Fourteen years in the making, Incredibles 2 finally premiered in theaters. Fans have been languishing for a chance to see what happens next for the incredible Parr family since 2004. After officially becoming a crime-fighting family, we left them before a big fight with a new foe, The Underminer. Of course people were excited for a sequel.
But how was this long-awaited sequel, beyond the hype?
Raw opinion: Pretty darn good.
Incredibles 2 knows what its good at. While the plot was predictable and had another Disney twist villain (please stop with the twist villains, sincerely me), its family dynamics and relationships were beautifully well-done. The characters hit all the right notes and managed to be memorably unique while also relatable to each age group they belonged to. The way the family works within itself is realistic, heartwarming, and impressively well-written. The writing and characters make up for the uninspired plot, easily.
Seems like an easy A for Walt Disney Studios, but the Incredibles 2 situation is a little more complex than that. While the film itself is good, there is a looming monster right behind it.
The real issue with the film is its aggressive, possessive adult fans.
Weeks before its release, it was fairly common to see troubling fandom memes on the web. The most common read something like, “No rowdy kids. Incredibles 2 is made for ADULTS.” Eye-rolling enough as a stand-alone statement, if similar things hadn’t occurred for Toy Story 3 and other recent Pixar releases. The adult fandom seems to have possessively claimed these children’s films as properties made for them, just because they grew up with them.
As someone who loves old school Disney’s Sword in the Stone, would have sucked if my mom claimed it was hers so I couldn’t watch it. Would have much less “To and Fro” in my life.
Fandoms have been a fun, connective part of the growing internet. Yet, it seems to connect the nostalgia in people to an almost all-consuming, toxic level. At first, it flared more reboots then ever before. Now, it helps collect this wave of connecting one’s identity to the things they love, and egregiously so. Its not bad to care a lot about being a Naruto fan. But beat a “normie” or excited child with a plastic shuriken for being in front of you in line at comic-con, and we have a problem.
Even stranger, in the theater I visited, all the children were quiet and respectful. Any that weren’t were quickly and calmly shuffled out by their parents. The adults, however? There were several 20+-year-olds being rudely loud and/or being swept up in small callback jokes and rambunctiously laughing over later dialogue, disrupting other theater-goers. It’s doubtful some of the kids nearby could hear over that.
Too many posts are highly exclusive and possessive: “ONLY 90’s kids know” and complaints that ““insert thing here” is ruining my childhood”. Its to the point that, like the meme says, people are saying kid’s films aren’t for kids. That’s where things go from annoying and rude to objectively false.
Adults can fully enjoy kid’s movies, I love quite a few myself, but my exact complaints with the film’s story construct exist because they are for kids. Kids don’t need winding, confusing plots with overly complex villains and weird, other-worldly concepts. They need stories that focus on teaching them one complex topic and then making that a fun, beloved experience for them. I hate twist-villains, but it does readily show kids that things that seem too good to be true sometimes are. And the gains of the film, great characters that have real talks on family relationships? Perfect. Every kid should learn more about how complex families can be but how using each others’ strengths and openly caring for one another can save any day.
What these adults are doing right now is gate-keeping. It’s used on gamer girls, on film fans, on comic book newbies, and more. Gate-keeping is a toxic tool that only seeks to divide people and is one of the worst parts of fandoms and geek culture.
While the communities have grown far larger than ever, it’s like the people who have been there the longest, have spent the most hours on things, etc., feel like they deserve content more than other fans. Passion and fanaticism for beloved properties is understandable, but asking others to sit out because you’re a better Disney/Gamer/Star Wars/whatever fan than them is rude and one of the worst aspects of nerdy culture in recent years. Its something the community needs to get over to become the booming success its content, artwork, and properties deserve to be.
Everybody’s a newbie at some point. And the more fans a property has, the longer it has to live as a beloved staple of culture. If you love something, why not be excited it has the chance to live for a long, long time?
Also, just let kids see kids movies, no adult whining included. Damn.