The Incredibles

incredibles

The Incredibles
Rating: PG
Run Time: 115 minutes
Released: 2004
Director: Brad Bird

Cultural Rating: pawpaw

Overall this film challenges traditional gender roles regarding masculinity and femininity to an extent; however, the film does little to engage in other marginalized cultural identities. 

Summary

A superhero family must work together to defeat a villain who is trying to eliminate the superhero do-gooders of the world.


Ratings

Language: poo

  • Demeaning language
  • “rat,” insect,” “idiot”

Violence: poopoo

  • Roughhousing between siblings
  • Machine throws characters around
  • Slapping, punching, strangling
  • Weapons- guns, missile, bombs, general explosions
  • Attempted suicide-person falls down a building
  • Torture by electrocution
  • Plane crash
  • Decaying corpse

Sex: poo

  • Sexual innuendos
  • Butt slap
  • Kissing

Drugs and Alcohol: poo

  • A mimosa is referenced and visible
  • Cigarette smoking

Cultural Analysis

 Pros:

Gender:

  • Men and women are depicted as powerful superheroes who, at times, challenge traditional gender roles. For example, the female superheroes engage in confrontations with villains (beating “bad” people with a stick, punching “bad” people) and participate in active pursuits (such as flying an airplane) and a male superhero is shown crying because he thinks his family is in danger.

Race:

  • There are a few minor characters of color included in the film.

 Sexual Orientation: N/A

Disability: N/A

Body:

  • There are many body types shown.

Cons:

Gender:

  • While female superheroes do play a significant role in the film, their protective nature is often emphasized while the active nature of the male superheroes is often emphasized. For example, Mrs. Incredible’s body is regularly used as a means to protect her children and Violet’s force field and invisibility are often used as a protective measures as well. Further, Mr. Incredible is regularly depicted as actively pursuing the villain (punching, lifting) and is depicted as the head of the household.
  • The superheroes adhere to traditional gender roles in “everyday” society as Mrs. Incredible is a stay at home mom shown performing the household duties (vacuuming, preparing dinner, meeting with the principal for a child’s misbehavior) and Mr. Incredible is depicted as the character who provides the primary income for the family and as the ultimate disciplinarian for the children (even though Mr. Incredible does not perform this role well). In addition, Violet is introverted while Dash is competitive and extroverted.
  • A female character is used as a bargaining tool between a villain and a superhero (adhering to the damsel in distress trope).
  • Mirage, who is racially ambiguous, is sexualized and her character lacks depth.
  • The male gaze is present in the film. For example, the camera lingers on parts of women’s bodies (specifically their legs).

Race:

  • There are no major characters of color.
  • Frozone, who appears to be black, has a nagging, angry wife who is never shown in the film but only heard off-screen.

Sexual Orientation:

Disability:

  • A villain, called the Underminer, appears to have mechanical arms. A trope surrounding people with disabilities in the media perpetuates the notion that people with disabilities are evil.

Body:

  • In the beginning of the film, Mr. Incredible is depicted as masculine as a result of his noble societal feats and muscular build and strength. However, 15 years later, Mr. Incredible is depicted as grotesque as he is fat-bodied (shown eating cake), brutish, and sad. Further, Mr. Incredible’s fat body is depicted as comedic. However, after Mr. Incredible gets back “in shape,” his life starts to turn around and his masculinity is restored as a result.
  • It is implied that Mrs. Incredible is displeased with her body as she catches a glimpse of her backside in a mirror.
  • One of the villains has scars and missing teeth. This is a problem because we often see non-normative bodies as a marker of immoral character. For example, people with scars or missing teeth are often seen as evil or unintelligent.

Suggested talking points

  • Mrs. Incredible’s superhero costume includes black high heels in order to reinforce her femininity despite high heels having no practical purpose for a villain-fighting superhero.
  • While the primary theme in the film centers on the love of family, heterosexual romantic relationships are depicted as significant for happiness. For example, at the end of the film, Violet plans a date with the boy she had been romantically interested in since the beginning of the film.
  • In contemporary media, “gingers” (fair-skinned and redheaded individuals) have been depicted in a pejorative manner. In this film, the main villain is a fair-skinned, freckled, and has red hair. How else have you seen fair-skinned and redheaded individuals depicted in the media?
  • Mirage, who is reduced to a sexualized trope, is punched in the face by Mrs. Incredible as the result of a misunderstanding. In a patriarchal society, women are taught to get mad at the “temptress” or “other woman” instead of directing the blame at their significant other.

Image: Amazon.com

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