[Screen It]


(2018) (voices of Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson) (PG)

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Computer-Animated Action/Adventure: After once again being forced out of operation and their activities deemed unlawful, a family of superheroes break the rules and step into action to take on a new villain.
Despite saving Metroville from a bank robber villain known as the Underminer, the collateral damage caused by the Parr family -- Bob, a.k.a. Mr. Incredible (voice of CRAIG T. NELSON), and his wife Helen, a.k.a. Elastigirl (voice of HOLLY HUNTER) -- has once again put superheroes in a negative light. As a result, their special program is shut down and superhero activity in general is now deemed illegal. Facing potential homelessness and the need to get a job to prevent that, they agree to an offer made by telecom tycoon Winston Deavor (voice of BOB ODENKIRK). He's a big fan of theirs and wants to change the public perception of their kind, and thus hires Elastigirl to become the positive face of superheroes.

Using tech developed by his sister, Evelyn (voice of CATHERINE KEENER), Elastigirl sets out to do just that. All of which leaves Mr. Incredible at home to tend to their three kids. There's Violet (voice of SARAH VOWELL) who's sweet on fellow teen classmate Tony (voice of MICHAEL BIRD) but doesn't realize his memories of her have been erased to protect her identity; the rambunctious Dash (voice of HUCK MILNER) who can speed around at an insanely fast speeds but needs help with his math homework; and toddler Jack-Jack (sounds by ELI FACILIE) who's starting to exhibit his own and quite varied superhero powers.

Much to the chagrin of costume designer Edna (voice of BRAD BIRD) who fashioned their earlier superhero suits, Elastigirl now wears one created by Evelyn and manages to save a commuter monorail from a devious plan concocted by a new villain known as the Screenslaver who can put others under mind control. While Mr. Incredible is off to help his wife, their friend and fellow superhero, Lucius, a.k.a. Frozone (voice of SAMUEL L. JACKSON), tries to save the kids from a variety of other superheroes who are under Screenslaver's control. But with him falling prey to that just like their parents, it's up to the kids to save the day.

OUR TAKE: 7 out of 10
Back when I was growing up, the common saying for kids who idolized famous people was "they put on their pants just like everybody else...one leg at a time." That was obviously meant to impart that no matter how rich or popular one might be they're still human when it comes to basic issues of living, albeit with the added benefits and pitfalls of being a celebrity to one degree or another.

Nowadays, for reasons unknown and without any desire on my part to discover its origin, the replacement phrase has seemingly become "[insert the person's profession], they're just like us" (resulting in "Pro football players, they're just like us" and "Movie stars, they're just like us").

Your choice of either phrase can certainly be applied to the main cast of characters in "Incredibles 2," the long-awaited and clearly entertaining and satisfying sequel to the 2004 hit Pixar film, "The Incredibles." Taking up as if those fourteen years never happened, the story resumes from where the ending of the earlier film left off, with the Parr family -- Bob, a.k.a. Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), Helen, a.k.a. Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner) Jack-Jack Parr (sounds by Eli Fucile) -- trying to stop a villain known as the Underminer from literally screwing over the city in a monstrous drilling ship.

They succeed, but not before damage has been done, and thus their superhero program is shut down, superheroes in general end up outlawed, and they find themselves facing homelessness if one of the parents doesn't get a job. Fortunately for them, they're approached by tech mogul Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his device creator/developer sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener). They want to generate good PR for superheroes and thus hire Elastigirl to work for them in regard to building up positive public sentiment.

All of which means that while mom heads off to bring home the bacon, dad ends up forced in "Mr. Mom" mode and must contend with a moody teenage daughter who doesn't understand why her teenage crush, Tony (Michael Bird), suddenly no longer seems interested in her, a younger son whose schoolwork confounds the adult, and a toddler who's constantly teetering about and facing and creating all sorts of potential danger, what with young Jack-Jack being able to catch on fire, shoot laser from his eyes, pass through walls, and hop, skip and jump around via dimensional portals.

Such abilities obviously will come in handy when the family -- to no one's surprise -- must come together to battle a new, mind control villain known as Screenslaver (the identity of which will also come as no surprise to most viewers). But they also present the possibility of humor and comedy throughout, most notably a sequence where Jack-Jack sees a masked robber in an old cops and robbers movie on TV and then spots a suspiciously similarly masked critter out in the backyard. The resultant battle royale -- between the toddler and a determined raccoon -- is easily one of the film's highlights brought to us by returning director Brad Bird who works from his own script.

That, of course, means that like many a Pixar offering this movie will equally appeal to kids and adults with plenty of material to appease both crowds. The youngsters will like all of the zany material and superhero action (including an older, B-level superhero known as Reflux whose power is, well, having stomach acid come up and out like a lava flow). Adults, and especially parents will give a knowing nod (or two or three) to the family issues at play, especially trying to juggle kids in various age groupings and the related challenges that can bring.

Which is good because the flick's only weak spot is with the main villain and their goal. Considering all of the elaborate imagination put into the comedy, parenting drama and all of the retro but high tech looking animation (that looks glorious), the overriding antagonistic elements don't feel particularly creative. That's not a complete knock on what's offered in that regard, but considering how good everything else is, I felt that part of the story should stand out as much or more as the rest.

Nonetheless, this is still an enjoyable and entertaining return ride to what's now a franchise and one that shows, yes, superheroes are just like us, even if they have abilities and gadgets that might put a spin on getting those pants on. "Incredibles 2" rates as a 7 out of 10.

Reviewed June 7, 2018 / Posted June 15, 2018

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