When a steel-bending superhero can no longer squeeze into his crime-fighting tights, you can be sure his weakness is something other than kryptonite. Mr. Incredible is now facing his most sinister villain yet -- middle age.
When "The Incredibles" hits theaters today, America will welcome a family of superheroes who have just as much trouble fighting suburban angst as they do fighting bad guys.
The new film is a bit of a departure for the Pixar and Disney team, which has enjoyed a string of five animated features, from 1995's "Toy Story" to last year's "Finding Nemo," earning nearly $2.6 billion at box offices around the world. (Disney is the parent company of ABC News.)
Unlike those films, "The Incredibles" mixes superhero adventure with family satire and is geared to a slightly older audience, while still being a family film.
"I think a lot of kids will have a blast at this," says Brad Bird, who directed the movie and conceived the story. "But I think probably a lot of really small kids, or those who are easily startled, maybe should wait a few years because some of the scenes are kind of intense."
At the heart of this new film is a superhero family with modern, everyday problems.
Dad (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) was forced to give up fighting crime years ago because the public started suing superheroes. After all, in the age of litigation, somebody has got to pay for all those windows he crashes through, even when it's done in the name of justice.
Living in hiding, Mr. Incredible is reduced to working a desk job at an insurance company and living under the assumed identity of Bob Parr. He's still superstrong. But he's also got a super appetite, and when he secretly puts on his crime-fighting costume, it's dangerously overstretched.
His wife (Holly Hunter) is a frazzled homemaker. None of the neighbors would ever suspect that she was once known as Elastigirl, the super-bendable heroine who battled evildoers with her infinitely elastic arms and legs. Nowadays, she can barely stretch the family budget.
Of course, the kids are a handful. Violet, their teenage daughter, tends to disappear when adults are around, just like any kid at an awkward age -- only she really can.
Dash, the boy, is a hyperactive bundle of energy. Imagine Bart Simpson with booster rockets.
Then there's the little one, Jack Jack, who is still in diapers and has yet to show any superpowers, other than the ability to make a super mess.
The action heats up when Mr. Incredible is lured back into the hero business, despite how ridiculous he looks in his form-fitting suit. He keeps it a secret from Elastigirl, but soon the whole family is dragged into the action, to save his life, and, of course, the world.
In the end, "The Incredibles" might prove that being a parent and a superhero isn't all that different. Even if you don't have superpowers, you've got super responsibilities. And sometimes, it's a super thankless job.
As our hero observes, "No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again! I feel like the maid. Sometimes I want to tell people, 'I just cleaned up this place! Can't you keep it clean for 10 minutes?'"