Comic Fodder

Simon's Review of The Incredibles

Comic book fans are truly blessed this year with a bevy of great comic book movies. From The Dark Knight to Iron Man to Hellboy 2 and even the under-rated Incredible Hulk we've been lucky this year. Now there has been a lot of talk that The Dark Knight is the greatest super hero movie of all time but I just recently watched The Incredibles with my 4 year old daughter and I gotta say it's up there as well.

For those of you who haven't seen it The Incredibles focuses on the Parr family. Bob and Helen Parr are former super heroes, Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl. They live together with their three children Dash, the speedster, Violet, invisibility and Jack Jack, no powers.

Of course comic book lovers will recognize that the Incredible family is a homage to the Fantastic Four.

Mr Incredible = The Thing
Elatigirl = Mr Fantastic
Dash = Human Torch
Violet = Invisible Woman
Jack Jack = Franklin Richards?

What better way to honor the silver age comic book family with their own movie. Oh wait, the Fantastic Four movie was release a bit after The Incredibles after some additional scenes were shot to show Mr Fantastic in action partially in response to Elastigirl's scenes.

Mr Incredible and Elastigirl have retired after Mr Incredible is sued by a number of people he's saved from harm. This prompts a number of other law suits as other super heroes are sued and they are forcibly retired by the government. This is the first of many plot points where the story seems to parallel Alan Moore's Watchmen.

After 15 years of being moved around the super hero relocation program Bob is bored of his life and years for the days when he was a crime fighter. So much so he and Frozone, played by Samuel L Jackson, sneak off to respond to emergencies on "Bowling Night". Not long after that Bob is contacted by a secret government organization. They need help with a run away robot who is terrorizing their research facility. Bob impresses them enough to get continued work with the organization. This is where things really get interesting as Bob starts feeling better about himself and it shows in the family's home life but at the same time he's lying to his family.

On one of Bob's missions he is confronted with a revamped robot who is intent on killing him. Who, what? Well as it turns out the "secret government organization" is actually a crime syndicate run by Syndrome. As it turns out Syndrome was actually Mr Incredibles biggest fan until he attempted to become his sidekick. During this attempt Buddy Pine, Syndrome, inadvertently lets a super villain escape. Mr Incredible is not happy with Buddy and tells the cops to take him home to his mother as "he works alone". Again this is a common trope in comic books as the hero creates his own nemesis.

It is also worth a mention that Syndrome represents you dear reader. Yes, he is a representative of the comic fan boy culture. Perhaps not as biting as Superboy Prime but certainly there is some meta-textual comment on comic fandom in general to be observed.

From there Helen discovers that Bob has been leading a double life and sets out to find Bob. Unfortunately, the kids stow away on the plane as Helen races towards danger. After being blown out of the sky the rest of the Incredibles have to learn to use there powers after having to hide them from the world for so long.

Once the family is re-united after a number of fight scenes, one of which takes me back to my youth and the speeder bike scene from Return of the Jedi, the family must race back to the city. As Syndrome has launched his robot at the city where once it terrorizes the city for awhile he will race in and save the day. Again we can see the parallels of Syndrome's plans with Ozymandias scheme from the Watchmen.

Now the family has to band together, along with Frozone, to rescue the city and eventually Jack Jack from Syndrome. In the climatic battle scene all of the Incredibles get a chance to show case their talents and they really grow together as a family.

I have to say that his movie has a lot to love. It is visually stunning, the writing is top notch and there are enough in jokes and nods to comic book culture to keep us geeks happy.

Now as I mentioned my 4 year old daughter watched the movie with me. Thank you to the super hero Backyardigans episode for getting my daughter interested in this movie. Now she loved it as well but I had to explain why the good guys could hit the bad guys as it is not nice to hit.

If you are looking for a movie to placate your comic book addiction then you can't go wrong with The Incredibles!

Hey Simon! Jeremie loves that movie too, but I have to admit his all-time favorite is _Cars_. Isn't there a sequel to _The Incredibles_ in the making?

-- Posted by: Alexandre Lemieux at October 3, 2008 9:37 PM

Nope, no plans for Incredibles 2 yet. However they've just recently released some pre-production work from the first film. I hope this means they are testing the waters to see if there is fan interest.

-- Posted by: Simon MacDonald at October 5, 2008 2:24 PM

Hey, I just found out the Boom! Studios will be putting out an Incredibles book soon. It hasn't been listed in previews yet but keep your eyes open.

-- Posted by: Simon MacDonald at October 8, 2008 4:42 PM