“The Incredibles” is an animated film that focuses on the life of a family in which all members have superhero powers. It is one of those few animated productions that has the unusual ability to reach a big range of ages with its plot, including adults. Beyond the great technique that was used to make this movie –mainly because it is particularly difficult in the animation industry to recreate humans–, the history, using action, comedy suspense, and tenderness, also highlights the difficulties and challenges that the family has, just like every family –no matter if it has special powers or not.
The problems, in this case, come not only from a teenage daughter or a rebel little boy, but also from the difficulty of the dad -Mr. Incredible or, as they called his alter ego, Bob– to accept life in a world where superheroes are feared and, therefore, required to live an ordinary/anonymous life, far different from their glorious past.
This desire is understandable if you consider the fact that, as a superhero, Bob enjoyed great popularity and was dedicated to doing good, and now he is working in a humdrum office job, sitting in a cubicle where he barely fits. He is not the only member of the family that is struggling to get used to an ordinary life, and his wife –Helen, also known as Elastigirl– like any good mother, will suffer to keep the family together.
As sometimes happens, the gifts that you have but don’t use can end up acting against you. Something similar happens to Bob, whose need for approval and thirst for adventure makes him blind to the most valuable thing that he had in front of him, his family, and to seek the meaning of life in the use of his special powers. This will lead him not only to put himself in the hands of his worst enemy, but also to put the lives of his whole family in danger. “Sorry”, he will finally say to Helen in a moment of despair. “I’ve been a bad father, blind to what I have. I was so obsessed with being underestimated, that I underestimated you all.”
It is precisely at the time of more darkness that he will get the necessary power of love from his family. His wife, his great bastion, will say: “If we are going to make this work, you will have to be much more than Mr. Incredible.” Isn’t this true for everybody? Doesn’t the family, every family, sometimes need a real superhero’s effort, not in the sense of having spectacular gifts, but in the sense of a deep commitment and love?
What’s so great about “The Incredibles” precisely is that at the end of the film we realize that they are not amazing for being superheroes, or having awesome powers, but for the precious gift of a united family that holds together because of everyone’s commitment. “I was so caught up in the past… but you are my greatest adventure, and I almost lost it” acknowledges Bob, pointing out that the adventure is not about having great abilities, but to live every day the demands of a simple family love.
The film director, Brad Bird, recognized that family is the central point of this movie: “For me, the interesting part was never the superhero part. It was the dynamics of the family.” Fortunately, unlike many other Hollywood movies, it presents a family that really struggles to stay together, where the focus is not the appearance or external, or personal success or material things, but the deep bond of love that unites them and for which everyone fights like a real superhero.
Translated by: Rudy Villatoro