Grade: A-/B+
Entire family: Yes
2018, 118 min., Color
Animation
Disney-Pixar
Rated PG for action sequences and some brief mild language
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 widescreen
Featured audio: DTS-HDMA 7.1
Bonus features: B+/A-
Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Code
Trailer
Amazon link

Our family was split over Incredibles 2—but it was more like splitting hairs. My wife and children thought it was every bit as good as the The Incredibles (2004), if not better; I thought it was almost as good. Curiously, that split matched the numbers at Rotten Tomatoes, where critics rated the original 97 percent “fresh” and the sequel 94 percent “fresh”; audiences, meanwhile, gave the original a 75 percent “fresh” rating and the sequel an 87 percent “fresh” rating.

As I said, curious, isn’t it? Could it be because critics place more weight on originality?

Whatever the reason, the big takeaway here is that if you liked The Incredibles you won’t be disappointed by the sequel.

In the original film, “Supers” had been sued so much for collateral damage caused by their heroics that the government developed a Superhero Relocation Program to set them up with mundane new lives and identities. But Bob (aka Mr. Incredible) gets an anonymous tip about an invasive robot, and he secretly breaks the rules by battling it on a remote island. That exhilarates him, but when he goes to a superhero costumer to get his suit, the costumer makes suits for the whole family. As the plot unfolds, his wife Helen (Elastigirl) gets in on the action and they eventually battle the villain Syndrome—a former fan Mr. Incredible had refused to make his sidekick.

The sequel begins where the original left off—with a menacing new supervillain who calls himself the Underminer (John Ratzenberger) driving a gigantic mining drill through the city, wreaking havoc. Only this time, it isn’t just Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl. Joining the team are their super children: Sarah Vowell reprises her role as Violet (who can turn invisible and create force fields), while this time Huckleberry Milner gives voice to Dash (a quick little dude whose name says it all).

The Incredibles’ super pal Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) is back in a minor role, but the star this time around is baby Jack-Jack, who is too little to understand his powers (shape shifting and fire), and who giggles and pouts and does what all toddlers do . . . except that his tantrums are real doozies. When he goes off, all hell breaks loose! Another great character is Evelyn Deavor (Catherine Keener), who’s animated to look like a female version of a hipster/techno geek hybrid. Seeing her set against more realistically rendered backgrounds than the main characters provides a nice textural contrast and holds your interest until the plot really takes over.

This time supers are still technically outlawed, but there’s a reversal: It’s Elastigirl who gets to go off and do super things ,while her husband stays at home with the kids. She’s recruited by Winston Deavor, a superhero fan and CEO of a telecommunications company who’s also dedicated to changing the public’s opinion of superheroes so they can repeal the law banishing them. This time there’s a second villain: Screenslaver, who uses high-tech glasses and transmissions not for virtual reality, but for virtual mind control.

Mind control? Again?

But of course it’s what you do with a concept that matters most, and nobody creates a richly textured animated world with fully rounded characters the way that Disney and Pixar do. Director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) paces Incredibles 2 like a live-action superhero flick, and there’s so much happening onscreen at any given moment that even the most jaded critics can’t help but find something to admire.

Language: Other than singular uses of “hell” and “damn,” the most offensive thing you’ll hear is “crap” and two instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain

Sex: Not a thing

Violence: Just comic-book violence, except for a man telling how his father was shot by thugs and a fight between Screenslaver and Elastigirl

Adult situations: Nothing worth mentioning

Takeaway: Disney-Pixar had so many irons in the fire that it took 14 years for this sequel to surface; any wagers on how long it will be before we get a third installment? You know it’s coming….

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