (which particularly hit the same rhythm and beats as the "Jack-Jack Attack" short) but it found its sea-legs pretty quickly.

It's interesting to me that of all of the family, Dash kind of sat this one out. It's fair, as he had a bigger story than Violet in the first one, and that unbelievable action scene that was probably the apex of the first movie's powers. I don't recall him having anything similar here, and I just came back from the theatre. I guess he called the Incredobile in to save them, but nothing really showcasing his speed. But instead we had:

1. Helen/Elastigirl getting out and doing the Super-work on her own, developing something of a friendship with Evelyn (and fucking seriously, Anthony Lane? Sorry Catherine Keener's voice got you so hot and bothered that you couldn't seen how fantastic that scene of the two of them debating Capitalism over post-party Manhattans was, but I just adored that intellectually. First of all, they're both drunk (the montage from the meet and greet showed Helen at least having had a few martinis already) but this isn't like how Bird played drunkenness with Linguini in Ratatouille, but rather animated and acted very subtly. The two women are still in control of their mental faculties enough to boogie down on ideas well over the heads of your average kid (or adult for that matter) and it just felt so true to my experience of those post-party moments where it's just you and one smart and interesting person there and you're really in that zone of ideas. And that made the later scene of Evelyn showing up with another couple of Manhattans land that much harder, because I felt like Evelyn went in there to escape the party and chat with her new friend, and then had to play her hand too early. It made me totally believe it when she said at the climax that they would have been close under other circumstances (which otherwise would have been a flat cliché) and made their final exchange sell what felt like the real moral stance of the film to me:
The world is big and super complex and not really black and white, and we can debate that all day and there's value in that, but there are also smaller and discrete moments where it's possible to make morally correct decisions, and the virtuous will seize upon those.
Or as that final exchange put it:
EVELYN: "Saving me didn't prove me wrong, you know."
ELASTIGIRL: "Maybe not, but it did save your life."

2. Bob/Mr. Incredible learning to get over himself and be an engaged parent. Damn this all worked so well (though he probably should have gotten more shit for keeping what all was going on from Helen. Though that was at least partially because he didn't want her to give up what had previously been making him jealous, it was even more about himself not wanting to be seen like a failure at this. This is part of what I meant about Dash sitting this one out: his New Math struggles were really Bob's storyline of getting involved with a new way of looking at things and learning it so that he could help his son, instead of just bitching about how it's new. (and then of course there's more material to follow, because parenting isn't a battle you win and then go on your merry way.) His excitement over Jack-Jack's powers giving way to exhaustion ("I can't just keep giving him cookies!") and most importantly, his dealing with Violet....

3. Violet is no longer quite so shy and unsure, but is still a young teenager, and I thought the Tony storyline effectively showed perhaps less obvious ways in which being forced to hide a part of oneself is damaging and isolating. Also that E's expert work on her super suit means that she can't even make good on her renouncement of that part of herself - nicely symbolic and funny if still a little heart-wrenching in the moment. The nose thing at the Happy Platter was maybe the single funniest moment in a movie full of them, and then Bob's apology to her, recognizing that what she really needs is agency and the trust of authority figures in her to make use of it, was beautiful. Her fight scene with Voyd was one of the most inventive of a shitload of crazy inventive action scenes, and taking Jack-Jack at the climax, having come up with the right plan and knowing where she would be most useful in during the execution of it, played well across the themes as well.

4. Jack-Jack was just brilliant comedy throughout, but especially with Edna, but especially with the Raccoon. That quick glance when Bob's on the phone with Helen and sees Jack-Jack and the Racoon staring each other down through the window again was worth the price of admission alone.

I think as you try to work out the politics of this it just gets murkier and murkier, which I think is part of the point and really smartly executed, because Evelyn isn't Buddy/Syndrome. Buddy was a kid who misinterpreted Bob's flaw from the first movie ("I work alone") as disempowering him for not being a Super (while we as the audience can see that Buddy's eagerness is irritating and causing way more problems than it solves, though with mentorship Bob could have tempered that.) It's not a stretch to recognize that Syndrome's power with inventions effectively makes him a Super himself, and that his "when everyone's Super, no one will be" line is lazy, equivocating, and petty, as well as being backed up by him selling arms to rogue nations for huge profits and quietly making himself into a god while killing off Supers so that he can reign supreme. It's not actually an argument.

Evelyn, however, has an argument that comes from a truer place. The Supers represent an unchecked power that should really belong to social institutions, and having them there is one more thing leading people towards complacency instead of active engagement. But she's also an unchecked power herself, and playing both sides of the argument to create mistrust in the people muddles her message (so that for instance Screenslaver's V for Vendetta moment, s speech which makes some interesting points, is bound to be dismissed because she's already cast it as coming from a villain.) Her plan is bonkers but it's also something she's clearly playing a bit by ear because ending the possibility of Supers just doing what they want is paramount to her.Really, her argument is the same one Bruce Wayne is going for in The Dark Knight, that a healthy society needs Harvey Dents, not Batmen.

And in the end, Winston is still a child with a child's faith in what a world protected by Supers would be like. I feel like he was intentionally set up to make us think he was going to be something like an Ozymandias character, and when he first proposes this world-leaders-on-his-personal-waterfoil event, that feels suspicious as hell. Also, I'm glad a sequel to a phenomenally successful action movie was finally bold enough to build its climax around a giant cruise ship barreling towards a city.

Finally, Bao had our entire theatre bawling like the first ten minutes of Up. So, so glad I got to see that one.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:01 PM on June 22, 2018 [7 favorites]

I could have used more Edna Mode. But then again, there is never enough Edna Mode. Jack-Jack vs. the Racoon was amazing and fun. Yeah, that raccoon was going against a very talented Jack-Jack but was in it to win it; I admire commitment under tough odds, especially baby death ray eyes, flames and transdimensional travel.
posted by jadepearl at 5:38 AM on June 23, 2018 [7 favorites]

I'm not saying that was definitely Rocket, but I'd buy that it was Rocket.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:16 AM on June 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

More high-minded thoughts, in no particular order:

Pizzaguy!Screenslaver's manifesto broadcast reads better as pushing back against superhero movies rather than in-universe superheroes. Evelyn's own words make more sense in-universe, but tying it back to consumption culture and entertainment choices feels more like Brad Bird talking about the rise of the MCU.

I had heard from reviews that Bob's “Mr. Mom” plotline was played well, but I still appreciated how from the beginning his anger at the situation was directed at missing out on superherodom than being “stuck” with childrearing duties in particular.

One character touch I really appreciate is that Helen's pilot training keeps coming back (in the helicopter, in the escape jet, and arguably when she realizes that Underminer's drill won't work without a boiler) but never gets an explicit backstory. In most superhero movies any aptitude a character has will be tied into either their origin or their superpowers, but all we know about Elastigirl's history with airplanes is that she's old friends with a guy who can lend one out as a favor. Nobody ever even brings it up in dialogue; it's just a tool that she pulls out from time to time.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:26 PM on June 25, 2018 [9 favorites]

That reminds me! No one has brought up how awesome the Elasticycle is! Like, sure Evelyn is an evil genius and all that, but that thing is amazing! Maaan it's so rare to see a superhero and their name-sake-vehicle works so well together! Like the Incredimobile is basically just a Batmobile with all the bells and whistles that anyone can use (like the kids). But that Elasticycle was designed specifically for Elastigirl, and that whole sequence was so amazing both times I watched it. I wish it survived the movie though... I hope Winston can recreate Evelyn's designs for it!

Also, does Frozone just basically glide on his own ice around town everywhere? The fastest ice sport is luge, averaging 90mph, but Frozone has to get that from sliding down somewhere first right? Seems like he needs a while to build up speed. And is there just basically ice around the city everywhere every time he goes out? How fast do the artificially created ice melt? Isn't he worried about civilians slipping and breaking their arms and such?
posted by numaner at 11:06 PM on June 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

I think it's clear that Lucius and Honey live in a high-rise capable of giving Frozone the starting momentum he needs.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:27 AM on June 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

Here's what I like about Elastigirl. The Incredibles, as a team, are basically an expy of the Fantastic Four -- a married couple with a leading man, his wife, and two others, who all got their powers in a radiation accident. Mr. Fantastic is their leader, and he's the one with the plastic powers -- an extremely '60s leading-man scientist type from back when scientists in movies were leading men. He's a huge know-it-all. His wife Sue is the Invisible Girl (later Woman). It's such a passive power that they added the forcefield power to give her more to do. For a superheroine, Sue's character was extremely dull, even the butt of "women be shoppin'" jokes. Her superpower was literally to not be seen -- how much clearer can subtext be?

In this remix, Mr. Incredible doesn't have Mr. Fantastic's powers; his wife does. She's the flexible one, she's highly trained, and she's in charge. Violet has Sue's powers instead; invisibility and telekinesis make a whole lot more sense in a shy, moody teenage girl. It's a great revamp. (There is, of course, no Human Torch, probably for the same reason that the Hanna-Barbara cartoon didn't have one -- no one wants to see a news story about a little kid setting himself on fire.)

I know that, just as with any other old comics property, the Fantastic Four have been rewritten and changed a whole lot since their original conception. But I can't help but notice that no one seems to be able to make a decent Fantastic Four movie, whereas the Incredibles have one excellent and one very good movie, with more potential. I can't help but think that that's no accident.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:14 PM on June 26, 2018 [3 favorites]

(erratum: apparently the Human Torch didn't appear in the 1978 cartoon for licensing reasons, not fire-setting reasons, although the Super Friends cartoons were so nerfed that I can't blame myself for believing that)
posted by Countess Elena at 12:17 PM on June 26, 2018

Also, the Underminer is completely and totally The Mole. He only lacks mindless minions to help him complete his conveniently materialistic revenge on the Upper World!

The villains' false and self-serving sense of grievance and the grasping at any and all justification for giving into their grievances is absolutely a sign of our times. An Annihilus analog wouldn't be too out of place, here, either.

Galactus is an entirely different kettle of fish. I hope we see that in 3. Frozone being front and center during a lot of this movie all but guarantees it. He surfs on ice.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:33 PM on June 26, 2018

The villains' false and self-serving sense of grievance and the grasping at any and all justification for giving into their grievances is absolutely a sign of our times.

Interesting. That wasn't my take on Evelyn at all. It seemed she had nothing to gain (and in fact probably a good deal to lose financially) from her schemes personally, but just sincerely felt that Supers were bad for a free society, and had some decent arguments to back that up.

Which was a nice counterpart fo Helen's view that, okay, maybe, sure, but as long as there's something I can do for the sake of good, I'm gonna do it.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:57 PM on June 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

And just now, five days after seeing it, do I realize the villain's name is a play on "Evil Endeavor."
posted by Navelgazer at 10:46 AM on June 27, 2018 [5 favorites]

One thing I noted is that at least part of the blame goes to the secret agency going around covering for the heroes. Bob, who's not a particularly introspective guy unless pushed, seemed legitimately surprised to see a proper analysis of how much collateral damage he'd been causing. Right up until the last straw incident, he had a handler assuring him stuff would just get fixed. Even during his retirement, he was seeing the inconvenience to himself, but not the actual aftermath. Then he gets to see the damage one of those causual coverup mindwipes does to Violet, and possibly, having worked in insurance, could understand those figures in a way he would not have before. You could even make an analogy of a priviliged white guy going through life shielded from consequences, and then baffled and hurt when "suddenly", it's an issue and everybody's angry. Yeah, partially, superstrength and invulnerability makes for a bull-in-a-china-shop power, but also nobody ever made Bob be more careful until they told him to stop entirely.

Helen had the lowest damages partially due to less inherently damaging powers, but also because she paid attention. Lucius also does a lot of damage prevention with the insta-snowbanks.

So Evelyn has a legitmate point that expecting supers to just handle any problem at the expense of more mundane solutions is bad for society. And Helen has a legitimate point that if there's a threat where mundane solutions aren't going to cut it, supers should be allowed to step in. It's the all or nothing that breaks things down.
posted by Karmakaze at 12:48 PM on June 29, 2018 [5 favorites]

The more I think about it, the more Helen zipping around in a fine-tuned motorcycle that responds to every shift of her momentum while Bob's car just drives itself where he tells it to go feels like a microcosm of all the superhero dynamics the movie deals with.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:39 PM on June 29, 2018 [7 favorites]

I loved this movie.

For the record and those concerned. I am a seizure having person. All tho my condition does not have significant photosensitivity as a trigger, I know many people who do. The folks I know with photosensitive seizure (not all of them in the world) don't go to the movies because just the basic environment of the movie theater is too problematic. So warnings are typically of more use on digital and DVD media. Warnings are nice regardless but I can see a studio being worried that a warning would make people, who feel some general vague sense of "allyship" with seizure folks, stay away from a movie seizure having folks wouldn't have gone to anyway.

My greater concern about that scene is that it's fucking intense as hell :) It's like suddenly this Jon Wick brawl breaks out. It's a sort of tooth and nail kind of fight to what seems like maybe the death that you just don't get; even most live action super hero movies. My 6 year old was AAAALLLL the way at the back corner of her seat and she had even been forewarned about it.
posted by French Fry at 1:39 PM on July 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Am I hallucinating that there was a thread on the blue about the Bao short? I can't find it.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:46 AM on July 6, 2018

There was! I remember avoiding it because I hadn't seen the movie yet at the time, and then we just started talking about it in here and I forgot to check back on that thread.

Hmm I can't find it either... and now I'm wondering if I also hallucinated that and it was just an articled linked on twitter.

Come on brain!
posted by numaner at 11:30 AM on July 6, 2018

But yeah, the first Incredibles, with all its "If everybody's special, then no one is!" is definitely something.

Which is only said by a 10-year-old-boy trying to rationalize why he shouldn't get in trouble for doing something wrong and a super villain trying to rationalize killing superheroes and selling weapons.

It's almost as if the movies actual point of view is that Randism is a rationalization for selfishness rather than a coherent ethos.
posted by straight at 9:23 PM on July 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

So, I thought the whole point of the end of the first movie was that superheroes were already accepted, because they beat Syndrome. Did everyone just forget about that?

At the end of the first movie, Bob asks, "Does this mean we can come out of hiding?"

And Dicker responds, speaking for the agency that takes care of Supers: "Let the politicians figure that one out. But I've been asked to assure you we'll take care of everything else."

Incredibles 2 starts an unspecified time after that, the day of the track meet. Dash has joined the track team, so weeks later? months? Probably not enough time for the politicians to change the laws, but the way the family jumps into action against the Underminer implies that the Feds have at least told them they'll turn a blind eye to superheroes helping out.

Nice that, since Disney now owns Pixar, they can use the word "superheroes" in this movie.
posted by straight at 9:40 PM on July 14, 2018

It's interesting to me that of all of the family, Dash kind of sat this one out.

Yeah, but he had a lot of funny lines and gags and facial expressions. And the great moment where he dashes around Screech revealing that he can turn his head 360+ degrees like an owl.

I kind of like that in the action scenes the kids are portrayed as kids and not just shorter heroes. They seem limited more by inexperience than lack of power. Violet can disappear, but she's not very stealthy and doesn't know how to counter the various things villains do to make her visible.

Conversely they do a really good job of making it seem that Bob and Helen are so formidable because they have so much experience using their powers. Helen obviously has all kinds of skill, but you can also frequently see Bob sizing things up, looking for leverage, thinking about how and where to apply his strength rather than just thrashing around and punching things.
posted by straight at 10:18 PM on July 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

And the whole voice-actors doing an awkward “sorry it took 14 years to make this movie” intro thing at the beginning was.....painful and awkward and sooooo strange??

Yes that was incredibly weird and awkward. Why would they do that?
posted by straight at 10:48 PM on July 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

I was wondering how the family could not know Jack-Jack has powers after the last bit of the first movie where Syndrome dies and the events with the babysitter seen in Jack-Jack Attack.

I think they couldn't make out what was happening that made Syndrome drop Jack-Jack, and he was back to his usual cuddly self as soon as mom caught him. And then Syndrome's plane drops on the house, obliterating any sign of the damage Jack-Jack did with the babysitter. And then I guess they don't talk to Kari before she gets brain wiped by Dicker. Which means that no matter how suspicious Helen was about what was going on in those answering-machine messages (because of course she was), there's no evidence for her to find out except Dicker himself. And Dicker doesn't tell Bob and Helen that Jack-Jack has powers because it doesn't occur to him that they wouldn't already know their baby has powers.
posted by straight at 1:08 PM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

There is, of course, no Human Torch


*glasses gleam*

Fire, Robert.
posted by praemunire at 10:01 AM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think Dash has the Human Torch role in terms of being the obnoxious flashy kid that gets into immature fights with his teammates. And his speed sorta fills the same niche as Torch flying.

Jack-Jack is more like Franklin Richards - the married couple's little kid who seems potentially more powerful than anyone else but is so young he's just dangerous so they have to use technology to keep his powers from getting out of control.

Although Edna's comments about his powers being in flux maybe imply that eventually he would grow into only having one power like everyone else (except Violet? Is she the only Super with two?) rather than growing up to be some all-powerful Super.
posted by straight at 10:05 PM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

This movie was garbage. I hope the actors were paid by the word. The script must have been 3 inches thick with exposition.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:16 AM on November 11, 2018

we appreciate all types of opinions here on FanFare, but that's a pretty lazy criticism. please elaborate.
posted by numaner at 10:25 PM on November 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

The movie doesn't deserve anything more elaborate than so-called lazy criticism. It's another cash-in on nostalgia. It's one notch above Cars 2 in Pixar quality.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:02 PM on November 15, 2018

At the risk of turning this into a "getting the last word in" contest, I suggest you read through the rest of this thread. Even if you hated the movie, you must have cared enough to seek out this months old thread on FanFare to comment. And if you do, there are some great points people have brought up and debated above that you're welcomed to join in on. If this movie doesn't deserve more than your one drive-by comment, and if it deserves you coming back to add in that it's a cash-in, I'm perplexed why you would bother in the first place.

I can see your point about cashing in on nostalgia, but Disney is notorious for that, and it hasn't stopped them from making a successful sequel. Toy Story 3 is always held up as a great example. Every Disney movie is also a feature-length toy commercial anyway.
posted by numaner at 12:39 AM on November 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

This movie really frustrated me because of the family dynamic story line, the main plot, the side plots, and just about all the plots.

But hot damn that was some intense action. And, the rigging was fascinating - many characters moved as if they were marionettes. I was on the edge of my seat through most the movie, and my husband had to tell me to relax. Ha!
posted by rebent at 11:23 AM on February 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

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