the Incredibles 2 picks up right where the original Pixar (now classic) Incredibles ends. Supers are illegal, and what few of them are left after Syndrome killed so many of them are trying to live normal lives. Win Dever of DevTech has other ideas.

Director Brad Bird gives us a new and even better glimpse into this alternate universe where supers are part of the culture. Composer Michael Giacchino delivers an action-packed scorethat not only creates mood but a sense of the era that Incredibles 2 suggests (the late 50s-early 60s.

Don’t forget to check out the PluggedIn Review.

Likes, Dislikes, and Initial Reactions

Eve

Eve liked that all the characters are caricatures, yet very real, not two dimensional (even in 2D, lol). Incredibles 2 has something for everyone. Even though geared for kids, there is a lot of content that adults can connect with (parental talks outside by the pool where the kids can’t hear and while getting ready for bed) This is “family” from the parent point of view, yet suitable for kids.

The villain (Evelyn Dever) is understandable, and like the villain in Black Panther, has a credible argument, if wrongfully applied. Both of us like it when the antagonist is a real person with understandable motivations, and Incredibles 2 delivered.

Lastly, family values are front and center. In Incredibles 2, we see a functional family with all of the human faults that functional families have, but with a mom and a dad who are doing their best to raise responsible children.

Tim

Tim liked the strong writing with well done, but usually subtle foreshadowing. His multiple viewings for this episode helped him to see hidden hints, like Evelyn Devor = Evil Endeavor, Dicker is wearing a Hawaiian shirt and has a tiki drink (with umbrella) on his desk while he’s packing up, and the Johnny Quest and Outer Limits cameos (which also subtly tie-into the main plot).

Tony is readying “The Death of Melancoly, which could be a possible nod to The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Storiesby Tim Burton. The book “tells 23 winsomely macabre stories about boys and girls who don’t fit in.” Is this a stretch?

Tim disliked the disrespectful interaction between Lucius and Honey Best. Though many appreciate the humor, both of us were concerned about the implied dynamic of stress and disrespect in their relationship. Is this an unfortunate stereotype?

We also were both annoyed by the imbalance of the movie soundtrack. Dialogue was soft, but the music and action sequences were too loud. This possible hangover from the digital surround sound means you have to keep your remote handy to reduce or raise the volume as needed.

Tim was also annoyed by a scene where Elastigirl takes over flying a helicopter from obviously well-trained military pilots. He also found the little girl with the “Screenslaver is still out there!” sign very creepy and out of place. Is this the Screenslaver effect lingering? No one around the girl seems weirded out by the sign.

Parental & Gender Roles and Necessities

Is there anything wrong with how Bob and Helen’s roles are reversed? Do they still have a sound marriage?

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies.

He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of his body.” Ephesians 5:22-29

Parental Roles

Mom in the workplace

On the call with Helen, Bob lies though his teeth about how well it’s going, so she won’t think she needs to drop what she is doing and return.

Call coming in, switching over.
Hey mom. I can’t find my high tops and Dad can’t find them either. But he won’t call you and ask, so I am.
Do not call your mother!

Even when outside the home, Helen is still the mother of her children. She takes their calls and helps even when she’s in the middle of a high speed chase. Even when a mother works outside the home, she is still a mother.

Stay at home dad

What am I? A substitute parent?

Bob hasn’t the experience of staying home and taking care of the kids. It takes him a while to get used to the time commitment of homework and putting the baby to bed. He eventually reaches a breaking point:

Because I’m formulating, okay! I’m taking in information! I’m processing! I’m doing the math, I’m fixing the boyfriend, and keeping the baby from turning into a flaming monster! How do I do it? By rolling with the punches, baby! I eat thunder and crap lightning, okay? Because I’m Mr. Incredible! Not “Mr. So-So” or “Mr. Mediocre Guy”! Mr. Incredible!

Jack Jack has a much expanded role in Incredibles 2. Every little bit of what makes a young toddler a pain to parent is expanded into an uncontrollable power in Jack Jack. He can become multiple children, teleport from his crib to the living room, become a monster when his expectation are dashed, and melt down into fire when upset (completely normal behavior for a toddler, right?) This is the test that has Bob losing his cool, but he does eventually man up (after taking Jack Jack to Edna (see the short “Auntie Edna” on the Blu-ray) and sleeping for 18 hours.

I broke my daughter. They keep changing math. We needed double A batteries, but I got triple A’s and now we still need double A batteries. I put one red thing in a load of whites, now everything is pink. And I think we need eggs.

Things get so bad from Bob, that every problem seems to be the same level of impossible, from breaking his daughter to running out of eggs. This is parenting, and we tip our hats to all those parents who are the every day heroes of their families.

Gender Roles

From the very first scene, the idea of gender roles and stereotypes is introduced during Tony’s interrogation. This is such a teen age boy thing to say!!

It’s not her fault superheros are illegal, and it’s not like I don’t like strong girls. I’m pretty secure manhood-wise.

Bob digs himself a deep hole with this one. The idea that the Devers would choose Helen over him for a mission just makes no sense to him. He isn’t being intentionally chauvinistic, but it goes against his masculine nature to step back and let the woman take the lead.

Elastigirl is our best play.
Better than…me?
[Elasti clears throat]
I mean, she’s good, really, a credit to her . . . you know . . . [nervous chuckle] . . . you know . . .

What we really appreciate about this portrayal of the gender stereotypes is that Helen doesn’t have to stop being a woman whose first priority is family, and Bob doesn’t have to give up the masculinity that is so much a part of his character to stay at home and be a hands-on father to his children. It’s an understanding that this is temporary, and the roles will be put right when the law against supers has been abolished.

Believer vs. Cynic, “It’s a Man’s World”

Feminism is mostly represented by a brief discussion between Helen and Evelyn. Here are two women who are both operating in a “man’s” world, and they seem to come at it from slightly different angles. Helen appears she might have two minds about it. This may, however, just be her very open opinion of the issue in general—she seems pretty level headed about her place and role in the world.

Which side of me are you asking? The believer, or the cynic? . . . The cynic would say that selling is more important because the best sellers have the most buyers. It doesn’t matter what your selling. It only matters what people buy. . . . The believer would tell you to make your mark. Don’t wait for permission, assert yourself and impose your will on the status quo.

Elastigirl assumes the gender of the Screenslaver (perhaps justifiably so, given statistics and audio of the voice), “That makes no sense. He’s a brilliant guy. If he’s smart enough to conceive of technology like this, he’s smart enough to think of something to do with it.” Evelyn had misled everyone and hidden in plain sight. When women operate as villains, they tend to use manipulation and devious deception rather than outright strength, once again playing to the natural (and different) strengths of the female gender.

Are you just watching?

The purpose of this podcast is to challenge viewers to not become screenslaves. Evelyn brings up a great point about the general population being slaves to their screens. We will explore this in greater detail in our next episode.

Patron recommended charity

Our new $10 a month patron, Peter Chapman, recommends the charity Tomorrow Clubs:

One that I think deserves a good amount of support and promotion is Tomorrow Clubs. tomorrowclubs.org Tomorrow clubs is an organisation that supports the volunteer work of local churches in Eastern Europe to reach the children in the community with the gospel of Jesus. This outreach is done through weekly kids clubs full of fun, games, songs and bible teaching. The communities are often stricken with poverty and have suffered decades of communist oppression.

These clubs give hope to the families in this villages, by showing the love of Jesus and engaging with the next generation. Founders Cindy and Paul Marty her husband, share how Cindy “thought of the impact that Bible clubs had had on her own children and began to sense that God was leading her to start something similar for the kids of Ukraine—weekly Bible clubs where children could hear the Gospel, have some fun, acquire new skills, and learn to follow Jesus through relationships with godly mentors.”

5 years ago I fell in love with this concept, of volunteers who want to serve their local community and disciple children to love Jesus. Running these clubs is very cost-efficient, with $30 a month covering materials and rent for one club, which can serve 30 kids. These kids are being loved by the local churches, who are then being blessed in turn. Now serving in 11 Eastern European countries and nearly 17,000 children, mostly unchurched, Tomorrow Clubs is ever growing and reaching more people with the message of the gospel.

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Are You Just Watching? is listener supported. Special thanks to our current patrons: Amanda John, Craig Hardee, Stephen Brown II, and Peter Chapman for their generous support. We can't continue to share critical thinking for the entertained Christian without your financial help, so please head on over to our Patreon page and become one of our supporting patrons!

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What did you think of Incredibles 2? We would like to know, even if just your reactions to the trailer or the topics we shared in this episode. Or what general critical-thinking and entertainment thoughts or questions do you have? Would you like to suggest a movie or TV show for us to give a Christian movie review with critical thinking?

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About the Author
I’m an avid reader and movie lover. There’s not much I like better than reading a book and then seeing the movie version, or watching a movie and then reading the novelization. I have a degree in English literature, which means that at some point in my life I actually received grades for discussing and writing essays about literature. Can’t get much better than that, right? Well, it can. Who needs to pull apart the deep inner workings of dusty old classics when there’s such wonderful fodder in the mass media that people watch (and read) everyday? Above all, I believe that I can’t do much better in this life than in pointing my friends toward a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Everything makes perfect sense when viewed from a Christian worldview. Even when the intent of the writer was something entirely different, everything can point to our Creator God. He is the foundation for every logical thought, the judge of all evil, and the author of all beauty.

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