Fun fam­ily re­union

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

The Expositor (Brantford) - - ENTERTAINMENT - CHRIS KNIGHT ck­night@ post­media. com

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 kids’ 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 eight­minute short Bao by Cana­dian an­i­ma­tor Domee Shi and you’re al­ready well over the two- hour 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 Sina­tra/ Hugh 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 role- re­ver­sal 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- in- plain- site cliché that won’t fool any but the youngest or least- at­ten­tive 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 fol­lowups and Find­ing Dory, but it’s not up there with Coco or Inside Out. It is, how­ever, the fam­ily- friendli­est su­per­hero movie of the year— or at least un­til Teen Ti­tans Go! opens in six weeks. Sum­mer is al­ways su­per­crowded.

DIS­NEY PIXAR

In Dis­ney Pixar’s In­cred­i­bles 2, He­len ( voice of Holly Hunter) is in the spot­light, while Bob ( voice of Craig T. Nel­son) nav­i­gates the day- to- day heroics of nor­mal life at home when a new vil­lain hatches a bril­liant and dan­ger­ous plot that only the In­cred­i­bles can over­come to­gether. Also fea­tur­ing the voices of Sarah Vow­ell as Vi­o­let and Huck Mil­ner as Dash, In­cred­i­bles 2 opens in U. S. the­aters on Fri­day.

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