It really does seem like it's been much longer than 14 years since Disney/Pixar and director Brad Bird gave us The Incredibles - the now-considered animation classic about a family of superheroes who save the world. That was back in 2004, and if you think back to 2004, it was quite a different experience going to the movie theater. Certainly, Hollywood had given audiences the start of the comic book movie or superhero blockbuster -- Bryan Singer's X-Men had come out, as had Wesley Snipes's take on Blade, and Sam Raimi's Spiderman with Kirsten Dunst and Tobey McGuire. The 3-D craze hadn't yet come, and there were no rumbling seats you could sit in that moved with the film, etc. Technology for special effects wasn't as good as it is today -- do we really need any of that fancy gimmickry today?
Think about how those movies would equate themselves now with today's standards up against superheroes movies made today in Hollywood. Can you even compare a movie like X-Men, Blade, Raimi's Spiderman, with something of today like Black Panther or The Avengers? The budget is larger, the casts are totally all-star and the effects get better with each film.
So with that said: What can fans expect from Brad Bird and The Incredibles 2 given all these new audience expectations with the superhero movie genre? Can an animated superhero movie be as good and rewarding as something like a Marvel Avengers or Deadpool? How can it even compete?
For director Brad Bird bringing a sequel to The Incredibles to the big screen seemed like it could be a challenge all these years later after technology had surpassed itself. "On some level, it's kind of like going to the football field and there have been way too many games on it, " Bird said recently in a press conference promoting The Incredibles upcoming June 15th IMAX release date.
"There's just kind of this dry dirt with a few spritzes of grass and everything's kind of clunky and life doesn't grow there anymore. So, there's that aspect, where you feel like, 'Oh Jesus, it’s really been covered.' It kinda reminds me of the way Westerns were in the late '50s where if you had a television, 95 percent of what was on was a Western. We're in that phase a little bit, and it makes it very challenging on a story level because not only do you have every superhero under the sun and cross-promoting films and blah, blah, blah, blah, but you also have a bunch of television shows."
But even with the superhero movie genre being so elevated by Hollywood so much in the last decade, Bird and Pixar were not dissuaded from bringing a sequel to The Incredibles to the big screen because of the power of their material.
"It’s easy to freak out and go, ‘Why even try? Everybody’s got everything done to death,’ but I return to what makes us unique, and it’s this idea of a family and that superheroes have to hide their abilities,” Bird continued. “And those things actually are unique to us, and there’s plenty left to explore.”
While films like Deadpool, The Avengers franchise, Thor, Spiderman can be argued for or against as "family entertainment," at the end of the day, there isn't anyone out there can argue against the idea that something like The Incredibles 2 is anything more than that - perfect family viewing. Which is why The Incredibles 2 can be just as successful and rewarding as anything coming from Marvel or DC.
The strength of The Incredibles, and why it will be able to play on the same field as something like The Avengers or Deadpool will be in the presentation of the concept. As Producer John Walker of both The Incredibles 1 and 2 noted recently: “When we were trying to sell the idea of the first Incredibles, one of the criticisms of it was, ‘What is it? Is it a family movie, is it a spy movie, is it a superhero movie? We don’t know. What is it? You gotta pick one,'” Walker said. “And I think that’s been the strength of both the films is that they are all those things and it isn’t rooted in just the superhero genre.”
Regardless of whether the expectations of the superhero movie have changed or not in the last decade, it really doesn't seem to matter when it comes to the animated Incredibles franchise. Because at the end of the day, withstanding big budgets, advancements in special effects, all-star casts -- The Incredibles 2 has always been about family and family can never fail at the box office.