Bursting back on to screens 14 years after superhero family the Parrs faced off against tunnel-drilling villain the Underminer, Incredibles 2 has one incredible super power.
Somehow Brad Bird’s long-awaited Disney Pixar sequel manages to be even more fun than the original.
Picking up right where the last movie left off, Bob (aka Mr Incredible, voiced by Craig Nelson) and his stretchy wife Helen (Elastigirl, voiced by Holly Hunter) attempt to save the city while insisting their oldest kids Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Dash (Huck Milner) stay away.
They’re charged with looking after gurglingly cute baby bro Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile). And, of course, kids rarely listen to their parents.
The ensuing family struggle is impeccably choreographed and artfully computer-animated, outshining every fight sequence staged by sister studio Marvel.
But just like Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, collateral PR damage from the babysitting exercise sees superheroes outlawed and the Incredibles – and ally Frozone (Samuel L Jackson) – forced into early retirement.
Enter smooth operators Winston and Evelyn Deavor (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener), silken-tongued siblings running an Apple-like company with enviable global reach and a sideline in crisis management.
In a movie brimming with girl power, writer/director Bird sees brawny bruiser Mr Incredible benched and Elastigirl and her more discerning approach to vigilante heroics put in the electric motorcycle-driving seat.
— Disney•Pixar's Incredibles 2 (@TheIncredibles) June 12, 2018
There’s plenty of good-humoured fun about the pressures faced by modern families as Bob’s bruised ego sees him getting green-eyed over Helen’s growing profile while he’s on stay-at-home dad duties.
That means dealing with Violet’s growing pains as she falls for and is apparently snubbed by a boy, although that’s not as simple as it seems.
It also means figuring out maths homework for Dash and handling Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers – plural – as evidenced by an eye-wateringly hysterical raccoon battle.
There’s also some brilliant commentary on the struggle for equal rights for women in the workforce, and the unforgiving nature of the 24-hour news cycle.
The latter is exacerbated by a new villain called Screenslaver who hypnotises heroes and turns them bad via any monitor, creating fake news in a nice jab at our increasingly zombie-like need for constant screen stimulation.
Simultaneously smart and sweet, the rock-solid core of the Incredibles’ familial bond – despite day-to-day tiffs – is as joyous as ever, perhaps more so in these increasingly cynical times.
If there’s a teeny niggle, it’s the Screenslaver reveal, which is pretty predictable and slightly undermines the strong female focus. But it’s a minor grumble in a glorious evolution of cute superheroics that leaves the door wide open for an expanded team.
But perhaps if Bird can be cajoled into a three-quel faster than a not-so-speeding 14 years, an Avengers-like vast cast will be avoided and the Parrs kept at its beating heart.
Incredibles 2 opens nationally on June 14.