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“The Incredibles:” Mutants or Libertarian Propagandists?

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I should say right off the bat that now that I’m older/wiser/more politically astute than I was ten years ago, that I think the “‘The Incredibles’ has a kind of icky message” argument is not crazy or wholly off-base. I actually think it has a fair amount of merit. BUT…and you knew the “but” was coming, didn’t you…I’m just not ready to accept that it’s necessarily a correct reading of the film’s message. In fact, I’d say the movie’s main message has nothing to do with “let the supers be super” and has much more to do with the power of the collective.

If you remember when the film began the family at the center of the movie was kinda splintered–the dad was reminiscing about the glory days, mom was doing everything in her power to keep the family together,

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focused and centered on their new, less flashy future, Dash was wanting to be fast and awesome, and Violet was worried about school/friends/boys (like any normal shy teen). Violet and Dash quarreled, Dad was lying to Mom about dipping his toe back into super-ness, and Mom was pretty damn angry when she found out about the toe-dipping. Flash-foward to their time on the island…the family is forced to work together. And it’s only when they’re all pulling together that they can pull themselves out of their jam.

So my takeaway from the film was “you get into trouble when you work at cross-purposes, but when you trust the people you love and work with them, there’s nothing you can’t do.” A naive reading? Perhaps. Let’s talk about it.

And let’s talk about the supers. Some people see them as oppressed Galtians; I guess I just immediately identified them as misfits, freaks, mutants. Even Mutant-mutants. To me they were stand-ins for subversive figures–great artists, writers, thinkers, entertainers. People who shocked you or challenged you or inspired you or made you want to do something incredible yourself.

I suppose I just saw the film through much rosier lenses than others. But I’m happy to take the lenses off and try to see a different point of view. What’s yours?

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