Incredibles 2

When we last saw the Parr family, they saved Metroville from total destruction when they stopped Syndrome’s dastardly plans. But, just when they get their superhero lives together, a new danger threatens the city – Underminer! Bob (Craig T. Nelson), Helen (Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Dash (Huck Milner), with a little help from Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson), must do battle with this new threat in “Incredibles 2.”

Laura's Review: B

Fourteen years after the Underminer declared war on peace and happiness, the Parrs and family friend Lucius (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) once again flout the law against using their super powers by stopping his destruction of Municiberg. They are not thanked, deposited into a motel by their one inside friend Rick Dicker (voice of Jonathan Banks), whose Super Relocation Program is shut down. Faced once again with going into the workplace, dad Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) instead finds himself a stay-at-home dad when Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is recruited by DevTech CEO Winston Deavor (voice of Bob Odenkirk) to turn the reputation of Supers around in "Incredibles 2." Writer/director Brad Bird brings his beloved family back for a new adventure that mixes the plight of "X-Men" with the realities of family life. It's a joy to have them back, even if their second adventure isn't as enthralling or fresh as their first. It is the rare Superhero film that can succeed without a great villain, and although this one is visually interesting, his secret identity is all too easy to figure out. Mr. Incredible doesn't know it yet, but his upcoming parenting struggles are laid out in the film's opening moments when Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell) is seen in her costume but without her mask by a boy she likes, Tony Rydinger (voice of Michael Bird). When she confesses what happened that evening, Bob contacts Dicker, who wipes Tony's memory not only of that one incident, but of Violet in entirety. Bob's manhood also takes a beating when Deavor and his inventor sister Evelyn (voice of Catherine Keener) pick his wife for their project, putting them up in a modern mansion and delivering a souped up Elasticycle for Elastigirl. To add insult to injury, once Helen leaves on her first mission, Bob spots his beloved Incredimobile on TV, purchased by a billionaire collector. Helen gets a call to be on hand for the launch of a new high speed train and sure enough, it takes off backwards. The ensuing chase scene is exciting, Elastigirl's stretching power incorporated into her high tech bike. But when she finally manages to stop the train, saving everyone aboard, she notes its engineer's catatonic daze. There is a new villain in town, Screenslaver, who hypnotizes victims with broadcast signals to do his bidding. Back at the homestead, Mr. Incredible is being beaten down by the demands of running a household. In addition to his moping teenager, he's agonizing over helping Dash (voice of Huck Milner) with his New Math homework and with mom away, infant Jack-Jack (voice of Eli Fucile) suddenly begins exhibiting his own super powers, formidable and uncontrollable, when he goes after a trash rummaging raccoon. The animation is just beautiful, Deavor's nostalgic love of the Supers mirrored in Dash's television programs and Superslaver's goggled, robotic appearance. Elastigirl crawls atop a speeding train, the city behind her resplendent in the warm pastels of dusk. A new batch of Supers aren't very interesting, though, Voyd (voice of Sophia Bush), a neon hued teenager, the best of the lot. Edna Mode (voice of Brad Bird) makes an appearance more as babysitter than designer. The film's shipboard climax is routine. "Incredibles 2" is preceded by a new Pixar short, "Bao." Much like the relationship segment of "Up," Domee Shi tells the story of a lonely Chinese woman whose homemade bao turns into an adorable infant who grows into a rebellious young man in 8 minutes and does so with no dialogue. It's sweet, with a surprise ending, but as entrancing as their last Oscar winner, 2016's "Piper." Grade:

Robin's Review: B

When you see the kickass original of what is sure to become a franchise, first to come to mind is “Die Hard (1988).” That action adventure was the perfect showcase for Bruce Willis and director John McTiernan created an icon in its originality, action and, of course, Alan Rickman as the evil, suave villain, Hans Gruber. I really looked forward to the sequel, “Die Hard 2 (1990),” with hope. As is usually the case, my hopes were not fulfilled second time around. While I enjoyed the anticipated sequel to “The Incredibles,” I was not nearly as wowed as I was back in 2004. Maybe it is the long 14-year lag between the adventures of the Parr family and their good friend, and Bob’s BFF, Frozone, but I did not get the “rush.” And, I am having a problem figuring out exactly why. Once again, Brad Bird writes and directs and the original vocal cast is, mostly, back for more – Dash, voiced in the first by Spencer Fox and is now given his words by Huck Milner. They have many exciting adventures and defeat the bad guys out to destroy Metroville. There is the Big Evil, again, though just who is the villainous puppet master is kept obscure, not giving me the chance to root against a particular dastardly character. So, why did I like and not love “Incredibles 2”? I think that the underlying story structure about the Parr family, as a family, lacks spark. In this new world where superheroes are outlawed, Bob and Helen are about to lose their secret government support. Their handler, Rick Dicker (Jonathan Banks), tells them they have two weeks to move out and begin their new lives – on their own. The Parrs face their new existence with resignation. Now unemployed and with three kids, they cope with family problems, just like the rest of us. It is a cute take on family life – Helen becomes the breadwinner and Bob the nanny to his kids. This “normal” life deals with new teen love for Violet, hyperactivity with Dash and taking care of Jack-Jack. Meanwhile, mom is hard at work doing what Bob really wants to do. This “mundane” life is amped in ways that, truthfully, I fully expected. I can almost guarantee that audiences will flock to see “Incredibles 2” and will not be disappointed. I definitively like it but there is just something missing. I always hope the sequel will be equal to the original, but that is a very rare thing. Think about it.