In­cred­i­bles 2 fam­ily-friendly su­per­hero flick

In­cred­i­ble brood is back and turns in a solid out­ing of su­per­hero flyin’ and fightin’

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IN­CRED­I­BLES 2

★★★ out of 5

Cast: Holly Hunter,

Craig T. Nel­son, Cather­ine Keener Direc­tor: Brad Bird

Du­ra­tion: 1h 58m

When we last left the In­cred­i­bles, 14 years ago, the 1960s su­per­hero fam­ily was about to do bat­tle with a villain called the Un­der­miner. In­cred­i­bles 2 picks up at pre­cisely the same point, with the wife and hus­band team of He­len and Bob (voiced by Holly Hunter and Craig T. Nel­son) joined by daugh­ter Vi­o­let (Sarah Vow­ell), son Dash (Huck Mil­ner) and in­fant Jack-jack to bat­tle the Pixar lucky charm that is John Ratzen­berger.

The melee has as lit­tle to do with the larger plot as one of those old Bond movies that found him wrap­ping up an as­sign­ment be­fore the open­ing cred­its. But it il­lus­trates the fact that fight­ing crime is a messy busi­ness, one those in power (reg­u­lar, not su­per) don’t like cleaning up. Or as the film posits, in a mild bit of mod­ern pos­tur­ing: “Politi­cians don’t un­der­stand peo­ple who do good just be­cause it’s right. Makes ’em ner­vous.”

It’s an is­sue the Mar­vel movies have dealt with — hmm, al­most like they’re owned by the same cor­po­rate over­lord — but, this be­ing a chil­dren’s film, the so­lu­tion is sim­pler. With su­per­herodom still il­le­gal, the In­cred­i­bles find a pa­tron in ge­nial tech baron Win­ston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), aided by his in-the-shad­ows in­ven­tor sis­ter Eve­lyn (Cather­ine Keener). His plan is to spin their crime-fight­ing ex­ploits so that peo­ple re­al­ize how valu­able they are.

Since Elasti­girl tends to leave less rub­ble in her wake, she’s cho­sen as the face of the new su­per­hero move­ment. And as luck (if you want to call it that) would have it, a new villain named Screenslaver arises, ap­par­ently in­spired by TV’S The Outer Lim­its.

You could launch into some Au­gus­tinian theod­icy at this point as to whether good­ness cre­ates its own evil, but again — kids’ movie!

It is quite a long kids’ movie, mind you. Add in the adorable eight-minute short Bao by Canadian an­i­ma­tor Domee Shi and you’re al­ready well over the twohour mark. But it isn’t all one head­long rush — there are some nice dis­trac­tions, like a tour of the In­cred­i­bles’ new house, which looks like a Frank Si­na­traHugh Hefner co-pro­duc­tion. Or the in­tro­duc­tion of a bunch of new su­per­heroes with un­usual pow­ers, though sadly none of them reg­is­ters as more than comic re­lief — don’t ex­pect any Mar­vel-style back­story pre­quels to fol­low.

There’s also a nice bit when Jack-jack is babysat by “Aun­tie” Edna Mode, who’s a cross be­tween fash­ion de­signer Edith Head and writer-direc­tor Brad Bird, who voices her. This is to give Bob a break — with Elasti­girl out fight­ing the Screenslaver, Mr. In­cred­i­ble has to stay home and look af­ter the kids. It’s a rol­ere­ver­sal gag that Bird thank­fully doesn’t play too broadly. In fact, by the end of the film the les­son learned by all the In­cred­i­bles is that it takes a fam­ily to raise a fam­ily.

So, not un­like the Fast and Fu­ri­ous fran­chise there.

The film fea­tures a few easy twists and roads-most-taken, in­clud­ing the old villain-in­plain-site cliché that won’t fool any but the youngest or leas­t­at­ten­tive view­ers. And this is prob­a­bly just me, but I yearn to see the out­take where Sa­muel L. Jackson’s Fro­zone char­ac­ter is al­lowed to go full Jackson with his dia­logue.

But it’s still a solid Pixar out­ing. The stu­dio has been re­ly­ing more and more on se­quels of late — the 2000s saw a string of seven orig­i­nal re­leases, but in this decade se­quels have out­num­bered them six-to-four. In­cred­i­bles 2 sur­passes the Cars fol­low-ups and Find­ing Dory, but it’s not up there with Coco or In­side Out.

It is, how­ever, the familyfriendliest su­per­hero movie of the year — or at least un­til Teen Ti­tans Go! opens in six weeks. Sum­mer is al­ways su­per-crowded.

PHO­TOS: DIS­NEY/PIXAR

He­len Parr, cen­tre, voiced by Holly Hunter, is in the spot­light when a new villain hatches a bril­liant and dan­ger­ous plot that only the In­cred­i­bles can over­come together.

Bob Parr, a.k.a. Mr. In­cred­i­ble, at­tempts his most heroic feat yet: spear­head­ing life at home with baby Jack-jack, son Dash and daugh­ter Vi­o­let.

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