JUNE 14, 2018 -- After 14 years, Pixar finally has released the long awaited sequel to the 2004 hit "The Incredibles". But we have to look closely at Pixar past sequels: After scoring big with "Toy Story" in 1995, Pixar followed it up four years later with "Toy Story 2" then in 2010 "Toy Story 3". The second was wildly successful, but the third trailed off a bit.


After "Cars" in 2006, Pixar took a shot at "Cars 2" (2011) and "Cars 3" (2017) with progressively bad results. The followed up the wonderful "Finding Nemo" (2003) with "Finding Dory" a full thirteen years later with terrific results. There doesn't seem to be a pattern of success save Pixar needs to bury the Cars franchise.


This is the longest span of time between a Pixar original and its sequel but they managed to bring back Brad Bird, the original writer and director. The also return with most of the original voice talent including Craig T Nelson (Mr Incredible), Samuel L Jackson (Frozone), Holly Hunt (Elastic Girl), Sarah Vowell (Violet). Huck Milner replaces Spencer Fox as Dash.

The one thing that changed since the release of the original and now is the huge emergence of superhero movies - especially those from the Marvel Universe. The original "Incredibles" was a satirical look at characters from the DC Comics world (Superman, The Flash, Plastic Man/Elongated Man, and Invisible Kid). But now Disney owns Marvel and they own Pixar. Hmmm!


The story picks up right where the original left off, with the Incredibles living in hiding at a cheap motel because superheroes have been declared illegal. (Wait... isn't that what happened in the Avengers series?) When a villain called Underminer digs under the city creating havoc, the Incredible dust off their suits and jump into action. The result is a mess and they get into more trouble.


But billionaire do-gooder Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) has a plan to show the relevance of super heroes and he plans to execute his idea using Elastic Girl as the front person. Their plan is to bring attention to only successful missions. Meanwhile Mr Incredible is relegated to being a house husband and tending to the kids himself. He's in for a surprise as the youngest baby Jac Jac starts developing special powers.


It wouldn't be a superhero movie if there weren't a villain, and that comes in the person of ScreenSlaver who hypnotizes victims when they look into a targets television screen. Of course things become too much for Elastic Girl and the rest of the Incredibles come to the rescue.


The story borrows from the "X-men" when all kinds or people with super powers come out of exile much like mutants in X-Men. And the whole concept that the world doesn't need super heroes parallels the Avengers. They fact the Incredibles have a handler is familiar from the Avengers.


But Bird keeps the nostalgia with a 50s/60s background and the whole new math versus old math scene is hilarious and once again familiar to those of us who remember that change. The social significance of the changing gender roles in the nuclear family is minor and meant for a laugh more than as commentary. But there clearly is a shot at woman empowerment in both heroes and villains.


The one main constant is the vibrant Pixar animation which is spot on no matter what.


"Incredibles 2" will give the kids - the target market - a lot of giggles and laughs. It will also entertain parents who can relate to the family issues. But it is still a couple of notches below the original.   -- GRADE B --   GEOFF BURTON