The need to laugh
When The Incredibles came out, our daughter was five years old and our son had just been born. The film instantly became a family favorite, and the DVD was one of our most viewed. Fifteen years later, with a daughter home from college and a teenage son now in high school, Incredibles 2 was designated a must-happen family event—and we weren’t disappointed.
Incredibles 2 picks up right where the first one left off, in the middle of the battle between the superheroes and Underminer, who gets away and leaves Metroville with a lot of collateral damage—something the politicians and media react against negatively and call on lawmakers and the public to keep superheroes illegal.
Things look bleak for our favorite family of superheroes—until corporate magnet Winston Deavor offers Helen the chance to make Elastigirl the face of a new PR movement to change the public’s mind and make superheroes legal again. When her first stakeout introduces us to the newest villain, the adventure swings into full gear.
While we pick up right where we left off in the lives of the Parrs, their world feels a little more complex and darker—and a little more like our own—than it did in the first film.
There is a lot more going on in this film besides the main plot of our superheroes defeating a new villain. Woven throughout are a number of themes ranging from a critique of the media, politics and the never ending spin factory we all must sift through, the effects of our screen-based culture, and the multi-tasking exhaustion of our career and family lives.
These pressures, effects and themes are floating all around us—every minute of the day, thanks to the ever-present screens of our televisions, phones and even those in our vehicles.
That’s a lot of themes, and as some critics point out, most of them aren’t necessarily concluded or fleshed out. But I don’t mind that.
In fact, I think it’s a helpful reflection on the reality of our modern life.
These pressures, effects and themes are floating all around us—every minute of the day, thanks to the ever-present screens of our televisions, phones and even those in our vehicles. Some more than others are definitely pinging on our radars, but even if they aren’t, they are interacting in and influencing our individual and corporate lives just like they impact the lives of the Parrs and the people they are trying to protect.
I also appreciated how the film invites us to see our struggles in real life as heroic. It wasn’t hard to resonate with the way the different characters struggled with child and household management, balancing work and family, the pressure to multi-task, feeling sidelined, facing the rejection of our callings and gifts and struggling with how we define ourselves—and all this in the midst of cultural and political tensions.
But while this film might have a more complex or weightier feel, it made my whole family laugh – a lot. It felt good to be in the company of these beloved characters—and it felt good to laugh, even in the midst of a somewhat darker world.
Incredibles 2 is rated PG for action sequences and some brief mild language.