[Pixar Countdown Reviews] ‘The Incredibles’ is an Revitalizing, Original Spin on an Otherwise Tired Genre

Welcome back to Pixar Countdown Reviews, which we take a look at and review all seventeen theatrical Pixar films every Friday leading up to the release of Pixar’s Cars 3 this summer. Take a look back at some of our previous entries and stay tuned every Friday as we cover all of Pixar’s incredible films. 

When The Incredibles was first released back in 2004, superhero films were released nearly as frequently as they are now. So, with this huge boom in superhero films going on, is there still a place for The Incredibles? The answer to that is a resounding yes, as this film has only gotten better and better over time. With superhero films now becoming something of a tired, overused genre, The Incredibles is still a real breath of fresh air to this day, bringing an original spin to the genre, along with an emotional core as strong as Mr. Incredible himself.

The Incredibles is a film that, on top of its action-packed scenes, is a really emotional story that explores the consequences superheroes must face and how it can affect them as characters. This emotion is something you almost never see in superhero films, but leave it to Pixar to take a genre mostly focused on action and turning it into an emotional tearjerker.

The characters are unique and very well developed. Our main characters each have their own unique superpowers which reflect their personalities. For example, Violet can turn invisible, which reflects her introverted, shy personality. This is a brilliant idea because it gives them so much more character. One of the biggest problems in superhero films is that the characters are really generic, with their superpowers being the only thing that’s unique about them. But to actually have a character’s superpowers reflect them as a character? That is absolutely perfect and brings a whole new level of depth to not just the characters, but the film itself.

Every member of the Parr family also has their own character arc, but it’s all related to the theme of growth. While they each have their own issues to deal with, they still grow from them and do so together. This creates a really strong family dynamic. You can tell they have a very deep, realistic connection, showing that even though they’re superheroes, they’re still an average family at heart.

The animation in this film was very revolutionary for its time. It seems like every single Pixar film has raised the bar of what animation can do significantly. Here, it was designing computer animated human character models, which was actually really difficult to pull off back in 2004. The animation shows absolutely no signs of age and still looks great.

The directing in this film is spectacular. The entire film, especially the action scenes, are incredibly well shot. Brad Bird, who needs no introduction but for those of you who don’t know also directed The Iron Giant and Ratatouille, really gets to show off his skills in creating an epic scope, with action scenes that are paced perfectly, making them all the more exciting and fun to watch.

Syndrome is an amazing villain with a solid origin, originally being Mr. Incredible’s biggest fan and turning evil years later after he was shunned by Mr. Incredible. What I find so amazing about this is how you at first sympathize with him, but as soon as he becomes Syndrome, you instantly hate him, showing the character’s growth and development from him being a naive follower of his favourite superhero, to becoming quite the opposite and wanting to destroy him and his family. It’s executed perfectly in the context of the story, creating a strong, menacing villain, and one of my favourite supervillain origin stories.

The score is also great. It is the first Pixar film to have a score that isn’t composed by someone in the Newman family. Instead, it is composed by Michael Giacchino, who will also soon become a Pixar score regular. Here he composes a score that perfectly captures the film’s action-packed tone, helping crank the excitement level up into overdrive.

The Incredibles not only makes the superhero genre feel new again, especially when watching today, but is also, simply put, a masterpiece in cinema and animation. Only Pixar can take this kind of genre and turn it into something truly special, heartwarming and exciting.

Film Grade: A+

Pixar Countdown Reviews returns next week with a review of Cars.