Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The superiority of being super

            The Incredibles is a heart-warming childhood movie that celebrates individuality, future generations and the importance of family but what many children fail to pick up on while watching is the undertone in the film that highlights we aren’t all equals nor will we ever be. The movie primarily focuses on the difference of being a natural born super hero like Mr. Incredible versus your average civilian who wants to be a super hero like Buddy. Throughout the film we see the Incredibles suffer with conformity. Mr. Incredible a once iconic hero known for his super strength became a desk employee. Dash Mr.Incredible’s son struggles to fit in at school because of his powers. Then there is Violet a teenage girl struggling to find her place in high school, as if that isn’t hard enough, imagine having super powers.  Elastagirl or Mrs. Incredible became a homemaker. We see the Incredible family particularly Mr. Incredible struggle with the idea of meritocracy and conformity when they know they aren’t normal but in fact they are superior.  

            Since the super heroes have been condemned by society Mr. Incredible must retire and live a normal life with his family. Mr. Incredible struggles with being normal. He keeps his head in the past constantly reliving the glory days so much so that he neglects his family. For example Mr. Incredible constantly listens to the police radio awaiting a robbery, burning house or some sort of situation where he can intervene. Mr. Incredible sloths through life feeling under-appreciated. Mr. Incredible fails to engage with his family because of this. There is one scene where Mrs and Mr Incredible get in an argument because Mr. Incredible misses out on Dash’s elementary school graduation. Mr. Incredible’s says that Dash’s graduation isn’t a true graduation but a celebration of mediocrity. Mr. Incredible finds no value in celebrating normality and conformity when his son’s powers make him superior. As for Mrs. Incredible she thinks it is more important to forget about their super powers.
            Mrs. Incredible has a valid point superheroes are a part of the past it is time for Mr. Incredible to let it go. I think part of the reason Mr. Incredible struggles with conforming is because he knows his powers are what make him superior. When Mr. Incredible beings missions again he rips his old super suit. Edna, the seamstress, makes a point of his old super suit being out-dated. Unsurprisingly Mr. Incredible sees nothing wrong with his old suit. Everyone is able to move on but Mr. Incredible cant even with the smallest of things like super suits. It isn’t until Mr. Incredible and his whole family are being held hostage that Mr. Incredible realizes how much he has been missing out on.

            We first meet the aspiring super hero, Buddy, in the midst of one of Mr. Incredible’s missions. Buddy introduces himself as Mr. Incredible’s sidekick and biggest fan. Mr. Incredible has nothing kind to say he sends Buddy home. Mr. Incredible finds no value in Buddy not only because he’s a child but also Buddy lacks any super powers therefor he will never be considered an equal or a true super hero.
            Buddy preys on Mr. Incredible’s nostalgia. Buddy knows that Mr. Incredible will do anything to be back on top of the world. Buddy lures Mr. Incredible to his island for top secret super missions. Once Buddy has Mr. Incredible pinned down there is one scene where Buddy goes off on a monologue. Buddy rants about how you can never count on your heroes. Buddy continues on and says “you respect me now Mr. Incredible because I am a threat”. Buddy became a powerful and rich “superhero” through his development in weaponry. So here we are a superhero with innate powers versus a superhero of technology. Buddy or superhero Syndrome creates chaos so he can save the day showing society that you don't need superpowers to be super. Syndrome says he will share his technology with everyone one day so everyone can be considered super. Syndrome is trying to even the battlefield and create some equality. Unfortunately Syndrome drastically fails at his mission his own robot defeats him in battle. So it is up to the Incredible family and Frozone to save the day thus putting true superheroes with powers on top. This foils all of Syndromes plans of equality ultimately implying that you can’t learn or become a superhero you are either superior or you’re not. Even in the end of the movie Syndrome attempts to kidnap baby Jack Jack but even a baby defeats Syndrome. According to Giannetti’s Understanding Movies, The Incredibles would fall into the category of a rightist film in regards that it highlights the differences in society, “insisting that the best and the brightest are entitled to a larger share of power” (Gianetti, 410).

            The Incredibles celebrates individuality and superpowers but only for natural born heroes. The film puts down Buddy and vilifies him for trying to become a superhero implying there is limited room to climb up the social ladder. It is a tough pill to swallow but there is some validity in the lesson because it’s true women, people of colour, and those from a less fortunate socioeconomic status are not always treated equally. Overall I would give this move a 3/5. It was an enjoyable film and really interesting to analyse because of its rightist argument but leftist counterargument but in the end we are all reminded we aren’t equal.

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