Incredibles 2 — Feminism, Family and Fiction
My summer bank holiday was spent with the Parr family — a journey through women empowerment, diversity, the family unit and simply amazing art.
The plot follows the superhero family working to legalise superheroes within the community after a ban by government officials. Writer and director Brad Bird takes us on a journey filled with action, humour, and plenty super powers in getting Supers accepted within the community again.
The story line comes with a twist. The Parr family are unemployed and in a bid to stay afloat and regain public trust, they join a telecommunications company who have a masterplan to remarket superheroes. However, they only need one Incredible for their mission — Mrs. Incredible also known as Elastigirl.
This is a turn on the traditional model of the family unit where the father is the breadwinner and the mother nurtures the home. Mr. Incredible watches the super children in their new home, which turns out to be far from mundane, whilst mum saves the city from supervillain Screenslaver.
Mrs. Parr embodies the 21st century woman — one who has a place both at home and in society. She is very much a motherly figure — she deliberates the needs of her children before accepting the mission and constantly checks the state of her home before she is able to offload all the exciting ventures she’s embarked on as Elastigirl when in conversation with husband Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible).
I find the dynamics of the family unit attractive — where dad is naturally protector not just physically but also in the direction of their family. Mr. Incredible understands the need for Mrs. Incredible to complete this task to aid their direction as a family. And mum is concerned with immediate needs — the children have just started a new school, is it right to do this mission now? Has Dash done his homework? Is Jack-Jack okay? Of course, many of mum and dad’s thoughts overlap.
Even though Mrs. Parr is out at work, she doesn’t threaten the headship of Mr. Parr. Instead we see how they co-labor to ensure their purpose as a family unit is upheld. Their purpose being superheroes within their community — super cool!
In the second half of the movie, super fan girl Voyd asks Elastigirl an important question: ‘how do you balance both?’ Being a mum is being a superhero in itself, so being an actual superhero on top of that seems perplexing. Elastigirl doesn’t actually answer the question but we see her support system throughout the movie — the family unit.
I am not flipping the tradition script. In many cases both parents work, in some cases the father stewards how resources are brought into the house. Having a strong family unit allows adaptations to the ‘how’. Mrs. Incredible may not always be able to master super-mama and lead superwoman at the same time but in this season she could with her family’s cooperation. As someone who is undigging the value of family, this movie was beautiful to watch. The understanding and passion for unity between mum, dad, and the children was heartwarming.
My favourite character was Jack-Jack purely due to envisioning the creative process behind creating the character. I imagine someone in a boardroom making the proposal: ‘we’re going to have a baby who hasn’t yet reached speaking phase but multiplies, walks through walls, teleports, has laser-beam eyes and a wealth of other powers to be discovered. Oh and some of these powers are tamed by giving him a cookie.’ For a little man of few words but plenty action, Jack-Jack definitely stole the show, his endearing nature bringing laughter in many scenes.
The Incredibles 2 subtly address themes that mirror conversations of today. One being the position of women or more specifically women in technology. Although DevTech is run by Winston Deavor, we see Evelyn Deavor spearhead the design and function of the special tech. Similar to the inspiration we gained from Shuri masterminding Wakanda’s technology, it serves as a reminder that women can and do occupy STEM roles. Both hero and villain entities were fuelled by group effort but it was interesting to see Elastigirl and Evelyn being at the forefront of the action. The movie had a great diversity of characters — different shapes, sizes, colours, and even hairstyles. Whilst I was rambling on about Jack-Jack after the movie, my little brother was sold on Frozone who plays a pivotal part in saving the city and regaining public trust through his ability to form ice. Allowing characters to have a specific identity make them more relatable to audiences, even when presenting fiction.
We see a glimpse of today’s advancements weaved into the movie making the Parr family almost up to par with our current day. The Incredibles 2 is about family but extends itself beyond a family fun day — it is a worthwhile watch for everyone.