In the Dark: Still incredible nearly 15 years later

Incredibles 2 cast photo

‘Incredibles 2’

Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson

Directed by: Brad Bird

Rated: PG

In the pantheon of animated studios, Pixar remains the best, not only for the high-quality graphics, but for the storylines and characters as well. It’s been almost 15 years since the first “Incredibles” premiered in 2004. It was a huge hit then and outshined such luminaries as “Toy Story 2” and “Shrek.” So my only complaint about this movie is why did it take so long to get here?

Writer and director Brad Bird might have the answer, but if so, he’s not saying. After seeing this, though, I hope there is another one on the way and we won’t have to wait another decade to see it.

The beauty of this one is that it picks up right where the first one left off. All the characters and the actors who voice them return for this feature, and now there is little Jack-Jack — Bob and Helen Parr’s new baby boy who just may exhibit a plethora of super powers to beat out the whole family.

After Municiberg is leveled in the first movie by the evil Underminer, superheroes are banned for contributing to the destruction, so the Parrs are officially retired from saving the world. But a telecommunications mogul named Winston Deaver (Bob Odenkirk) and his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) have a plan to bring back superheroes by showing them in a positive light via the use of cameras in their suits.

Mr. Incredible/Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson), Elastigirl/Helen Parr (Holly Hunter) and their friend Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) are invited to a meeting, and in a surprise twist, Elastigirl is chosen as the superhero who will launch the project.

This twist sets up what is a female-centric vibe throughout this movie that is a great role reversal for the usual tropes of superhero movies. While Elastigirl is out saving the planet — and there is a new baddie called ScreenSlaver who can zap you stupid by appearing on the screens of your various devices, the mister, as in Mr. Incredible/Bob, is a stay-at-home dad helping out with homework and raising Jack-Jack, which is proving more difficult with each passing day due to his random and uncontrolled use of his superpowers.

Also home with Bob are the other two children — Violet (Sarah Vowell) a withdrawn 14-year old who has the power of invisibility and force fields, but at the moment is vexed with boyfriend troubles. Her little brother Dash is a brash 10-year old eager to get out there and use his superpower of speed, and he just cannot understand why the family needs to keep their super abilities a secret.

Everyone will get a chance to go back to work as the stakes get higher in the attempt to capture ScreenSlaver. Bird brings back all the elements that made the first “Incredibles” so popular. At heart, this is a movie about a family, and it’s dealing with a little jealousy on Bob’s part because his wife was chosen over him. And there are the other issues of parenting that can be recognized by anyone, whether you have superpowers or not. I’ve always thought of the Parrs as the Jetsons with superpowers.

The graphics are great as always, and there are more stunts than before that show off, particularly, Elastigirl’s gifts. And it would be on omission not to say how much Michael Giacchino’s jaunty score adds to the visuals.

No wonder this animated feature broke box office records in its opening weekend. After all, it is pretty “Incredible.”

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