When Disney Pixar released the first Incredibles movie, incredibly some 14 years ago, the comic book and superhero genre of films hadn’t really hit its stride like it has now and, for me, while the film was good it’s not one I’ve really revisited.
Now we have a sequel packed into a summer of other, arguably grander, superhero fare from Avengers: Infinity War to Ant-Man & The Wasp to, later in the year DC’s continued attempts to match Marvel, Aquaman.
Whether intentionally or not then, what the makers of Incredibles 2 have done is pretty much side step being a superhero movie to create a story about family, diversity and female empowerment and just couch it in the conventions of that now most mainstream of genres.
The story picks up where the last left off as the illegal superheroes tackle the villainous Underminer with mixed results, leading to them being out of a job as superheroes.
From there they encounter superhero fan Winston Deavor (brilliantly voiced in his best Saul Goodman way by Bob Odenkirk) who wants to rehabilitate the image of superheroes, specifically by highlighting the exploits of Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) as she foils the crimes of new villain Screenslaver.
While the story is a constantly rolling and engaging feast of fun where the film really comes alive is with the characters.
Elastigirl taking the lead, in a sense, lets Disney do what Marvel have yet to in giving the lead heroic role, for the most part, to a female hero, while the contrasting scenes of Mr Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) trying to run the family home are genuinely hilarious.
While all the subtextual messages are great where the film really wins is in its sheer sense of entertainment.
Mr Incredible dealing with his super powered offspring is a highlight as it combines the obvious humour that will appeal to all, especially around baby Jack-Jack’s nascent powers, with a great streak that will appeal to anyone who’s already a parent or who can recognise the traits of the stereotypical superman at a loss when it comes to the everyday.
Another highlight comes with the return of Edna Mode, the super team’s costume designer voiced by director Brad Bird and brilliantly spoofing Hollywood costume maker Edith Head.
As the film concludes, its typical Disney message of a family and friends standing together and recognising diversity, is well handled enough not to become sickly sweet as it easily could, though you could argue the more feminist angle gets slightly lost here, but it all makes for a great fun ride of a film that is probably one of the better superhero and family films I’ve seen in some time while also being far more than that.