The Incredibles are back, but the villain from the first movie, Syndrome, is super-duper not. If you recall, he got sucked into a jet engine turbine in the first film, which means that Incredibles 2 has a brand-new villain. As far a baddies go, the Screenslaver is pretty good, even if he doesn’t quite live up to the bar set by Syndrome, a secret socialist icon. However, your milage may vary on how effective the big twist about the Screenslaver’s identity was.
This post contains major spoilers for Incredibles 2. Read ahead at your own caution.
The Incredibles movies focus first and foremost on the Parr family — that’s what gives them such heart. Because of this, Incredibles 2 doesn’t bring in a giant cast of new characters, as this is still the Parr’s story first and foremost. There are some new Supers, but with the exception of Voyd (Sophia Bush), they’re barely characters. The only truly notable new faces are the brother-sister duo of Winston and Evelyn Deavor, voiced by Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener, respectively.
Winston is a keen businessman who wants to give Supers some good PR to help legalize their heroic exploits again, while his sister is the tech genius behind their massive company. To that end, they employ Elastigirl as the new face of Supers, and she has her hands full thanks to the exploits of a new baddie, the Screenslaver. The masked man can hack any screen and hypnotize the viewer in an instant.
Now, if you’ve seen a movie before, chances are you had some suspicions about Winston and Evelyn, if only because there really aren’t any other options for who the Screenslaver could be? In order for a big reveal to be, well, big, audiences need to recognize the face underneath the mask. If it’s somebody they’ve truly never seen before, then the villain’s identity doesn’t really matter that much, at least not in a dramatic sense.
Here’s a second spoiler warning, because we’re about to reveal the truth.
Although Elastigirl does unmask the Screenslaver to find just that — a random blond man who is literally a pizza-delivery man — that’s not the villain’s true identity. It’s actually been Evelyn this whole time, having invented hypnotizing goggle that allowed her to control the poor sap she framed as the Screenslaver. Evelyn holds a grudge against Supers, feeling that they do harm by causing normal people to rely on them. Her father died, in her opinion, because he waited for help from a Super who never came instead of taking initiative and going into his panic room when burglars broke into his home.
It’s fine motivation for a supervillain, but something about the framing of the whole mystery feels a little small. From the get-go, the Screenslaver had to be Winston and/or Evelyn. The real twist, maybe, is that it’s Evelyn and not Winston, because Winston seems a little slimier at first whereas Evelyn bonds with Elastigirl.
Incredibles 2 is a great flick, and the villain reveal is fine — good, even, because it keeps the film centered on Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, the true emotional core of the film. Maybe this is just what happens when you’ve watched too many movies and are trying to get ahead of a twist that makes logistical sense and will still surprise a good portion of the film’s younger, intended audience.
Incredibles 2 is now in theaters.