The Return of Elastigirl sees the rise of Dad. But, will he be Incredible? Will she?
Don’t even lie. You’ve been waiting for the return of The Incredibles for as long I have. The original film fits in my all-time top ten for superhero films. Their blend of heart and humor and family dynamics in the superhero-ing world blew me away fourteen years ago. Can you believe it’s been that long?
Alright, nevermind all that. Let’s check out the trailer and see what we can suss out.
The first full-length trailer tips its hand on the story. Supers need to be rehabilitated in the public eye. But, Mr. Incredible isn’t the man they want for the job. No, sir. They want Elastigirl. Now, this gives us all sorts of questions. Why do they still need to be rehabilitated? How did their battle with the Underminer go? Is this movie going to be a rehash of Mr. Mom? I hope not! Why do they only want one super to be the focal point for this rehabilitation? It’d be like saying we only want one member of the Fantastic Four.
Let’s get into it.
The trailer opens with a shot of the Parrs taking in a family meal. The conclusion of The Incredibles left us with a family united, ready to take on super villains as a cohesive fighting unit. The mundane lighting, isolating the dinner table in an otherwise dark room, is our first clue that perhaps this did not last.
Sarah Vowell is back as the voice of Violet Parr. However, Huck Milner has taken over for Spencer Fox to voice the role of Dash. That isn’t too surprising given Fox was ten at the time the first film was recorded. His voice will surely have changed. And this movie is meant to be an immediate sequel, time-wise, to the original film. Milner’s take is remarkably close to Fox’s.
This scene will be familiar to all parents with multiple kids. The oldest always takes on the job of bossing around the younger kids. Always. What would it look like if those kids had superpowers? Well, here you go. Typical ten-year-old mentality. What good is super speed if you can’t use it to dry your hands at the dinner table?
Holly Hunter is back as the voice of Helen Parr, A.K.A. Elastigirl. I’m really in love with this scene. I’ve got three kids. And, aside from superpowers (so far as you know), this is exactly how our dinner table experiences go. Take out. Disagreement over takeout. Handwashing. Laying down the law. All very normal. But, why’s everything so dark? And, it also establishes Helen as still very much the matriarch of the family.
“So,” Violet says. “Are we going to talk about it?” “What,” says Dad. “The elephant in the room.” Bam, smash cut to hero music and James Bondian acrobatic action openers. Starring:
Elastigirl! Or, as Violet puts it: “Mom’s New Job.” You can hear the letters are capitalized when she says them. It’s never a good sign when outside help wants to break up the band. That said, I’m hopeful that Elastigirl is the focus of this film. I loved seeing Mr. Incredible find his way through his midlife crisis. But, it’s an interesting dynamic. Elastigirl has to shepherd the supers back into the light, while also shepherding her family through their struggles. There’s a lot to work with. I’m into it.
New characters! Our first introduction to Winston Deaver, voiced by Bob Odenkirk. His objective is to rehabilitate the supers in the eyes of the public. I expect they’ve had some similar fallout that, oh, say, Man of Steel Superman might have had following the destruction of Metropolis. That said, I don’t trust him!
Aside from any other aspect of plot reveal or general significance, my gosh. Look at that frame. The look of the original film was unique and gorgeous. They really haven’t lost a beat. I see an Action Comics #1 reference translated to a sort of 1960s futurism animation aesthetic. And it is beautiful. Somebody get me a print of this so I can hang it on my wall. Ralph Eggleston, who did the Art Direction for the original film, is back as the Production Designer. And, Josh Holtsclaw, who worked in the Art Department on Kubo and the Two Strings, is on as the Art Director.
Bombshell. They want Elastigirl to be their frontman. It’s heartening to see this type of exchange in the trailer for the sequel, though. Family dynamics mashed up into family life is precisely what made the first one sing. Years ago, Brad Bird gave an interview where he shared that the family dynamic was the more interesting aspect of this superhero film. That’s certainly accurate. Helen embraces her role as a mother. But, even in the first film, she’s a Don’t Mess With Me Bad Ass who gets stuff done.
Bob says, wait? Isn’t this movie about me? Nope. Not the hero-ing, at least. Mr. Incredible is going to have to learn to be a full-time stay at home dad. And, look. Solo-parenting is hard. Like, properly hard. They can be single moms or dads. Or, partners of people who’ve deployed to combat zones. Or, partners of people whose hustle has to take them away more often than they are home. Regardless, solo-parents deserve mad respect. And, I’m not surprised Bob is a bit daunted by his challenge.
On the plus side, there appears to be quite a bit of money behind Winston Deaver’s rehabilitation plan. So, no worrying about grocery money. They all have to find their passion in life because there is, like, mountain retreat, luxury mansion for the Parrs levels of money. This may be a previously untapped latent Communism in me, but this ain’t making me trust Deaver anymore than I already did.
And their new digs seem to include a secret garage with a waterfall exit. “Mom’s got to go to work.” And then she peels off on her designer motorcycle.
And then we get a montage of family moments Bob has to learn to navigate more delicately than he’s had to in the past. It isn’t easy to relate to and manage three kids at three very different ages. It takes a lot of practice. And, while not every joke here requires you to be a parent, you’ve got to have lived this New Math rigamarole. Like, they did change mathematics. And your kids look at you unsympathetically while you’re having your existential crisis because you can’t do addition anymore.
Frozone! Samuel L. Jackson is in the building. And, he’s here to help Bob figure out what the heck to do with Jack-Jack. If you remember from the first film, Jack-Jack’s latent superpowers drove a babysitter completely mad. Will Frozone and Mr. Incredible fare any better? No. They are terrified.
We do learn one very important thing. Jack-Jack’s kryptonite is cookies. They are also my kryptonite. Perhaps I too have hidden superpowers. If only I could stop eating these cookies, we might find out. That’s been a major question, though, right? What will Jack-Jack’s powers be? Here, we see lasers, fire, lightning, and teleportation. This child is a handful.
There’s a lot going on in this single frame. It appears to take place later in the film after the Parrs have moved into the luxury mansion. I’m not sure what’s causing these portals. Jack-Jack maybe? And Dash is definitely on a mission with him. Perhaps Jack-Jack has some larger significance to the overall plot? I mean, Jack-Jack is fierce enough to concern the invincible Mr. Incredible. So, it seems unlikely they’re moving him simply for his safety.
First, whoa. Here’s another gorgeous frame. This trailer is truly beautiful. Second, we saw some consternation about superhero costumes from Violet earlier in the trailer. Jack-Jack is present, as is the rest of the family. So, the rehabilitation of the supers may start with Elastigirl. But, we get back into The Incredibles doing their thing.
Yes! The return of Edna Mode, voiced by Brad Bird. Her dry wit is a key ingredient to the success of the original. All of her “darlings” and death rays and machine guns. She’s the Q we didn’t know we needed.
Finally! A good look at our villain. “The Screen Slaver interrupts this program for an important announcement.” Look at that mask. He’s scary. His voice is modulated. And, he controls the airwaves. In fact, he appears to have the ability to hypnotize everyone.
There you have it. We’ve got all the favorites returning. We’ve got a scary new villain for them to battle. And, the dynamic of their team has shifted. Above all else, remember that the family that heroes together, stays together. June 15 literally can’t come quickly enough.