★★★★★

The Incredibles 2 packs a super hero sized punch, and while it comes with the usual glam of any superhero movie, it has a deep beating heart beneath the sparkly spandex. While it may be worth it to watch the film just for the action, the laughs, or to see which fan theories came true, this feature will have lasting value and impact to rival the original.

Despite the 14-year gap between the first movie, The Incredibles 2 picks up right where we left off. Like any sequel, this movie is bigger and bolder – but this gem both lives up to its long-awaited hype as well as expands our knowledge of their story universe, and our sentimental commitment to their family dynamic. In fact, writer/director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, The Iron Giant) thrusts us even deeper into the core of their family values as they struggle with common problems like honesty and communication, as well as a (child’s version) of the xenocide that the X-Men franchise has capitalized on.

The emotional depth is remarkable for a CGI movie, and this one further builds on the Parr family dynamic. When the matriarch Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) takes a noble job to help protect the future of Supers, we are treated to a role reversal where the father Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) becomes a stay at home dad. Interestingly, this strikes a resonant chord as this has become increasingly prevalent and acceptable in the U.S. over the last decade and a half, while giving a nod to the strong-guy-at-home comedy genre.

While the heart is, well… the heart of this story, there are plenty of fight sequences, chase sequences, and smash-ups to rival any other modern action movie. The difference is that you care about these characters, so there is an edge-of-your-seat element to watching a family try to stay together, literally, when a bunch of baddies are trying to take them apart. As with any Pixar movie, expect to laugh, cringe, cheer, and look around the theater to see if anyone is watching you cry, then realize that everyone is going through the same emotions.

Part of the massive success of The Incredibles 2 on every level should be credited to almost everyone from the first project signing back on, and delivering a repeat rock-solid performance. The original set the bar high for computer animated films, and while graphics have improved significantly since then, they are updated and used to adeptly tell a story and stay focused on the action, on each Supers’ power, and to move us along neatly through the story. Other Super Hero movies take note – more is not better! A clean, focused film can add in a number of new heroes without needing to put them all on the screen at once, or adding them in just to kill them off and spare the main characters.

In short, The Incredibles 2 can wear a number of costumes at the box office: a family outing, a date movie, a solo action-junkie fix, even an early Oscar contender. Disney can expect to see an incredible return on their investment.