“Incredibles 2,” as promised by the actors before the movie began, was well worth the more than a decade wait for the sequel. Funny, action-packed and beautifully made, this is a fantastic family movie.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
Except for “The Empire Strikes Back,” I usually don’t love sequels more than the original movie. “Incredibles 2” is another exception for me. The animation is amazing, and the story really hit home for me as a working mother and parent of two teenagers. My sons said that it felt like the “Elastigirl movie,” referring to the character of the mother, because she did most of the superheroing. For me, seeing Mr. Incredible taking on the role of a very active, very involved dad who makes some serious sacrifices for his family—even learning new math!—showed the two parents in an equally heroic light.
In a time when families struggle to stick together under normal circumstances, the Parr family defies statistics and, in very challenging circumstances, does whatever it takes to do what’s best for their family—each making sacrifices that are very personal to them for the good of the whole family. They are shown eating dinner together, discussing important issues together, cooperating with one another, and helping each other to succeed.
The story picks up where the first left off. Superheroes are outlawed, and they find themselves in a sticky situation. They have powers that enable them to make a difference in the world, but are told that, under the penalty of the law, they can’t use them. They are being denied the ability to live fully what they were created for, and are being required to deny part of what defines them. The movie also addresses the way that our love affair with electronic devices is harming our actual relationships.
The family finds themselves living in a motel, facing potential homelessness. The parents have to make hard choices about how best to provide for their children. They’re shown as a unified couple, making the decision together. They talk about how to live in a society where sometimes the laws aren’t just—a situation that Catholic families, and people of faith in general, sometimes find themselves.
Even now, our U.S. bishops are addressing the immoral practice currently in effect of taking children away from their migrant parents as they arrive at the U.S. southern border. The movie was released on Father’s Day weekend, which was very timely for today’s changing families and the true partnership of which couples are called as parents. Fathers today share in activities that fathers in previous generations probably did not. It tackles the reality that sometimes one parent might find work when the other stays home with the children, and sometimes it’s not the mom who’s home.
Is it appropriate for your kids?
Generally speaking, I’d say yes. The short before the movie was … odd. A child screamed during it, and I agreed with her. It freaked me out, but my husband and kids thought it wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t objectionable—I think it had a nice moral, probably. But, I didn’t like it. And it made me cry.
The feature movie had several “Oh, my Gods,” one or two other light swear words, solid action scenes and showed adults drinking liquor. So, if those things are bothersome to you, see it before you bring the kids. I didn’t find them troublesome.
Here’s the trailer for a little preview of the type of action you’ll encounter:
Superheroes have been outlawed, and the Parr family, also known as the Incredibles, find themselves in a pickle. Crime is still happening, and they can do something about it—so should they? When Elastigirl is offered a job with a man who wants to change the public’s perception of supers, and subsequently the law, Bob and Helen have a tough decision to make. Helen (Elastigirl) takes the job, which means that Bob (Mr. Incredible) must stay home with the kids until the law changes and he can live the fullness of his vocation of superhero, not just super dad. A villain called Screenslaver is hypnotizing people through digital screens to show how divisive our devises can be; how they prevent us from living fully. Of course, this point was made in a terrible way, but the underlying motivation wasn’t wrong. The Parrs work together to save their family and the world.
Some Themes for Discussion
- Through no real fault of their own, or lack of desire to work, the Parrs found themselves in serious danger of suffering homelessness. Does this change your perception of how families might come to be faced with homelessness?
- Screenslaver used screens to try and enslave individuals because Screenslaver was upset that people were allowing themselves to be enslaved by screens. Does that make sense to you? Why was Screenslaver wrong? What were some other ways Screenslaver might have gone about raising awareness of the danger of being too attached to electronic devices? How is your family affected by electronics? Do you use them too much? Do you make time together without them?
- Elastigirl found it difficult to go to work while leaving her children at home, while Mr. Incredible had a hard time at first being the one who was going to stay home. Why do you think they each struggled with their new roles? Who works in your family? Who takes care of everyone? What sacrifices do you see your parents making to take care of you?
- Neither Violet nor Dash wanted to have to stay behind to take care of Jack Jack—they both wanted to be in the action and thought that taking care of their baby brother was less important than fighting the bad guys. What do you think about that? Is taking care of the baby as important as fighting the bad guys? Why or why not?
- What were some things that the Incredibles did together as a family that your family does? Do you eat together? Do you discuss important issues together? Do you fight injustice together?
- Which Incredible do you identify with the most? Why?
- Why did they change math? Seriously, does anyone know? Because, like Mr. Incredible, it doesn’t makes sense to me, either.
- The family struggled with an unjust law. Is it OK to break an unjust law?
- Does everyone in your household pitch in to help one another and support one another so that everyone can be successful?
- What is the most important thing a family can do to keep the family together and strong?