OK, one of the big things we have to keep in mind when watching the recently-dropped trailer (some call it a “teaser” or “sneak peak,” but there’s quite a bit of material in it) for Incredibles 2 is one of the central themes of the first movie: that Society was interested in “holding back” “super people,” all in the name of “fairness.”
As this new spot opens, we see the Incredibles family respond to some sort of incident that ends in an explosion. Was this botched somehow, and/or the incident blamed on the family’s response? In the next scene, some time has passed, and it is noted that superheroes are now “illegal.” Little Dash is obviously angry at this situation, commenting, “I want to fight bad guys!” and then adding, with a tough expression, “It defines who I am.”
The dad, somewhat surprised to hear Dash say something so adult, then questions it, to which Dash shrugs and says, “Someone on TV said it.”
Now, that’s very interesting to me, because here you have the boy getting riled up about people who are “holding back his identity,” basically—echoes of the first movie. And he learns the rhetoric on TV (might have as well been the Internet, but perhaps that’d be too on-the-nose).
ENTER: the outwardly-friendly but probably secretly evil Tech Tycoon Archetype we’ve been seeing everywhere these days. Part of a company called Devtech, he wants to help bring “Supers” back…but apparently, only Elastigirl, not her husband.
This parallels a trend in pop-culture (and, in tech too, I think—at least for the good PR) to highlight female involvement and role-models. More people are interested in watching Wonder Woman than Ben Affleck as Batman, for instance. There’s female protagonists in both the new Star Wars trilogy and its spinoff Rogue One, and so on and so on.
And so for the majority of the “sneak peak” we see mostly Mr. Incredible do a “Mr. Mom” pastiche, struggling to take care of the children. Though Elastigirl is theoretically getting the “spotlight,” we are mostly seeing things from his perspective.
And this is the perspective of a man who is increasingly agitated not only with his new role, but even things like the “new math” his son is assigned for homework. “This is the way THEY want us to do it,” Dash says. “Math is math,” complains a frustrated Mr. Incredible. Some things are just a priori the “way things are”…why change them?
And really, Mr. Incredible looks more and more physically haggard and emotionally distraught throughout the spot—red-faced, bags under his eyes—contrasted with Elastigirl seemingly having the time of her life (drag-racing on her motorcycle, luxuriating in her hotel room). You get the impression that she is “finding herself” and taking the spotlight at not only her husband’s expense—but the family’s as well.
“I’ve got to succeed,” he says to Frozone, looking like he’s about to murder somebody, “so SHE can succeed…SO WE CAN SUCCEED!!!!”
This crescendos with the baby scenes at the end, where first he grabs the TV remote and briefly “teleports” (symbolizing the unattended child using media in an unpredictable and possibly dangerous way; foreshadowed by Dash at the beginning), and then he LITERALLY TURNS INTO A SATAN MONSTER.
So what is the underlying message conveyed through all this?
There is something in the Incredibles universe that wants to “hold back” the “Supers,” that is suppressing their “identity.” This might be connected with “the break-up of the Family,” in which the mother is offered the opportunity to shine leaving the father at home—resulting in the neglected baby turning into a literal demon.
WHO is doing all this, rattling the traditional Family Unit? “THEY.”
“They,” the same people who push the “New Math”…who push for new ways of looking at math, disturbing the natural order of things—”MATH IS MATH.” Just like: “The woman’s place is either by the side of her man, and/or taking care of the children.” The natural order of things: the “superiors” should be allowed to be proud of their “superiority.” By putting “curbs” on the activities of the Supers, and insisting on a more level playing field, They are robbing fine little boys like Dash of his “identity.”
This is why, when I see conservative people online complain about how “liberal” Disney is, I just laugh. Disney is neither conservative or liberal. Disney is a Corporation, and they are going to put out material that keys-in to what is going to bring in the biggest box-office. And for a “family” film with a well-known brand…keying into the growing paranoia of a conservative segment of the American population is going to produce a subconscious but visceral response of resonance. “Everything is going to hell these days…they’re trying to change too much of the natural order!”
And the “geeky” fans who tend to be more progressive will still go to the movie anyway & celebrate it because “fandom” and “collectibles” and so forth; since outwardly, Elastigirl is being “pushed” in the PR materials, Incredibles 2 still seems outwardly a “Girl Power” movie.
It’s a win/win, grabbing as big a slice of the demographic pie as humanly possible; and if you were an entertainment exec for a big media concern and not thinking in this strategy, you’d basically be useless.
Anyway, enjoy the video: