So, here we are - with a Disney/Pixar movie we actually wanted. After spending more than a decade making crappy Cars sequels, Pixar has returned to the superhero family they left back in 2004. And while they didn't age the characters ala-Toy Story 3, they were still able to find a lot of story within this ageless family.
Incredibles 2 takes place exactly where its predecessor left off - with superheroes still illegal and the Parr family coming to grips with this reality. After losing their home and only means of income, a too-good-to-be-true mega company seeking to bring superheroes back contracts Elastigirl to break the law and do good, all while making money and promoting the good super name. To see supers back in the spotlight, Mr. Incredible shelves his manly-man pride and decides to take care of the kids while his wife fights crime and does all the cool stuff.
This split between their duties as superheroes and parents paints a clear picture of what the film wants to achieve.
On one hand you have Elastigirl's high-action moments filled with danger and suspense. Unlike her husband's super strength, her flexibility allows for more creativity with her powers... and it would be an understatement to say how cool Pixar made a power with seemingly limited possibilities look. While she can hold her own in a full-on fistfight, Elastigirl's subtlety and expertise at infiltration shifts her scenes between a traditional superhero flick and a well-orchestrated spy movie.
This doesn't mean the other family members get pushed to the sidelines. In fact, Incredibles 2's best shift is a bigger focus on family matters. Bob Parr's inexperience as a father is something every absentee parent can relate to. With work out of the way, he has to keep up with his three kids' needs: Violet with adolescence, Jack-Jack with his rowdiness and rapidly-emerging powers, and Dash with... math.
Despite being a superhero movie, these moments where Mr. Incredible struggles with his crying child and isolating teenager bring home the fact that being a parent is a superheroic feat in and of itself. This is just another family which goes through all that... it just so happens they have superpowers as well.
The supporting cast is pretty good too, for the most part. Frozone is back, and boy did Pixar get their money's worth out of Samuel L. Jackson this time around. Serving as both a close friend to Bob and Hellen and guardian to the Parr children, he's the only person you see during both the heavy-action sequences and familial moments. Long story short, you see a lot more of his ice powers as well as how he interacts with the family.
New superheroes also make their debuts. While Void with her portal powers and Reflux with his lava-spewing stomach can't hold a candle to the main supers, seeing them mix up their powers during fights helps Pixar stretch their animating skills to the fullest.
If there's one thing other than the weak side characters which hampers Incredibles 2's heroic comeback, it's the rather lackluster villain.
The Screenslaver makes his presence felt throughout the film as an ominous, all-seeing villain with the aim of keeping superheroes illegal. You'd think that with all the mystery surrounding him, the answers at the end would be satisfying. But no, viewers who pay attention can easily deduce his identity as well as his motivations. It pains me to say that apart from the well-developed protagonists, the side characters and villains don't get the same amount of character development.
That shouldn't stop you from watching the movie. Incredibles 2 was worth waiting 14 years for. It isn't exactly the comeback we were expecting, but with bigger action sequences, stellar animation, and a tighter focus on family, this is a Pixar film worth watching with your relatives.
P.S. Oh yeah, there's nothing after the credits. You're thinking of another company who makes superhero movies.