Do you work 9-5, have a family to take care of at home and feel like the world is on your shoulders? If so you might be a superhero. Don’t believe me? Well I don’t know if I would either. As a child I learned from watching Saturday morning cartoons and reading comic books that superhero’s were these ‘god-like’ characters that would save the girl and defeat the bad guy. They didn’t have families, they didn’t have jobs, they were just superheroes.
In the 2004 Disney blockbuster hit, The Incredibles, we are introduced to the Parr Family. The Parr’s are a reflection of the average American family in that they face many of the same issues that family’s face. From the struggle to spend quality time with family to money issues, The Parr’s resemble a ‘real-life’ family that most people can relate too. As we all know though, Disney puts a twist to it all. The Parr’s are actually superheroes trying to fit into society. The movie may seem like another made for kids movie, but it has a deeper meaning to it. While its messages may not be as obvious as such movies such as Crash, it is able to connect with society based on its stereotypes and social messages.
You Are A Superhero
So you probably still don’t believe you are a superhero, but that is about to change. Let’s take the character of Bob Parr who is also known as Mr. Incredible. Mr. Incredible used to be a famous superhero known for saving lives everyday. The movie fast forwards fifteen years later, to Mr. Incredible and his wife, Elastigirl, both of whom have adopted civilian identities and attempt to live a “normal life”. Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl also have three children who also have super powers: Violet, Dash and baby Jack. The movies main plot focuses on the struggle of Mr. Incredible and his desire to return to super hero work which has been outlawed by the government due to too many failed “rescue attempts” by heroes.
Believe it or not, but you may be closer to Mr. Incredible than you think. Mr. Incredible’s powers are super strength. While the audience may just see this as his special ability, there is more to it. In the family unit, Mr. Incredible is the father or “head of the family” as some see it. As the “head of the family”, society has stereotyped it where the father has to be strong and able to support the family, thus Mr. Incredible’s powers exemplify that. During college you work hard so that you can get a good job and be able to support a family if you so choose. In essence, you have worked hard in college to become a ‘superhero.’
Mr. Incredible isn’t the only hero in the movie that you can relate too. Elastigirl has powers that represent the stereotype of the mother in a family. As the mother of the family, we as a society have the generalization that the wife or mother should be able to be flexible and able to handle many different tasks at once. For example, being able to pick up the kids from soccer practice, cook dinner, clean up the home and more. Elastigirl’s powers are being able to stretch herself far distances just like a rubber band.
Not only do the parents have powers that convey the stereotypical family roles, but the children do as well. There teenage daughter Violet has the ability to make herself transparent and create a shield around her. This ability of hers is parallel to the typical teenagers by society’s standards. Her ability to make her self transparent relates to a teen’s insecurity at her age and their lack of confidence, and the shield that she is able to create, correlates to a the wall most teens build around themselves as they feel they need space. The son in the movie, Dash, represents the stereotypical 5-7 year old boy. Dash’s power is the ability to run lightning fast. In the movie, we see him full of energy and eager to use his powers when ever needed. His powers represent the energy that 5-7 year old boys have at this age. During this age they have the most energy and are always running around. The last family member of the Incredible family is baby Jack. At the end of the movie we see baby Jack exhibit different powers. He changes from a green goblin to a fireball to rocket in a matter of seconds. This scene is trying to show that baby Jack’s powers are not yet determined because babies are always growing and changing. The scene where he changes powers is just an example of a baby’s growth and change.
You may not be the able to lift a train with just one finger nor run at the speed of light, but you are a superhero in your own respect. If you carry responsibility, you work hard to support others and you aspire to be the best you can, then you are a superhero. You don’t have to stop bullets or beat up bad guys to be a superhero. Sometimes being a superhero just means being average.