With Great Power Comes Great Connotations: Strength, Weakness, and The Incredibles

The Incredibles
By  · Published on December 28th, 2016

Each member of the family embraces and defies their expected role.

When we first encounter the members of Pixar’s The Incredibles, it might seems as though they are a traditional family unit, even by the superpowers they boast: dad is super-strong, connoting his place as head of the family; mom has super-elasticity, making her flexible enough to be pulled (literally) every which way at once; the teenage daughter can turn invisible, ironically highlighting her sullen and withdrawn nature; young son has super-speed, the ultimate personification of hyperactive youth; and baby, when his power is revealed, is a shape-shifter, meaning he has the potential to grow into (again, literally) anything he wants to. However, while these superpowers do reflect each character’s most basic roles within their collective unit, this is a Pixar flick, they aren’t just going to leave things that typical.

Therefore, each family member’s power is also a reflection of their individual weaknesses. Dad’s strength prevents him from expressing his emotional side, which leads to aggressive outbursts; mom’s flexibility applies to everyone but herself, causing her to feel overwhelmed and underappreciated; daughter’s invisibility leads to social and emotional isolation, which manifest as identity issues; and brother’s abundance of energy with a lack of direction causes him to act out and engage in troublesome activities. Only baby Jack is a reversal of this, isolated from his family because of his normalcy ‐ his weakness ‐ until his powers show up.

It is in the overlapping spaces where the advantages of superpowers mix with the disadvantages that The Incredibles really become heroes. What they can achieve on their own as individuals is nothing compared to what they can do when they use each other to fill in the gaps between their strengths and weaknesses.

These gaps, these gray areas, are the focus of the following video from ScreenPrism, “The Incredibles Symbolism: The Power of Family.” Over the course of three succinct minutes, it’s revealed that like every family, superpowered or not, the total of The Incredibles is greater than the sum of their parts, and their real heroism lies in being true to themselves and each other.

How typically, perfectly Pixar of them.

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