by George Wolf
I’m no math whiz, but 2004 seems somewhere close to 14 years ago. You wouldn’t know it from Incredibles 2, where no time has passed. Kicking off right where the original left off, the long-awaited sequel delivers just enough of the same charm to stave off some stale odors.
The super-powered Parr family has been sidelined, along with all the others like them, thanks to the law against superheroes. But when the evil Screenslayer starts cyber-attacking the city, local tycoon Winston Deavor (voiced by Bob Odenkirk) and his tech-savvy sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) hatch a plan to get the supers back on the job.
It starts with putting Helen Parr aka Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) on the trail of Screenslayer, leaving Bob/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) alone to care for baby Jack-Jack, help Dash (Huck Milner) with his homework and Violet (Sarah Vowell) with her first heartbreak.
Brad Bird returns as writer/director, armed with a worthy game plan but not quite enough nerve to swing for the fences.
While the Deavor’s groom Elastigirl for a media makeover, Screenslayer’s plan is to use technology against its users, and to “destroy the people’s trust in it.” Call that incredibly timely, and fertile ground for some Zootopia-style animated bite.
Bird is more interested in exploring the warm family fuzzies. That’s fine, but the “can clueless Dad handle the house while Mom’s at work?” angle feels every bit 14 years old, even more so when you consider the edgy path Bird abandons to chase one so safe and comfortable.
But hey, it’s summer, why so serious?
Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) is back in chill mode, the action sequences pop and the animation has the requisite pizazz. I2 is a part 2 that’s easy to enjoy.
Outside of the near-perfect Toy Story franchise, Pixar sequels (much like sequels in general) have often faltered. Incredibles 2 ranks as one of their best, even with all it leaves on the table.