Incredibles 2 ★★★★

In a film that isn’t particularly full of bold choices, “Incredibles 2” starts with a doozy: It picks up right where the first one left off, seeming to ignore the fact that a lot has happened in the 14 years since Brad Bird first joined forces with Pixar. The world is no longer the same place that it was in 2004, and the state of its superhero movies is similarly unrecognizable from what it was back then. Faster than a speeding bullet, the genre has become a major engine of the modern Hollywood machine, and the idea of a world without superheroes is now as unfathomable to us as it always was to Mr. Incredible, himself.

A clever pastiche that played like Norman Rockwell’s “Watchmen,” “The Incredibles” may have exploited familiar tropes, and even flirted with some light Randian thinking in its family-driven story about the difficulties of finding a balance between the ordinary and the exceptional, but the film was animated by the inimitable confidence of a fresh creative vision. “Incredibles 2,” which gets off to a rocky start before growing into one of the great movies of its kind, was never going to have the same advantage. If anything, starting the sequel with a continuation of the same action sequence that ended its predecessor only helps to underline how much times have changed.