We all know we have hit a peak when it comes to the superhero genre in film. In fact some will say we have started a downward trend after this year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. While it is still too hard to tell whether it is on a downward trend many can easily point out historically where the trend started. Iron Man started not only the cinematic universe for Marvel but also the onslaught of pictures that eventually became a commentary in itself in Oscar winner Birdman. But they would be wrong. Iron Man did not start the superhero trend, or at least in my eyes anyways, it would be Brad Bird’s excellent Pixar feature in The Incredibles.
I stand by that despite the countless pictures they have made since this 2004; The Incredibles is STILL Pixar’s best film. Technology might have “improved” in over a decade and I am not denying their more recent outings like Up and Toy Story 3 are fantastic. But The Incredibles has continuously struck a cord with me since I first saw it. Mostly because of two aspects: One with how Bird was able to construct a believable universe with these characters. The second is just how incredibly gorgeous this picture is.
The latter is easier to describe because the images still hold up. Whether it is the mundane life inside cubicles or a fight with a robot inside a volcano so much care was put into the visuals. I think a lot of it has to do with how the colors immediately pop out and also everything is shiny. Now CGI, if it is bad, will look incredibly dated because of shininess. But that hasn’t been the case in the eleven years since this movie came out. If anything this has improved my sense of how animated films of today have lazily looked (for the most part) and Brad Bird gave us some of the best animation when people were still trying to figure this out.
But what has made this film timeless to me is how enjoyable it is as a superhero film and as a family drama. The superheroics are top notch and even some of the bigger blockbusters of the day struggle to showcase any action. Here, a lot of care was put into staging the battles and it would be nice if Bird could go in to any Marvel/DC film to tell people how to block properly. As I grow older though I realize how believable of a family The Incredibles are and how much emotion is put into the script. Also, the whole cast does an amazing job with this but I wanna specifically point out Holly Hunter. If you could give an Oscar nomination for voice acting she deserved all the praise in the world as Mrs. Incredible. Cause you can hear the warmth coming from talking to her family no matter what the situation. In the countless Mother’s depicted on screen I would put her high above the list, if not first.
Earlier this year we FINALLY got an announcement that a sequel will be coming to The Incredibles. It totally boggled my mind that it took Disney/Pixar this long to make a sequel out of what is a sure bet of a box office winner. Superheroes are still in, Pixar as a company is still cranking out good hits, and Brad Bird is still one of the best examples of how a filmmakers puts care into his or her work. Speaking of the latter we will be having Bird come back for this is a very good thing. This could have been a cash grab (like Pixar’s earlier outing in Monster’s University) but it is clear everyone wants to make this film as important and as entertaining as the last. Maybe the superhero genre can bounce back, if it really ever needed too, once this sequel showcases just how to make a genuine superhero film.