June 27th, 2018
At the end of The Incredibles, fourteen years ago (!), the Parr family--basically an animated version of the Fantastic Four--defied a ban on superheroes. The movie ended on a cliffhanger with the appearance of a new villain, the Underminer, and they went into action against him.
That was one long cliffhanger. So long that the voice actor who plays Dash Parr had to be replaced, because he grew up.
The family that plays together ... should probably have good insurance.
The beginning of Incredibles 2 picks up right where the original left off, and in the resulting battle against the deep tunneling bank robber, half the city gets damaged. Unfortunately, supers are still outlawed, so Bob and Helen Parr and their three kids are rewarded for their heroic acts with arrest and looming homelessness. But just as they hit bottom, the family is rescued by a wealthy brother and sister duo who, due to tragedy in their past, are determined to make supers heroes again.
Incredibles 2 is fantastically animated as a 60s spy adventure, only with James Bond sidelined while his wife Elastigirl--because she tested better for the PR people--is let loose to prove the worth of supers. Scored with style by Michael Giacchino, it looks a lot like how people in the 50s probably envisioned the 70s would appear, with sleek homes and round TVs. As Elastigirl, and later the rest of her family, tries to figure out who's sabotaging her efforts, we get some smashing action sequences.
But all good stories are about people, of course. Elastigirl is at heart Helen Parr (Holly Hunter), who isn't really comfortable leaving her family to fend for themselves, even though she's having a blast. (She also provides the heart of the movie.) Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson), Mr. Incredible to everyone else, struggles hard--and comically--to be a stay at home dad and to keep his wife from finding out how badly he's failing at it.
"I'm off to work ... don't wait up."
Meanwhile their daughter Violet faces a rough first date, baby Jack-Jack has suddenly begun developing powers of his own--a lot of them--and Dash is ... well, Dash is an adolescent who can move at super speed, like most adolescent boys. Although aided by family friend and fellow super Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson), Bob has his work cut out for him.
Incredibles 2 is a delight, the exact combo of fun and funny that makes you want to grab the kids or grand-kids so you have an excuse to watch it yourself. (The grand-kids had fun, too.) Just beware that in the course of his dastardly deeds, the villain Screenslaver unleashes some strobing visual effects that could trigger seizures in those so inclined.
"New math? Can't I just take on Dr. Doom, instead?"
The other warning I might give is that there are going to be kids at the theater, and kids will be kids. If you don't have the patience for that you'll find Incredibles 2 just as good when it reaches the small screen, although the visuals won't be as cool.
Entertainment value: 4 out of 4 M&Ms. There's an encounter between Jack-Jack and a raccoon that's honestly worth the price of admission, all by itself.
Oscar potential: 3 out of 4 M&Ms. Best score? Best animation? Best fun?