Revisiting The Incredibles, and why Incredibles 2 is so eagerly awaited

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Incredibles 2’s release date is coming near and many people are confused by the euphoric anticipation surrounding the film. Why they wonder is a sequel so eagerly awaited after almost a decade and half. It is worth remembering what made 2004’s The Incredibles such a phenomenon (two Oscars and 633 million dollars, no less). The film was a tribute and a critique of the superhero genre at the same time.

All the superpowered individuals (supers), like mutants in Marvel universe, are forced to stay in their civilian identities by the government after severe collateral damage. Bob Parr, formerly Mr Incredible, is married to another super, Elastigirl, and they have three kids, one of them a baby, and the other two also have superpowers. Mr Incredible gets enmeshed in a plan hatched by a certain man called Syndrome who wanted to be Robin to Mr Incredible’s Batman and who was shunned by Mr Incredible. He plots his revenge and while not a super, he creates technology that allows him to trap and overpower Mr Incredible.

All that superhero stuff notwithstanding, Incredibles was a family film. All the characters were humans first and displayed purely human traits that made them so relatable. It was Bob’s family who comes to his rescue. Previously, a little dysfunctional, The Incredibles eventually learn to work together. In the end, even the baby Jack-Jack shows off his latent powers and defeats Syndrome for good.

Set in the past (1960s), The Incredibles nevertheless featured quite a bit of futuristic equipment and gadgets (remember the iPad like device that Syndrome used to send a message to Mr Incredible?) that hinted that it was actually an alternate reality in which the technology had advanced more quickly. Before the movie ended, we saw a glimpse of the Underminer.

Which brings us to Incredibles 2. The current scenario is different. These days, there is superhero movies galore. Director Brad Bird understands this. “The landscape has certainly changed since our last movie,” he says. “But the idea of our hero worrying about getting a job and paying the rent is still compelling. The challenge of juggling everything life throws at you—even if you have superpowers—is still relatable.”

Incredibles 2 will see Helen (Elastigirl) going out to do the work of supers, while Bob is left at home, caring for the children, including now unruly Jack-Jack. “I wanted this to be Helen’s adventure,” Bird says. “And I was intrigued by how Bob would handle that, along with the responsibilities at home.”

According to Bird, The Incredibles franchise has this unique formula of blending the ordinary with the extraordinary. “It’s a dance between the mundane and the fantastic,” he says. “That’s what makes the idea work.”

The plot so far looks good. It would be hilarious to see Bob’s struggles with the kids. Normal kids can be a pain, and these kids have superpowers! It remains to be seen whether the Underminer is interesting enough a villain or not.

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