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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the highly anticipated sequel Incredibles 2 picks up immediately after The Incredibles, following the Parr family -- Bob/Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner), and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) -- as they again use their powers to rescue the people of their city. From there, the movie explores the Parrs' family dynamics and eventually pits them against a villain named Screenslaver. Like the original, the sequel has frequent, intense superhero action/violence, including large-scale destruction, frequent peril, weapons, and laser beams shooting out of a character's eyes. There's also a scary fight with lots of flashing lights that could be difficult for those with photosensitivity and has prompted some theaters to post warnings due to seizure concerns. Someone is shot in a flashback (the act itself isn't shown, though viewers see the gun pointed at the victim), and there are references to dead parents and several fight sequences that could be too intense for the very young or for those who are sensitive to violence that puts kids or parents in danger. But there's also lots of humor, even in the action sequences, as well as themes of teamwork, courage, communication, and perseverance -- and how easy it is to be manipulated by the screens all around us. Expect a bit of kissing, hugging, and flirting; a little drinking by adults; a character with a long-stemmed cigarette; and some swearing including a use each of "hell," "damn," and "crap."
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What's the story?
INCREDIBLES 2 picks up where The Incredibles left off, with the Parr family -- Bob/Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner), and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) -- needing to rescue the city of Metroville from its newest threat, the Underminer (John Ratzenberger). But instead of being grateful for the supers' help, the Metroville authorities resent the Incredibles and their good friend Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) for being destructive. Telecommunications CEO Winston Deaver (Bob Odenkirk) and his tech-genius sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener), offer the supers a chance to make themselves relevant and indispensable again. Winston convinces Elastigirl to wear a new suit outfitted with a body camera so everyone can see how much she does for the community. As Elastigirl tracks down Screenslaver, a mysterious new villain who hypnotizes people, Mr. Incredible stays home to take care of the kids: Moody Violet, who's dealing with her first broken heart; spirited Dash, who needs help with homework; and little Jack-Jack, who suddenly comes into some super-potent powers.
Is it any good?
This is the rare sequel that lives up to everyone's massive expectations and delivers as much of the joy, pathos, and adventure as the original. Some critics and fans initially questioned the need for a sequel to The Incredibles, especially one that took more than a decade to arrive (Milner, who replaces Spencer Fox as the voice of Dash, wasn't even alive when the original came out!). But director Brad Bird has struck magic again with his exploration of contemporary family life via superheroes. Incredibles 2 puts Elastigirl in the spotlight, showing the many challenges involved with balancing work and home, even when you have superpowers. The way Elastigirl worries and feels guilty about missing Jack-Jack's first powers emerging is as relatable and believable as Mr. Incredible's frustration while trying to figure out modern-curriculum math when he sits down to help Dash with homework. As the saying goes, it's funny because it's true.
Michael Giacchino's jazzy score and the movie's vibrant, mid-century modern designs are endearingly retro, but Incredibles 2 is simultaneously current with its depiction of technical advances (body cameras, navigation trackers, etc.). But ultimately it's the characters that viewers want to see more of, and they're all lovably back, including crowd favorite fashion designer Edna Mode (Bird), who again steals scenes during a hilarious bit in which a desperate Mr. Incredible asks her to babysit humorously out-of-control Jack-Jack. Jackson/Frozone isn't in many scenes but has some great moments. As for the new characters, Keener in particular is fabulous as the mysterious, gravelly voiced Evelyn; her conversations with Hunter's Elastigirl are well-done and fraught with tension. Bird is a keen observer of what it means to be part of a close and happy family, so this sequel will make audiences laugh, think, and (hopefully) appreciate their parents and siblings.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the messages related to family and gender roles in Incredibles 2. Is it important to see movies/TV shows in which parents take on nontraditional roles? Why or why not?
How does Incredibles 2 compare to the original? Do you think the 14 years between the two movies matter? What are the unifying themes of both films?
How are teen angst and insecurity portrayed in the movie? What does Violet learn about herself, and how does she change by the end of the story?
- In theaters: June 15, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: November 6, 2018
- Cast: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson
- Director: Brad Bird
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Superheroes, Adventures, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models
- Character Strengths: Compassion, Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 118 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: action sequences and some brief mild language
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Seal
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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