Fourteen years is a long to time wait for something to return. Heck, 14 minutes can be a long time to wait for anything. But in regards to the 2004’s highly successful The Incredibles, the long wait for a sequel is worth it. We can certainly apply here the notion that good things come to those who wait because there’s a good chance that not only is Incredibles 2 (again written and directed by Brad Bird) incredible, but it may be better than the original.

Incredibles 2 “sees” the return of Craig T. Nelson (as Bob Parr / Mr. Incredible), Holly Hunter (Helen Parr / Elastigirl), Sarah Vowell (Violet Parr), Samuel L. Jackson (Lucius Best / Frozone), and Bird smartly continues to focus on the Parr family. They are struggling because of a law banning superheroes – in addition they were unsuccessful in preventing the Underminer (John Ratzenberger) from robbing Metroville Bank. With this failure only supporting the superhero ban, the Parrs are facing the reality they will have to live their lives as their alter egos.

But an opportunity arises in the form of Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), the uber-rich owner of Devtech and a huge fan of superheroes. He and his tech-savvy sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) want to pull a publicity stunt to win favor and legal acceptance for superheroes, and they want Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone to anchor that movement. Winston wants to be low key to start and decides Elastigirl is the perfect superhero to ease superheroism back into acceptance. That means Mr. Incredible and Frozone will sit the bench for the time being, and scarier than fighting bad guys is Bob’s formidable task of taking care of his children –Violet, Dash (Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile).

Besides being a dazzling animated superhero film, Incredibles 2 bears a faint resemblance to 1983’s Mr. Mom. While Helen is out working (and doing a great job of superheroing, by the way), Bob is home trying to figure out the new math that Dash struggling with, and he also has to worry about the mood swings of a typical teenage girl in Violet. And Jack-Jack is beginning to learn about himself. Being the offspring of superheroes, that means in addition to learning how to walk and talk, Jack-Jack learns of his special abilities. Of course, with Jack-Jack being so young, actually controlling those abilities is a futile task, so Bob’s efforts to reel in his precocious infant and his behavior proves to be difficult and hilarious.

An inside look at the Parrs' homelife is one of many tropes which spit in the face of superhero films, and that is both excellent and necessary. We have to keep in mind that when The Incredibles was released superhero films weren’t the standard, wasn’t a box office behemoth, and wasn’t the pop culture icon it is today. That is a challenge Bird acknowledged, and thus Incredibles 2 was an opportunity to buck convention and reset a little.

Bird didn’t start completely from scratch – he borrowed elements from previous releases and molded them to fit this franchise. Besides the Mr. Mom angle, there are elements of X-Men and their main storyline, and in relation to Incredibles 2’s main villain, some of the Age of Ultron storyline makes its way in. But Bird knew that this franchise’s success rested upon the shoulders of the Parrs, and he always circled back to them. Audiences love the Parrs, and they will love Jack-Jack the most – the fact that they are identifiable as a family is as appealing as their super-abilities.

Another aspect that makes Incredible 2 such a winner is the undeniable fact that this film is gorgeous. Pixar has always been at the top of the list when it comes to quality of animation, but they outdid themselves. There are points when the animation looks life-like. Disney and Pixar made sure that audiences saw that by showing clips from live action and animated television programs. The establishing shots give Incredibles 2 a modern-throwback feel – it looks and feels like these events place in the 1950’s but it doesn’t look or feel outdated. In other words, it’s old school nostalgia displayed through a new-school lens.

Incredibles 2 is a must-see. It is entertaining, funny and light (but with a serious side) and it highlights the importance of family. Brad Bird’s latest also quietly preaches a message of tolerance and acceptance of people from all walks of life. It will appeal to viewers of all ages and, simply put, is one of the best films of 2018.

5 stars out of 5

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