We've Seen 35 Minutes Of 'Incredibles 2': This Family Of Superheroes Has Never Been Better

The Incredibles hit theaters all the way back in 2004, and it was easily the most sophisticated and involved animated adventure that Pixar Animation had brought to the big screen yet. The film arrived at a time when the superhero film genre was still figuring itself out, with hits coming from the X-Men and Spider-Man franchises and complete disasters arriving in the form of Daredevil and Catwoman.

Since then, superhero movies have exploded, largely thanks to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and fans have come to expect something special to help a movie stand out from the rest of the pack. So 14 years later, what exactly sets Incredibles 2 apart from all the rest of the superhero entertainment out there? The answer is simply the magic of Pixar and the beating heart of a family that everyone can easily feel connected to, even when they have superpowers.

A few weeks ago, /Film was invited to the campus of Pixar Animation in Emeryville, California for an exclusive sneak peek at Incredibles 2. We were shown the first 22 minutes of the animated sequel, as well as another 13 minutes of other moments from the rest of the movie. So how does the Pixar sequel stack up to the beloved original? Find out in our Incredibles 2 footage reaction below, but beware that we talk about the events that unfold in the first act of the movie, so there might be spoilery details you want to avoid.

Picking Up Where We Left Off, from a New Perspective

Incredibles 2 picks up exactly where the first film left off. The villain calling himself The Underminer (Pixar's good luck charm, John Ratzenberger) just broke through the ground of a parking lot in Municiberg as Bob (Craig T. Nelson), Helen (Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (now voiced by Huck Milner) and Jack-Jack were heading back to their car after Dash's school track meet. However, instead of joining the family just as they're throwing on their masks to do battle with this ground-dwelling villain, we get this sequence from a different perspective.

Remember Tony Rydinger? He's the boy at Violet's school who she previously watched from behind her hair. But with a newfound confidence, she had just set up a movie date with him at Dash's track meet. Rydinger is being interrogated by Rick Dicker (now voiced by Jonathan Banks), the man in charge of the superhero relocation program to find out what he saw and what he knows.

Tony is among the crowd of terrified Municberg citizens when Underminer shows up, but he's also surprised by the appearance of The Incredibles. Remember, supers are still illegal and no one had seen superheroes in years until Syndrome showed up with his robot that ran amok, forcing The Incredibles to do what they do best and save the city. Nothing has changed in the short time period between that confrontation and the final scene of the original movie. The Incredibles are putting themselves at great personal risk to be heroes and save Municiberg.

Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl jump into action and they leave Violet and Dash behind to babysit Jack-Jack and keep the people of Municiberg away from danger. Tony is hiding and trying to stay safe when he hears Violet arguing with Dash, about being stuck with their baby brother (who they believe doesn't have powers yet), he recognizes that voice. And his suspicions are confirmed when Violet throws off her mask in anger, revealing her secret identity.

But Rick Dicker isn't worried, because he has a mind erasing device (something mentioned only fleetingly in The Incredibles when Bob throws his boss through a bunch of walls at his insurance company), and he's about to make Tony forget everything. What about his date with Violet? It remains to be seen how/if Tony and Violet will reconnect, but there's probably hope for them, perhaps meeting for the first time all over again.

The Incredibles Have Never Looked Better

Even though The Incredibles are at great risk by coming out as superheroes again, they have no hesitation about trying to save their fellow citizens. And with 14 years of advancements in computer animation, the city of Municiberg and the actions of this superhero family look positively astounding. If you go back and look at The Incredibles, the animation feels like it's still a couple renders from being ready for the big screen. But that's just how much animation has advanced in 14 years.

The action sequences in The Incredibles were amazing at the time. They were fast-paced and stretched across huge, expansive environments. Incredibles 2 follows suit, but is even more sophisticated. The intricacies and details of the sequence in which the family of supers, and their icy buddy Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson), try to stop Underminer from wreaking havoc on the city and robbing the bank of Municiberg are leaps and bounds more impressive than the original. However, Pixar eases us into this shift in quality by holding back what they're capable of today in the earlier scenes and gradually ramping things up to their full potential today.

The meticulously detailed environments and props, the richer textures of clothing, the more natural flow of hair, the additional versatility of facial expressions, blemishes, wrinkles and much more are simply mesmerizing. Meanwhile, amidst all the action of The Incredibles trying to stop Underminer, the chaos and destruction through the city looks more photorealistic than ever. Crumbling infrastructure, explosions, Frozone's crystallized ice blasts and waves and more feel as realistic as they can in an exaggerated animated world inspired by mid-century comic book aesthetics.

Besides that, the sequence is just pure entertainment. Dash and Violet each try to pass off Jack-Jack to the other while using their superpowers to help their parents and keep people out of harm's way. The family dynamic that made these characters working together so much fun in the first movie hasn't lost a step, and families will have no problem seeing themselves in these playful family squabbles.

Family First, Heroics Second

This opening sequence is infinitely more entertaining than dozens of blockbuster movies featuring much more complicated setpieces. However, it's the way this family of superheroes bickers while working together to achieve a common goal that is exactly what makes this the great Fantastic Four movie we never go. In this sequence, it's spectacular and thoroughly satisfying. But even after this initial action sequence is done, it's the continued interaction between this family that keeps the movie engaging, even as things get a little verbose once the plot of the sequel gets underway.

You see, despite all their exciting heroics, The Underminer actually gets away. And a good chunk of the city has been destroyed, even though The Incredibles were able to stop the Underminer's drill vehicle before it smashed into City Hall. The bad news is that Rick Dicker and the superhero location program apparently can't do anything in the aftermath of this debacle this time. The program is being shut down, and they can't even afford to give the Parr family a new house after Syndrome's jet dropped on it and blew it up. That leaves the Parr family stuck slumming it in a tropical-themed motel for a little while.

The family dynamic that we see play out in the scenes that follow their superheroics is what makes this series stand out from the rest of the superhero movies charging into theaters each year. We got a taste of this in the opening moments of the most recently released trailer, with the family enjoying some Chinese takeout. Dash is grossed out by the abundance of vegetables in one container, Violet harasses Dash about not washing his hands, and both kids just want to talk about what just happened and the predicament they're now stuck in. It's the kind of back and forth that all families have had at the dinner table, but the family is about to have a new topic to talk about at dinner...

Bringing Back Supers to the Public Eye

Frozone managed to get away from the chaos in downtown Municiberg instead of being arrested along with the rest of the Parr family. While trying to make a clean getaway, he was contacted by the associate of a certain businessman who wanted to talk with him about superhero stuff. Enter new character Winston Deavor, voiced by Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad star Bob Odenkirk.

Winston Deavor brings Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone into the sleek, skyscraper headquarters of his company Devtech. He has a plan to get supers back in a favorable light with the public by making sure they see their heroics in action. He believes the problem with the events that happened downtown is that everyone was too busy running and hiding from the scene that no one was actually able to witness them doing their best to save the city.

Deavor's plan to change that is by equipping a certain hero with a camera so that the public can see all the action from their perspective. Perhaps there's something to be said about accountability, maybe some social commentary on the use of bodycams for police officers. But there was no indication that was the case in any of the scenes we saw. Instead, Deavor wants footage that makes the evening news and gets people excited about supers again. But why?

Well, Deavor had a father who grew up idolizing and supporting the supers. His father even had a plan in place that allowed him to directly call several classic supers in order to bring them into action. But after superheroes were declared illegal, those heroes didn't pick up their phones, and his father ended up being killed by a group of robbers breaking into his house. That sounds like some possible motivation to punish superheroes with some kind of villainous plot. That especially feels like the case when Winston and his sister Evelyn Deavor have some kind of quick disagreement about the events of that night and how their father might have prevented himself from being killed. But that's the only insight we have into these characters' backgrounds.

Elastigirl is Making the Bacon

Instead of bringing back Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone, the plan is to only start with one hero on the streets helping to raise the profile of supers. After crunching some numbers, it's determined that Elastigirl is the least risky of the three to put back on the streets. She doesn't cause as much destruction and she still gets the job done. That creates a little bit of disappointment for Bob, but it also gives him some motivation to being a strong man of the house at home. Because if he can take care of the kids without having to worry Helen, then she can do her job, and they can all be supers again.

Putting Elastigirl at the center of this movie changes the game. While the focus on Mr. Incredible in the first film gave us plenty of smash and crash action, here the superheroics are a little more creative. Elastigirl has an updated version of a special motorcycle that she apparently cruised around in during the glory days. We, the audience, have never seen it before, but it's treated as an updated piece of tech based on something Helen used to have. And that makes her use of the bike that much more exciting during a certain sequence that comes later in the movie.

We'll have a more detailed breakdown of this scene in another post later this week, but let's just say that the way Elastigirl uses this bike in an extensive chase sequence involving a runaway levitating monorail, combined with her elastic superpowers, makes for one of the coolest sequences from any superhero movie we've ever seen.

Holding Down the New Family Fort

Meanwhile, Bob is tasked with taking care of the kids at home. The trailers we've seen so far have already shown how Bob is struggling with being a stay-at-home father. Not only is taking care of a baby with superpowers exhausting (yes, the family finds out), but Violet appears to be dealing with a new level of teenage angst, likely tied to her lack of a relationship with Tony Rydinger, while Dash is a little energetic ball of fire who creates stress for Bob simply by needing help with his homework.

Thankfully, the Parr family has a fancy new house to make life a little easier on them. Winston Deavor is putting them up as part of his deal to work with Elastigirl, and this house is on the same level as a state-of-the-art James Bond-style house. Originally, production designer Ralph Eggleston and his team had a house that was a little more quaint all set up and ready for the movie. But they ended up throwing the entire design away in favor of something much larger and technologically advanced. Thankfully, their animation software allowed them to easily transfer some of the animation and virtual camera movements they were already working on and bring them over to the new house without having to completely start everything over from scratch.

The home was actually designed to look like a rocket blasting off from the ground at an angle. The pointed roof is the front of the rocket while the trees and shrubbery look like the exhaust and smoke that blasts out of it from the back. It's a 38,000 square foot virtual space (compared to the previous 2,300 square foot space of the scrapped design) with open-flowing water running throughout the house like some kind of indoor river. Meanwhile, there are shifting floors revealing stylish mid-century furniture and accents, plenty of futuristic gadgets, a pool, and a gorgeous view of the city. It might be a nice place to live, but is it really a suitable home for the Parr family? That remains to be seen.

Final Thoughts

Judging by the footage shown to us at Pixar Animation, this is exactly the kind of sequel fans have wanted to see for years. This doesn't feel like a cash grab sequel, especially since it's been 14 years since the first film came out anyway. Instead, it feels like the natural continuation of a story that always felt like there was more to be told, even beyond the obvious cliffhanger from the first movie. Pixar has improved upon their remarkable first film in every way, including the evolution of the all-important family dynamic at the center of this stylish adventure.

If there's one issue I had after screening all this new footage, it's that following the opening action sequence involving the Underminer, there seems to be an awful lot of verbose exposition and character work. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing for patient moviegoers, but there was one instance where I thought to myself that Pixar's target kids might get bored during the 10 or so minutes of story set-up that following the opening heroics. Then again, in my recent rewatch of The Incredibles, I realized that there's almost just as much similar, purposeful set-up after the opening action of the original movie, too.

Even after seeing 35 minutes of the movie, as well as some revealing pieces of concept art in the halls of Pixar, it's clear that director Brad Bird is still playing plenty of things close to the vest. There are still details about the villain's plot that are unclear (though we'll help clear that up with an article coming later today), threads that still need to be connected, and nearly 90 more minutes of the movie that we've yet to see.

Brad Bird himself commented on the various topics that the movie tackles throughout, such as, "exploring the roles of men and women; the importance of fathers participating; the importance of allowing women to express themselves through work and that they're just as vital as men are. There are aspects of being controlled by screens. There are feelings about the difficulties of parenthood, that parenting is a heroic act. All those things are in this movie."

Based on this sneak peek, Incredibles 2 should be a worthy successor to Pixar's beloved superhero adventure, and it will bring plenty to the table that even the highly anticipated Avengers: Infinity War won't deliver when it arrives a month and a half beforehand.