The movie beats the worst baddie of them all: gender norms
I still remember watching The Incredibles for the first time.
The year was 2004. Right off the bat I knew the film was one I’d be asking my mother to purchase a DVD of. Mid-way through the movie, I was completely sucked in by the story and endeared by the characters. After all, I could see my family in them. An office-going dad, an on-top-of-everything mom, three kids who would butt heads at the dinner table. The Incredibles was a movie that pretty much everyone from my generation fell in love with. Kids like me wished long and hard for a sequel, hoping that the sporadic announcements promising a second movie weren’t just hearsay.
14 years down the line, we’re finally getting the sequel we’ve wished so long and hard for. The Incredibles 2 comes out on June 15th and while the mere idea of finally being granted another peek into the Parr family’s misadventures is enough to keep us on the edge of our seats, the trailer gives us even more reason to be excited.
There’s a paradigm shift in this movie. Unlike the original film where Robert worked his desk job all day and Helen’s priority was caring for the kids at home, the follow-up points the spotlight at Elastigirl as she takes on a new, seemingly top-secret assignment. The idea is to thrust supers back into the spotlight. As a capable, level-headed kickass mom? Sounds like the authorities rightfully picked her as the woman for the job.
At home: an endearing kind of chaos ensues. Promising to keep the kids in check while his wife fights off baddies, Robert momentarily puts his super suit away in favor of a pair of glasses on his nose, a pencil behind his ear and a bag of extra diapers.
One look at the trailer tells us that The Incredibles 2 isn’t trying hard to jump on the feminist bandwagon. It genuinely vouches for equality. Holly Hunter, the voice actor who breathes life into Elastigirl, called the film’s director, Brad Bird, a true feminist when she disclosed to Entertainment Weekly, “Brad’s imagination veers off into intensely funny stuff and I find that so fresh. And of course, that also includes the character development of Helen throughout this second movie. It just feels really rich.”
Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl’s character arcs are both crucial in proving a point: women should no longer be limited to household responsibilities, in the same way that it’s okay for men to be stay-at-home fathers. At the same time, this film is also a reminder that feminism doesn’t have to equate to an in-your-face invitation to fight every living, breathing male. Feminism is as simple as asking for a seat at the table, for a shot at doing the same things men are allowed to without question.
It’s about time Disney and Pixar joined forced for a production that actively drives this message, don’t you think?
The Incredibles 2 makes it heroic entrance to cinemas worldwide on June 15th. We’ve been waiting 14 years; don’t miss it!
Art Cara Gamo