Incredibles 2 ***

It’s not “incredible,” but it is a worthy sequel you will enjoy.

Is it worth $10? Yes

“Incredibles 2” has outstanding action sequences, charming humor, and a nice message. It also showcases crisp animation in addition to the whimsy, wonder and warmth that pervades all of Pixar Animation’s productions. It is as enjoyable a crowd pleaser as they come, great for the whole family and an ideal summer “school’s out” escape.

Fans of “The Incredibles” (2004) will recall the film ends with the super-powered Incredibles family on its way to the rescue after “The Underminer” starts wreaking havoc in the city. “Incredibles 2” picks up right there, with Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), teenager Violet (Sarah Vowell), youngster Dash (Huck Milner), and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) as well as friend Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) saving the day.

Things go…okay. A lot of damage occurs, and given that superheroes are still banned, the destruction doesn’t win them any fans. Enter tech guru Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener), who equip the family with body cams so people can see all the good they do. Small thing, though: The Deavors want Elastigirl to handle the first mission alone, leaving macho Mr. Incredible to stay home with the kids. Needless to say, it takes more than superhero strength to comfort an emotional teenage girl, help your son with math homework and get your baby to sleep.

Two things follow: Riveting action as Elastigirl attempts to stop a runaway train and embarks upon a daring helicopter rescue, and Mr. Incredible struggles as Mr. Mom. Or put another way: While the woman/mother is out saving the day, the man/husband can’t keep up with the kids at home. The only reason this raises the eyes is that it’s a story departure from the 2004 original, and in being so feels notably “female empowerment 2018.” It works narratively and at no point does the story struggle, but it’s nonetheless interesting to see the leading animation company in the business so consciously modern and aware.

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This also must be said: Brad Bird is a heckuva director. The first “Incredibles” and “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” were terrific (we forgive him for George Clooney’s “Tomorrowland”), and now he has tremendous success again with “Incredibles 2.” He also made “Ratatouille” and “The Iron Giant,” two very respectable movies in their own right. There aren’t many people working today with the boldness and imagination to concoct such fantastical stories, and also the technical skill and craftsmanship to execute these visions in a stellar way. He already has two Oscars (for “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille”), and if he keeps this up more are in his future.

“Incredibles 2” is Pixar’s 20th feature film, and it’s remarkable that the animation powerhouse has rarely had a misstep since “Toy Story” captured our hearts in 1995. “Incredibles” is also the fifth Pixar property to get the prequel/sequel treatment, and although this film may not be among the studio’s best, it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take another 14 years for “Incredibles 3.”  

Did you know?
The next Pixar release will be “Toy Story 4” in June 2019.

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