#2. The Incredibles (2004)
(down one spot from previous ranking)
Even after a decade of Marvel releases, Brad Bird’s The Incredibles remains the greatest superhero movie ever made.
This tale of a family of “supers” forced to live underground by a government that doesn’t appreciate them is just as thrilling and inventive 16 years after its release as it was the day it came out. And the marital and family dynamics that set it apart from typical action fare are just as resonant.
This movie is filled with expertly constructed set pieces. My two favorites are the airplane attack that forces Elastigirl to parachute her children to safety and the forest chase that climaxes with Dash realizing he can run on water. Bird’s command of emotion, character, visuals, sound and music in those segments is simply breathtaking.
He nails the more mundane moments as well, depicting Bob Parr’s 9-to-5 as a soul-sucking morass, and staging spousal fights that have as much suspense as the shootouts.
Another stroke of genius by Bird was setting The Incredibles in the early 60s, allowing him to make use of a gorgeous art deco aesthetic. Pixar’s animation would improve, but they’ve never made a more stylish film than this one.
For years I’ve counted The Incredibles as my favorite Pixar film, and I can readily support that argument. On this rewatch, I ended up shifting things a little bit, not because of any deficiencies in this film — it has none — but because my affection has only grown for the film I’ll write about tomorrow.