Eppler: "Incredibles 2" is best non-"Toy Story" Pixar sequel

Eppler: "Incredibles 2" is best non-"Toy Story" Pixar sequel

It's worth noting what was going on with superhero movies when the first "Incredibles" came out in 2004: There was no "Iron Man" or Marvel Cinematic Universe yet, "Spider-Man 2" and "X-Men 2" had just come out after long waits, and the last Batman movie was this one with George Clooney we don't talk about.

"The Incredibles" came along as a smart political commentary on comic book and superhero culture as it existed at the time. But instead of taking into consideration how it's changed over these fourteen years, writer and director Brad Bird just picks up the action of "Incredibles 2" right after where the first one left off - making it just feel like the sequel that could have been made ten years ago without much fresh perspective.

This time, the family members are outcasts because superheroes are illegal, and one of them goes to work for a shady, wealthy business tycoon who loves supers but may have an ulterior motive. If that sounds familiar, it's because it's basically the same plot as the first movie. There's even another runaway train sequence and other variations of the same scenes we watched fourteen years ago.

With all that going against it, "Incredibles 2" is still very enjoyable with smart dialogue and characters that are fun to spend time with. Holly Hunter's Elastigirl gets to take center stage while Craig T. Nelson's Mr. Incredible has to learn a lesson about gender roles and parenting.

Despite being the longest Pixar movie to date, "Incredibles 2" feels brisk with some eye-popping action sequences elevated by Michael Giacchino's brilliant score. I was surprised by some dark and intense scenes that might trouble younger viewers, but there are quite a few laughs, too, that help soften the rough edges.

"The Incredibles 2" certainly has sequel problems - even going full-on "Speed 2: Cruise Control" in the finale - but it's still a lot of fun from a filmmaker who has a good take on the genre. It's Pixar's best sequel that doesn't have "Toy Story" in the title. 

EPPLER'S RATING: * * * 

RATING SCALE

* * * * * Incredible - One of the best of the year
* * * * Excellent - Touches greatness with only minor quibbles
* * * Good - Plenty to like, definitely worth seeing
* * Mediocre - You can do better
* Awful  - The worst, an insult to movies

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