Modern family: Enjoyable 'Incredibles 2' feels a little too familiar

"Incredibles 2." (Pixar)

"Incredibles 2"
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director:
Brad Bird
Writer: Brad Bird
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell
Genre: Animated, action
Rated: PG for action sequences and some brief mild language

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) - Synopsis: When Elastigirl takes a job with an eccentric billionaire who wants to make superheroes legal again, Mr. Incredible is tasked with taking care of Jack-Jack.

Review: Released in 2004, "The Incredibles" was Pixar Animation Studio's sixth film and the first to feature an outside writer/director in Brad Bird. The film told the story of a family of superheroes who are forced to keep their powers a secret because the tide of public opinion was decidedly against costumed crusaders.

In a sense, "The Incredibles" is the family-friendly foil of Alan Moore's "Watchmen" in that it exposes the messy nature of superheroes' private lives when they aren't saving the world.

It's hard to believe, but "The Incredibles" arrived in theaters a full four years ahead of Marvel's "Iron Man." It was ahead of its time.

Fourteen years later, after years of clamoring from fans and critics alike, "Incredibles 2" arrives with lofty expectations attached. Not to mention that superheroes and comic book movies are more popular than ever.

"Incredibles 2" is a good film, a friendly diversion from the inhumanity of humanity. Like the first film, it finds a family member keeping secrets, but unlike the first film there doesn't seem to be the same sort of tension behind the decision. In "The Incredibles," the world wasn't at stake; the family was and that made the film rather unique when compared to the superhero films that came before and many of the movies that would come after.

"Incredibles 2" is fun -- I enjoyed it from start to finish -- but like many sequels it doesn't feel as revolutionary or unique as the film it is following up. Whereas "The Incredibles" felt like a family drama trapped inside of a comic book narrative, "Incredibles 2" feels like a comic book movie. We've seen a lot of comic book movies as of late.

It's not pure sugar, there is still some nutritional value to go along with the spectacle. And it's certainly better than both of Pixar's "Cars" sequels, but not nearly on par with the "Toy Story" films where the narratives are driven by deeply personal relationships between the characters.

The best Pixar films are those that invite the audience to be emotionally involved. "Incredibles 2" will entertain you, just don't expect it to involve you in its narrative. You'll watch, you'll cheer and you'll leave the theater happy. Maybe that in and of itself is trail blazing in these discordant days.

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