The Incredibles

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He lies, he deceives, and he is our hero: Mr. Incredible.

That doesn't sound right.

In this movie, The Incredibles by Brad Bird, it is shown that it is better to be without the American dream because it leads characters to commit immoral actions. Both antihero and hero are lumped together for they both debase their characters in their conquest to their own version of dreams.

It was the golden age'quite literally. In the opening of the movie, the setting that proceeds is bathed in a golden hue. Gestures are more dramatic and the entire environment seems like it could be pulled from the pages of an eight year old's comic book. Mr. Incredible at his prime is respected, idolized, well known and well liked. He is also terribly arrogant. The celebrity status of his accomplished dream corrupts his character. What we expect to see in this hero figure is a character that should be perfect, incredible. Disney humanizes this 'untouchable' figure and shows a side that isn't particularly golden through his interaction with Buddy Pine, self-proclaimed 'Incrediboy', Mr. Incredible's devoted, and unwanted, 'number one fan' and 'ward.'

In the first interaction we see between them Mr. Incredible spits out, 'Look, I've been nice, I've stood for photos, signed every scrap of paper you pushed at me, but this'''referring to the obvious intrusion of space of Buddy in his car'when Buddy replies, 'Oh, no, no, you don't have to worry about training me! I know all your moves, your crime-fighting style, favorite catchphrases, everything! I'm your number one fan!' Mr. Incredible promptly ejects Buddy out of his car where he lands comically on the hard concrete sidewalk. The implication and depth of this moment is lost to the viewer who identifies with the strong hero. When Buddy is ejected from his car, he is thrown out of his dream and ungracefully lands on the unyielding pavement, abandoned and alone. Mr. Incredible, while at his dream, is also at one of his worst points in character.

Buddy, while nowhere near his ultimate dream, which is slightly sad because he strives to be a sidekick'a supporting role in his own story, he is at his best in character. He's so eager to please and help his idol, Mr. Incredible. Buddy fights for acceptance by Mr. Incredible and while he believes that 'you can be super without powers' he desperately craves the validation that only his hero can give him. Buddy is shown to be a hard working, albeit a slightly desperate, character that eventually gives under the constant glare of disapproval of his hero and is shoved into the role of antagonist in the story.

Yes, Mr. Incredible is saving lives and rescuing cats from trees but he is also ejecting a little kid from his car. He fails to see consequences for his actions and that leads to the end of this 'golden era.'

Fifteen years and fifty pounds later' when you picture Superman at his day job, this is not what you see. The previously incredible 'Mr. Incredible' is now Bob; Bob, at the insurance firm, working in his suffocatingly cramped cubicle. 'One distracted guy' Bob. Stripped of his dream, he suffers daily through severe detachment from the 'normal' and 'average' life society deemed it fair to thrust him in. By listening to a police scanner, his only salvation, he risks up rooting his family but is able to get a small spark that keeps him alive and allows his to relive his glory days.

When Mirage, a fellow underground super who represents a mysterious employer, comes to Bob, who is so obsessed with being undervalued, and appeals to him in a message stating, 'The supers aren't gone Mr. Incredible, you're still here. You can still do great things. Or, you can listen to police scanners. Your choice.' Unsurprisingly, he runs with this almost-too-good-to-be-true proposition. This scene is important for in it is where Mr. Incredible tells his first lie, and while a seemingly small and insignificant action it 'breaks the seal' on the string of lies that he builds his quest on to achieve his dream.

The mysterious employer revealed in the last assignment is the result of Mr. Incredible's actions toward a certain little boy from his glory days. When this character comments on the monstrous machine ready to injure the hero saying, 'You know, I went through quite a few supers to make it worthy to fight you, but man, it wasn't good enough! After you trashed the last one, I had to make some major modifications. Sure, it was difficult, but you are worth it. I mean, after all'' he pauses and quietly utters 'I am your biggest fan.' Mr. Incredible recognizes the last line and tentatively questions, ''Buddy?' To this the antagonist explosively replies, 'My name is not Buddy! And it's not Incrediboy, either. That ship has sailed. All I wanted was to help you. I only wanted to help, and what do you say to me?' In a flashback, the viewer sees from Buddy's point of view Mr. Incredible looking condescendingly down his nose stating, 'Fly home, Buddy. I work alone.' The next line hands insight to the viewer into the mental state of the fallen disciple of the hero,' It tore me apart. But I learned an important lesson. You can't count on anyone, especially your heroes.' The childhood experience Buddy had with his idol twisted his version of his American dream. He pushed himself to pursue this dream and in that journey invented terrible inventions that he used to support wars to gain money in his plot to gain revenge against the very characters that caused him so much grief in his childhood'the superheroes.

In the conclusion of this Disney movie, the villain is still the villain and the hero will always save the day. Syndrome is dead, his cape'the stereotypical symbol of a hero'ironically leads him to his demise inside an airplane turbine. Mr. Incredible is now at a variation of his dream because while he is able to use his powers again to 'save the day' it is sans the arrogance of his younger years. Society ultimately decides the fate of the ending and, where mob mentality once reigned and created a general distain of the success of the heroes, has deemed it to their advantage to allow the supers to once again use their powers for the greater good against the forces of evil.





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