Before The Incredibles opened, the pundits were banging on about how this was going to be the film that would see Pixar's Toy Story, Monsters, Inc and Finding Nemo bandwagon finally grind to a halt. No one could believe that a story about a retired superhero couple and their kids would really grab audiences. It had no talking animals, no toys, no buddy-movie flourishes. What's more, it was the brainchild of Iron Giant helmer Brad Bird, recruited by Pixar to inject new blood into their operation. Everyone agreed: "It Simply Could Not Succeed."
Shows what pundits know, eh? Because there's only word for The Incredibles: irresistible. From the three-year-olds ga-ga-ing about Superdaddy to thirtysomething fanboys obsessing about the post-Watchmen comic-book references, the film is impossible to dislike.
Beautiful, funny, multi-layered and exciting, this is Pixar at close to its best. Only close? Well, yes. Some of the supporting figures are a little bit throwaway - you could slice the Samuel L Jackson-voiced Frozone out of the movie and leave barely a scar - and the ending is a touch stretched. But the gleaming, widescreen, 3D pluses more than make up for the niggly minuses.
The main characters are gloriously real, the plot is slick and the action sequences engender genuine sweaty-palmed excitement. As superhero films go (heck, as action movies go) only Spider-Man 2 betters this, while upcomers like Batman Begins and Fantastic Four face a mighty challenge if they're even to match it.
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