Incredibles 2 is a super success despite criticism

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Graphic by Kash Patel

In its opening weekend (according to IMDb’s Box Office Mojo), Incredibles 2 made its way to number eight on the box office list with a whopping $180 million, behind four Marvel movies, two Star Wars movies and Jurassic World.

For a PG rated movie, that makes it number one for its opening weekend. Worldwide, it has made over $480 million, continuing its climb as one of the most successful animated movies of all time.

Despite this massive success, there was no end to the months leading up to the film’s release which vehemently condemned the film’s “feminist agenda.”

Seeing the film trailers with Helen Parr being put in the spotlight, as opposed to her husband Bob, was simply too much for some, who critiqued it as being a disgusting way to force a narrative into a film and promote “feminist propaganda.”

Not surprisingly though, the film came out and was simply very well done.

What led The Incredibles as a franchise to its original success was so eloquently described by film critic Owen Gleiberman as being “an instant Pixar classic, bedazzling and humane, a virtuoso act of computer-animated showmanship that spoke about things like work, family, ego and the passion of ambition.”

This sequel built upon that original premise, returning to the potent nostalgia which brought dedicated viewers back 14 years later, many of whom grew up with the comedic wholesomeness that the Parr family brought to them, as Pixar is known for doing well.

It’s refreshing to see a film like this be so successful and it gives hope to other animated films which follow it. The formula for an animated movie doesn’t necessarily have to be rooted in progressiveness, but it should have some element that younger audiences can take away from.

The subversion of Bob’s character, changing from the masculine breadwinner to the comically unprepared role of stay-at-home parent, shows a different message. It demonstrates that even the strongest of people can be weakened under the right circumstances, just as its predecessor did.

Ultimately, when the confrontation between the main protagonist Helen and antagonist Evelyn Deavor begins, she and Bob are helplessly captured. In a movie which mirrors the first, the kids are once again shown to be the paragons of potential, the last vestiges of hope for saving the fate of supers once more.

The movie symbolizes many things, not the least of which is the respectable moral that paints families as being extremely important, no matter how they are structured. The film showcases the importance of placing the future in the hands of the next generation, regardless of what role they have in society or their family unit.

It’s pretty sad when a film that includes a working mother who is seen as the central hero while the dad looks after the kids at home is disregarded by many because it’s promoting a certain agenda.

To devalue the efforts of hundreds of people, working for years on a project which has brought smiles and laughs to so many, is simply an act of intellectual dishonesty of the highest calibre.

The fact that something can be labelled “feminist” is not an ugly designation, but a representation of the progressiveness of the film industry — one which has often remained stagnant and paranoid of backlash for far too long.

It’s refreshing to see a film like this be so successful and it gives hope to other animated films which follow it. The formula for an animated movie doesn’t necessarily have to be rooted in progressiveness, but it should have some element that younger audiences can take away from.

If Incredibles 2 inspires little girls and boys to look up to Helen Parr rather than Bob and Bob alone, why does that have to be such a bad thing? Young girls should be encouraged to look beyond the life of a housewife if they wish to do so, not stay confined within it.

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