“The Incredibles 2” Feels Dated Because Comic Book Movies Move Too Fast

Matthew Loffhagen
Disney Pixar
(Photo: Disney Pixar)

I was recently reading an early review for “The Incredibles 2” when something interesting caught my attention.

According to a review on Screen Rant by Molly Freeman, the movie is entertaining enough, but its core concept is outdated at best.

Said Freeman:

“The dynamics played out in the Parr family come off as extremely outdated. While Incredibles 2 attempts to take a step forward by putting Elastigirl front and center, this storyline is executed with extremely tired stereotypes about family dynamics, essentially forcing the movie three steps backward. Much of the movie sees Bob jealous of Helen … especially as he struggles to take care of his own children. It’s undoubtedly reminiscent of the era of media the Incredibles franchise has drawn inspiration from. But rather than offer some kind of update or commentary on that kind of husband-wife dynamic, Incredibles 2 is more or less a “family-friendly” regurgitation of it, which, considering how much media has evolved since that time (and since 2004), makes the movie feel incredibly outdated.”

As I read this, I couldn’t help but think, of course!

Of course “The Incredibles 2” would feel dated! Of course the movie would feel out of place among the current rung of superhero movies.

Jack-Jack and Bob
Source: Disney Pixar

“The Incredibles” franchise can’t keep up because comic book movies have evolved so much since 2004.

A Limited Shelf Life

Have you ever gone back and watched “Spider-Man 2”?

At the time of its release, this was the most fresh, stylish, inventive comic book movie to date.

Now, over a decade later, the film feel quaint and cute. Plus, not a little cheesy.

This is because the goalpost has shifted so far with regards to what qualifies a good comic book movie. With dozens of films exploring essentially the same topic, what once was revolutionary has now become cliché.

Captain America
Source: Marvel

It’d for this reason that comic book movies age so poorly – the language surrounding these films is shifting and developing constantly. Just look at the difference between “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Captain America: Civil War”.

Even the supposed genre-defining classics suffer from this. In the wake of so many dour, gritty DC movies, “The Dark Knight” feels far less interesting than it did when it was first released.

So, then should it be any surprise than over the course of nearly fifteen years, the “Incredibles” formula might seem a little old-fashioned?

No Longer Groundbreaking

It seems that the central premise of “The Incredibles 2” is that women can be heroes and men need to let them. Had the film come out in 2008, this might have felt topical, but we’ve had “Wonder Woman” since then. The cultural landscape has shifted, and now it’s weird to be overly self-congratulatory for letting a woman take the center stage in a comic book film.

(Not that we don’t need more of these movies. We’re still waiting for you to catch up, Marvel!)

Elastigirl Incredibles 2
Source: Disney Pixar

So don’t be too harsh on “The Incredibles 2” if the movie feels a little behind the times.

It’s worth hammering home this film’s feminist message for the sake of the few dissenters in the back who refuse to listen. If the result is a movie that feels like it should have come out a lot sooner, that makes sense.

After all, we’ve been waiting for this sequel for a long time. Maybe if Pixar had got their act together sooner, the movie would feel more topical.