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Overanalyzing The Incredibles

There's a reason The Incredibles 2 is setting records.

By Petrarch  |  June 27, 2018

After fourteen years, the super-powered Parr family is finally back, in Disney/Pixar's record-setting flick The Incredibles 2.  In the opening prologue before the movie properly begins, Pixar staff and voice stars argue that the long wait was worth it, so strong was their determination to provide a worthy sequel of the excellent original edition.

And they're not wrong.  The Incredibles 2 has all the stylish retro-future art design and snappy jazz soundtrack of the first one, plus an even deeper, more profound, and if anything more subversive storyline.

If you have not yet watched the movie, then, much as we appreciate your patronage, there's no real point in finishing this article.  You may as well just bookmark it and resume when you get back from the theater.

Assuming you have already seen it, though, what's its most notable and unique element?  It's certainly not the superheroing - nothing could be more ordinary in Hollywood.  Nor is it the concept of the hidden villain, the high-powered conspiracy, the less-than-insightful politicians, the gullible public, or any of the rest of the individual elements of the storyline.  Even the technologies and the threats portrayed have been around for decades, from Thunderball to Batman Forever.

No, what makes the Incredibles films unique in modern moviemaking is something that would have passed without comment a century ago: a family where all the members actually love, appreciate, and trust each other!

Judging people by the content of their character.

True Love in True Chaos

This isn't to say that the Parrs never fight: they do, ferociously.  Teenager Violet is livid when her well-meaning father fouls up her dating life; dad Bob has difficulties containing his jealousy when his wife is successful and he isn't.  Son Dash is annoyed at the undignified babysitting and chores he gets stuck with.  In other words, the family experiences all the normal angst and speedbumps of life together.

Yet even in the midst of drama, each family member loves each of the others.  After Violet has worked through her rage and disappointment, she recognizes her father's love and loyalty and returns it in full measure.  When the chips are down, both children gladly perform whatever unpleasant chores are required for family success and survival.  There's never really even the slightest doubt or hesitation when it counts.

When was the last time we saw a healthy, nuclear, genetic family portrayed on the screen this way?  Bill Cosby's Huxtables come to mind, but their memory has been sullied by the behavior of, or at least the accusations against, their patriarch in the real world.  Generally, movie families are more along the dysfunctional lines of the Bundys or Breaking Bad.

If divorce statistics are any guide, failed families are more realistic.  But since when is anything about a good superhero movie realistic?  Being unrealistic is the whole point - they're supposed to be idealistic, a world to wish for and enjoy, with only just enough reality included to keep it halfway grounded.

Yes, intact loving families are rare, and most modern Americans will never reside in one.  They do, however, exist, in the present as in the past.  Perhaps watching how the Parrs work through their struggles in a productive way will help real Americans to do the same.

Complementary Equality

And if they do, perhaps they'll grasp the most subversive message of the Parr family: we are stronger together because of our differences, which complement each other.  We can all be equally important even though we are not at all the same.

In one sense, this sounds like the modern diversity claim.  It's actually the exact opposite.

What modern politically-correct diversity purports to celebrate is two things: physical traits that are irrelevant to one's personality and choices, like one's skin color; and cultures that are inherently in conflict and irreconcilable, like the medieval barbarism and intolerance of Islam vs. the personal and philosophical liberties that Western tradition represents.

In the world of the Incredibles, different races clearly exist - and are entirely unremarked-upon and irrelevant.  People are treated individually as people, respected for their personal character and choices, exactly as Dr. King prescribed.  Religious beliefs, if any, are simply not portrayed.

But the diversity and value of the Parr family, as well as for other supers appearing in the movie, rest in their inherent genetic variance.  Some of this derives from the superpowers themselves - Bob Parr is super-strong, Helen is super-flexible, Dash is super-fast, Violet turns invisible and produces force-fields, and baby Jack-Jack has yet to plumb the depths of his panoply of powers - but the driving conflict of this sequel originates in the natural differentiation of gender.  Bob wants to protect and provide for his family, whereas Helen wants to nurture and care for them.  Both are perfectly capable and competent of reversing the roles when they must, but it's not their natural bent, nor their preference or desire.

As Helen complains in frustration, "To help my family I have to leave it?"  For Bob, leaving the house to work was perfectly natural; what's unnatural is staying at home to care for the children, though he gives it his full effort and attention and, by the end of the movie, does... a passable job.

In the real world as in the cartoon, people of both genders are capable of doing nearly anything.  Given their preference, they don't want to: polls have repeatedly found that most women would rather stay home with the kids, but modern politically-correct feminist culture castigates this choice as a betrayal of everything the past hundred years of womyn have fought for.

Why can't people be allowed to choose what they want, and why must we be forced to believe that any difference in outcomes can only be due to evil bias?  Even the single, super-successful fashion/supersuit designer Edna Mode, when confronted with a baby, lets her natural though dormant maternal instincts take over - as she says holding Jack-Jack, "This one, I watch for free."

Through all the stresses, the Parrs love and appreciate each other's different, respective strengths, as superheroes and as men and women.  That is what we next to never see in modern popular culture - no, men and women must be not only equal, but identical.

The Parrs would burst out laughing if anyone suggested they were the same - they aren't in any possible way.  Yet despite being manifestly different, as well as unequal in specific areas, the equality of worth and respect is exactly what most people want, need, and desire in a relationship.

Why is this so hard to understand for modern feminists and diversicrats?  Perhaps only in a quasi-retro-futuristic 1950s/60s-styled cartoon world could the eternal realities of human nature be allowed on the silver screen.

It's no coincidence that The Incredibles 2 has not merely set records, it's annihilated them.  How many hundreds of millions of dollars does a rare well-done movie with a conservative message have to make before Hollywood will figure it out?