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Incredible imagination

The family of supers is back

“Incredibles 2”

Saving the world is hard, but for Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl keeping your family intact proves to be even harder.

“Incredibles 2” kicks off where “The Incredibles” left off. After defeating Syndrome, the petulant and toxic fanboy-turned-genius-villain, Mr. Incredible, his wife Elastigirl, and family attempt to return to a semblance of normalcy, though more villains seem to spring up at a moment’s notice.

When the Underminer (and, kudos to Director Brad Bird for littering the film with pun-tastic superhero and villain names) escapes Mr. Incredible’s grip, the heroes, technically still banned, find themselves in a bit of a PR nightmare. This provides the perfect opportunity for the Deavor siblings, voiced by Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener, to save the day by proposing a massive publicity stunt to gain back the trust of the world’s population.

To everyone’s surprise, they want Elastigirl to be the face of the whole stunt. She reluctantly agrees—leaving the family in Mr. Incredible’s care—and soon finds herself neck-deep in the criminal plot masterminded by The Screenslaver. (Seriously these names are brilliant.)

Meanwhile the benched Mr. Incredible is adjusting to dad life sans mom, discovering that the real test of his strength as a hero isn’t saving thousands of lives but rather staring down the barrel of fluctuating teen emotions, an impossible-to-pin-down toddler and the ultimate villain: common core math.

Though “Incredibles 2” starts out fairly conventional, it soon becomes an engaging film about learning to lean on and trust each other’s strengths. If the original “Incredibles” was about a family of supers learning to work together as a team, “2” is about them learning to trust each other’s autonomy.

In a film with much to be appreciated, it’s hard to single out any one element to praise. But Holly Hunter jumps to the fore, as the Incredibles matriarch Elastigirl,  steps out of Mr. Incredible’s shadow and shines. Violet (voiced by Oklahoma native Sarah Vowell) and Dash (Huck Milner) provide some well-timed comedic perspective on the shenanigans of the film, acting as both id and ego, respectively.

Equally deserving of recognition is Bird and his team who—after helming live-action blockbusters like “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and the creative misstep of “Tomorrowland”—managed to pick up a beloved story 14 years after its release and offer an equally affecting and engaging follow-up. With “Incredibles 2” Bird returns to familiar ground with one of his most successful properties and outdoes himself, proving the only limitations holding back Bird are what he can imagine and what can be made manifest by the best animators in Hollywood.

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