The initial plot for “The Incredibles 2” has been revealed, and it sounds amazing.
The problem facing this sequel has always been a question of where the story goes next. While the ending of “The Incredibles” seemed to tease an eventual second instalment, the story was always planned as a single, complete arc – Bob Parr suffers from a midlife crisis and a desire to relive the Glory Days, because eventually realizing that his life in the suburbs with his family is the adventure he’d been dreaming of all along.
(Actually, when you put it like that, “The Incredibles” is basically the same movie as “Up”, with a younger, stronger protagonist.)
So what should the sequel be about? Bob can’t have another mid-life crisis – that would merely serve to undermine the character development from the first film.
The logical next step would be to focus on Dash or Violet, as they find their burgeoning super powers to be less than useful in enduring the pressures of youth, but this feels a little too formulaic and predictable.
We’ve already got a slew of “Spider-Man” movies, we don’t need another riff on this standard coming of age story.
Thankfully, it seems that returning director Brad Bird has everything figured out, and has come up with a perfect way to justify “The Incredibles 2” by giving the movie a meaningful story that explores themes we don’t often see in Hollywood.
The solution? Center the movie around Helen Parr, Elastigirl (or Mrs Incredible, if you prefer), and her struggle as a middle-aged mother of three who also wants a career.
No, seriously, this is a great idea!
According to Holly Hunter, who voices Mommy Incredible:
“Helen’s appetite for adventure comes to the fore. Whereas before, she was driven to become Mrs. Incredible out of necessity, where she went into it to save her husband, I think this time she really meets her own ambition head-on. The ambition of being an adventure is something that we get to explore.”
Weirdly, this kind of female empowerment never seems to make it into blockbuster movies, especially not superhero fare. As culturally relevant as the story of a mother who wants adventure and fulfilment might be, this is a narrative that Hollywood doesn’t feel particularly comfortable exploring.
While it’s too early to tell how much of this initial tease will actually end up in the final movie, it would be no bad thing if the entirety of “Incredibles 2” hinged on Helen Parr rediscovering herself after essentially being forced to clean up all of Bob’s messes in the first movie.
Now feels like the right time for a superhero movie that’s centered on a woman who yearns to break the patriarchal mold. “Wonder Woman” did a good job of setting this kind of thought in motion, but considering that 2018 will likely see a continuation of this year’s rise in feminism and social awareness surrounding women’s rights, a movie that tackles some of these themes will be perfectly tuned to the cultural zeitgeist.
That is, as long as Brad Bird doesn’t ruin things. The original “Incredibles” has a pretty questionable moral message about how society should praise its genetic superiors because of their inherent greatness, so who knows how he’ll tackle the subject of women’s liberation?
Let’s all just cross our fingers and hope that “The Incredibles 2” doesn’t get icky. If things go exactly, perfectly right, this film could be the best sequel that Pixar has ever produced.