Pixar's Incredibles 2 isn't just another sequel. After all, we've been waiting for this one for 14 years – yes, the original really did come out in 2004.
Pixar hasn't exactly rushed into making it, or been over-eager to capitalise on the success of the original, and that has to be a good sign. After November's teaser trailer (which generated 113 million views in just 24 hours), another sneak peek during the Winter Olympics and another full-length trailer last Friday, appetites for the return of the super-family couldn't be more whetted. Here are five very good reasons to look forward to the return of the Incredibles.
1. It puts family first
Today's blockbuster cinema is a world away from when the Parr family first burst onto the big screen. 2004's only superhero movies, apart from The Incredibles, were Spider-Man 2, Catwoman and Hellboy. Fast-forward to today and superheroes are big business. This year started with Black Panther, and Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2 and Ant Man And The Wasp are all on their way. So Pixar had to make this one stand out from the crowd.
Director Brad Bird has been quoted as being more interested in the family dynamic from the first movie, and how it related to the superhero side of things. So he's taking the movie further down that road and building on the original's emphasis on character. Previews show that Bob/Mr Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) will be staying at home looking after the children, while Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) is out fighting crime as part of a superhero PR scheme organised by Winston Deavour (Bob Odenkirk). It's while Bob's on house husband duty that super-dad discovers baby Jack-Jack's powers.
2. A sequel was a must
The Incredibles ended on a cliffhanger, with the heroes about to face a whole new foe in the shape of The Underminer. So there's unfinished business and we all deserve a resolution. That makes it a genuinely necessary sequel, one that will directly pick up from the events of the first movie. The Incredibles ended with the gang getting ready for a new, exciting mission and this is a sequel that fans have been waiting 14 years for. It doesn't feel like an add-on, but a natural extension. It had to happen.
3. Director Brad Bird has an amazing track record
Brad Bird directed and wrote The Incredibles, and also voiced "dahling" costume designer Edna Mode. It would therefore have been inconceivable to bring another director/writer on board for the sequel. After all, he's the one who steered the movie to modern classic status.
Excitingly, this will be Bird's first animation since the delightful Ratatouille (2007), widely considered one of Pixar's best, after dalliances in directing live action with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Tomorrowland.
His return promises much. Before Incredibles 2 was announced, Bird had already said that he would only do a sequel if he could come up with an idea that was at least as good as the first one, if not better. We can only assume he's done just that. And, as we said, he's voicing Edna Mode again!
4. It has a terrific voice cast
Big name voice casts have become almost de rigueur for animations, but unless the actors are good matches for their characters, they simply don't work. Incredibles 2 sees the return of some original cast members: Poltergeist actor Craig T. Nelson as Bob Parr/Mr Incredible, The Big Sick's Holly Hunter as Helen Parr/Elastigirl, Pulp Fiction's Samuel L Jackson as Frozone and Sarah Vowell as Violet, although Dash is now voiced by Huck Milner (the original actor now being too old).
It doesn't stop there. As mentioned, Better Call Saul's Bob Odenkirk is the super hero-obsessed head of a telecoms company – what's the betting he's actually the film's villain the Screen Slaver? Meanwhile, Get Out's Catherine Keener will be voicing his sister, and Breaking Bad's Jonathan Banks is the voice of a government agent helping the Parr family stay undercover. The character was in the original, but voiced by Bud Luckey. And Blue Velvet's Isabella Rossellini is the voice of an ambassador who wants to make being a superhero legal.
Now that's what you call a great cast.
5. Pixar makes great sequels
Pixar is more than capable of making follow-ups that improve on the first. Toy Story 2 is considered by many to be better than the original (no mean feat, considering it kick-started Pixar's feature-length movies), while Toy Story 3 is widely thought to be a masterpiece of animation that made us laugh and cry in equal measure.
These two sequels capitalised on the impact of their predecessors while leaving the door open for more. Incredibles 2 is set to follow that lead, and promises to take the characters in new, interesting directions. Plus, Pixar is so confident of a winner that it brought the release date forward by the best part of a year. Toy Story is a big act to follow but, if Incredibles 2 pulls it off, it could end up being a classic. We're excited. Incredibly.
Freda Cooper is an Unlimited card holder who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.