The Incredibles (2004)

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The Incredibles (2004)

Post  BoG on Mon May 18, 2015 7:53 pm

In some ways, it's a shame that such a dead-on parody of the super-hero genre is an animated film. Where several other super-hero films which tried the parody route mostly failed, this one seems to get it, which is a sad commentary on all the live action super-hero films. But, the reason that The Incredibles succeeds is not the parody - the film escalates to epic adventure by the 2nd half and becomes a thrilling sample of heavy-duty super-heroics. The plot concerns the family of the title; they've been forced to give up their super-heroing due to all the damage caused by their supposed good deeds (this was more crudely addressed in other films like Hancock-2008).  Instead, they have been in this world's version of a government relocation program for several years, living a typical middle class suburban lifestyle. The father (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) is in a kind of office purgatory in his job at an insurance company. He used to be Mr. Incredible (a combo Superman/The Thing) and his wife (voiced by Holly Hunter) had been ElastiGirl. The two kids were born after super-heroes were made illegal but are developing their own powers - the girl is another version of the Invisible Woman, including force fields, and the boy is super-swift.
It is soon made apparent that the father is not very content with his lot in life - he and another ex-super-hero called Frozone (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) occasionally go on nighttime vigilante missions to work off their dissatisfaction, unknown to the wife.  Then, the former Mr. Incredible is contacted by a female agent of someone called Syndrome; he is requested to tackle a huge robot on a remote island as some sort of test; he happily obliges, able to fully test himself after an interval of years.  Of course, the plot thickens: this test was only the beginning of a diabolical plot woven by Syndrome (voiced by Jason Lee), who has been plotting revenge for many years. For me, the key scene is when Mr. Incredible first confronts Syndrome on the island again; Mr. Incredible had been shown to be invulnerable, with nearly limitless strength; but he is swiftly outmatched by Syndrome's high tech weapons, making him flee like a whipped dog - it was an eye-opening scene for me, a suggestion that things have taken a very dark turn and that the audience can expect the unexpected. Even more, there is the reveal that Syndrome has been killing retired super-heroes for years - this is certainly not just a kids flic.
The final act - perhaps predictably - showcases the united family combining their various powers to make a stand for victory, and it's done with style and grace. The standout, however, is Jason Lee as Syndrome, a self-absorbed megalomaniac of the highest order. Lee is able to project all of Syndrome's hubris, flamboyance and boyish psychosis to create a truly memorable, entertaining villain. His comeuppance is something to see - though the finale may be a bit too cute (involves yet another member of the Incredibles, the youngest). In all, a rousing rendition of a super-hero family, evoking thoughts of the best, classic Fantastic Four comics.  BoG's Score: 9 out of 10
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