Editor’s note: This article contains some spoilers for Incredibles 2.
I was sitting in class one day when a student mentioned they saw Incredibles 2 the previous night. Of course, after waiting 14 years for the release of the sequel, the class erupted with questions about the movie that came out on June 15.
We wanted to know everything. Was it as good as the first? What are all baby Jack-Jack’s powers? And, of course, what was the plot?
Trailers for the movie suggested Mrs. Incredible’s (Elastigirl) new career would be the focus of the plot, while Mr. Incredible would learn to handle the work at home.
One student then asked what the main message of the movie was. They said their friend was refusing to see the movie because it promoted feminist values. A semi-awkward silence fell over the room.
Another student replied, “God forbid a woman have a job.” And the student who saw the movie said the focus was family.
I went to see Incredibles 2 with that exchange on my mind.
This is what I saw:
I saw a family of five readjusting after financial hardship. The “supers” were illegal and no longer allowed to fight crime. Mr. and Mrs. Incredible were both out of a job and faced with the hard decision of who would find a regular job to support their family. Mrs. Incredible volunteered because her husband worked at a desk job he hated for years. As a team, they tried to make a plan to care for their family.
I saw a mom offered an opportunity to support her family. Someone approached Mrs. Incredible with a job to help legalize “supers” once again. I saw her rise to the occasion like the superhero she is.
I saw this mom fight crime, problem solve, trust herself and support her family; all things real working moms do every day, both in the office and at home. Pixar portrayed Mrs. Incredible as a strong, confident and capable person; characteristics we all need to develop.
I saw a father learn a new role in the family; he balanced the lives of his three children. Not without a learning curve, of course. Like Mrs. Incredible, he also problem solved, trusted himself and supported his family. He handled putting Jack-Jack to sleep and Violet’s crush on a boy with care and sensitivity, as he learned the best way to help them.
I saw three children discover independence and make good choices. Like their parents, Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack problem solved, trusted themselves and supported their family. They fought at times, especially about who would babysit Jack-Jack, but they learned from their parents that family was the number one priority.
In fact, it was the children who worked together to rescue their parents from the villain with their quick thinking and ability to work together, even if it didn’t go as smoothly as planned.
Some people might say this movie was Pixar’s attempt to make Mrs. Incredible a feminist icon. Maybe she is now, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Family values and feminism are not contradictory. Incredibles 2 focuses on family while also showing how both men and women can support their families.
When I watched Incredibles 2, I saw a strong woman and strong man; a woman who stepped up to support her family and a man that did the same.
I saw learning, growth, compromise, teamwork and a family who loved each other. So, I ask the people who don’t want to watch Incredibles 2 — what’s wrong with that message?