In “But How Gay Is It?”, we seek to answer the biggest questions you have about a new movie release in theaters now — including, most crucially, the titular question. Does the movie have any queer characters? Are there stories involving same-sex lovers? Which gay icons star in the film? We’re bringing you all that and more.
What is The Incredibles 2? It only took 14 short years, but The Incredibles finally has a sequel. Yes, I know, Pixar sequels are almost always worse than the original films (unless the series is called Toy Story), but this is a rare opportunity. The Incredibles was mostly an origin story, with a world that promised much, much more. The Incredibles 2 is director Brad Bird’s chance to play in that world more.
For this outing, family matriarch Elastigirl gets the focus. She becomes the face of a campaign to legitimize and legalize superheroes. Meanwhile, Mr. Incredible becomes Mr. Father, staying home with the kids while Mom is off saving people. It’s an interesting role reversal from the first movie, and involves a lot of dad-and-kids hijinks.
Who’s in it? Holly Hunter reprises her role as Elastigirl, all grit-and-growl in her voice. Craig T. Nelson also returns to voice Mr. Incredible once more, as does Samuel L. Jackson as family friend Frozone. Bird himself once again voices super gadget and fashion designer Edna Mode. Joining the cast this time are Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener as the Deavors, Elastigirl’s wealthy benefactors who want to see the return of superheroes. Isabella Rossellini deliciously drops in as a fan of Elastigirl’s, too.
Why should I see it? Did you like the first one? Good! You’ll like this one. It’s definitely skewed a bit younger in some ways than the first, but it’s still Pixar. Plenty for the adult fans as well as the kids.
But how gay is it? It is not, which is unsurprising. Unless you count the mere presence of iconic queens Holly Hunter, Isabella Rossellini, and Catherine Keener as gay. (I do not.)
Do you think we’ll ever see a clearly, canonically gay character in a Pixar movie? Sure! Listen, if this Pride month is teaching us anything, it’s that companies absolutely want gay dollars. I was at LA Pride just last weekend, and Disney was out in force. They know the score.
Of course, the counterargument to that is that Disney keeps letting opportunities fly by: not making Elsa explicitly queer in Frozen, not leaning into the homoeroticism of Captain America and Bucky Barnes’ connection in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, etc. My guess (and this is pure conjecture) is that they want to do their first big gay character in flashy fashion, and earn a ton of goodwill in the process. Tiptoeing out of the closet doesn’t seem like Disney’s style. Once that happens, I’d imagine we’ll get a lot more gay characters in movies across all their properties, including Pixar.
Is Edna Mode actually an animated drag act? Because Bird voices her? Bit of a stretch there. Is Bart Simpson a drag king because he’s voiced by Nancy Cartwright? Nah. If there’s any real animated drag act, it’s Ursula. (Fun fact: Ursula was inspired by Divine!)
Did you ask yourself that last question just so you could talk about Ursula? Maybe so.
The Incredibles 2 is in theaters now.