“The Incredibles 2” (PG)
Except for those moviegoers who have memorized release dates of every film they’ve seen, it’s likely that no one else would guess that it’s been 14 years since the world was treated to the world of the Oscar-winning film “The Incredibles.” That’s a long wait to find out if something so terrific could get a follow-up that was even close in quality and enjoyability. Relax. Despite the fact that we at least have an idea of what’s coming from writer-director Brad Bird this time, the sequel is just as fresh and fun (and action-packed, and exciting and full of peril) as the original.
Storywise, it begins a few seconds after that one ended, picking up on the action-packed robbery being committed by the Underminer (John Ratzenberger), with the superhero-suited Parr family — Bob aka Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Helen aka Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), and Dash (Huck Milner) — assisted by their buddy Lucius Best aka Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson), trying to foil it.
Superheroes are still illegal, based on a government decision made in the first film. All superhero agencies have been shut down, even the one that was protecting the Parrs, who are moved into a motel, where Bob and Helen realize that one of them has to get a job. Well, at least until Frozone gets them together with billionaire entrepreneur Winston Deaver (Bob Odenkirk) and his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) who have an idea about how to change the public’s perception of superheroes, to once again get them seen as a positive force.
Both Parrs are thrilled at the prospect, but then only one of them is, after Winston explains he wants to work with Elastigirl first, leaving Mr. Incredible to stay home and take care of Violet, Dash and little Jack-Jack.
Yes, it’s another tale of role reversal, of the woman doing what’s traditionally been the man’s job. But hold on, even though Elastigirl was at home more than Mr. Incredible in the first film, she also ended up saving his tail.
And don’t for a moment think that Brad Bird is jumping on some feminist bandwagon here. He was already working on this script and that storyline years before there was a “Ghostbusters” reboot, a “Wonder Woman,” and an “Ocean’s 8.” If you want to label him, do it with the word prescient.