Is There a Good Argument for Banning Supers in the Incredibles Universe?
**Spoilers for Incredibles 2.**
The Incredibles was a very important movie for me. It was the first movie where I ever understood a sex joke, and it was the first movie that made me think about the realities of living in a world where people with superpowers exist.
The opening of the first Incredibles is, on one hand, a perfect homage to the golden age of superheroes, but much like its darker cousin, Watchmen, it does dabble in the idea of what the reality of living in a superhero-filled world would look like.
Mr. Incredible is being sued over injuries sustained by one of the men he saved, along with people whom he saved in a train crash who were also harmed. While the people filing the lawsuits are not painted as sympathetic, we are meant to empathize with Mr. Incredible and the supers because their existence has been outlawed, but it also raises questions that every superhero franchise has to deal with at some point: Who holds them accountable?
In the world of The Incredibles, it looks like individual governments. However, does that mean that the government pays out to all the people who are injured? How do you file a claim? Do the citizens have superhero insurance? While the movie ends with the Parr family saving the day, it needs to be noted that, as soon as they come on the scene, that’s when the Underminer strikes.
When Incredibles 2 opens, right after the events of the last movie, the family and Frozone do a lot of damage to the town, without catching the bad guys or saving the money. The movie brings up that they would have done less damage by doing nothing, and it’s treated as an absurd statement, but it is ultimately true.
Superheroes do as much damage as they do good, but there are always going to be casualties. The medium of superhero stories usually allows us to not think about those issues as heavily. The number of people who might inadvertently be killed when Batman speeds through traffic blowing up stuff? Don’t think about it. Every time Superman crashes into a building and people are struck under falling rubble? Don’t think about it.
With The Incredibles, while it also has that same shield, it does invite the question to be asked through its premise, which is why their choice of villain in the sequel is so unsatisfying. Evelyn Deavo (voiced by Catherine Keener) wants to keep superheroes illegal because she feels they make people weak and complacent, so she undermines her brother, Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) in his attempts to change the public’s opinion on superheroes.
Her resentment comes from the fact that their father, who was a huge supporter of the heroes and had his very own phone line to them, was murdered by burglars because, instead of going into the panic room, he attempted to call his superhero friends. At the time, superheroes were illegal, so no one came, which caused the death of both of the Deavors parents’.
Now, not to speak ill of the dead, fictional character Evelyn Deavor, but it sounds like your dad was an idiot. It’s such a weak motivation because of course the right thing to do would have been to go to the panic room. I get that it could be explained that she’s taking out her rage against supers because she hasn’t coped with her parents’ death. Still, it’s the kind of motivation that just falls flat.
What would have been interesting, is if the person working to stop supers from coming back was someone who’d actually been hurt by supers, or a child of that person. Then the argument wouldn’t be “superheroes make people lazy,” it would be “superheroes aren’t held accountable for the damage they do.” That’s even touched on when it’s explained that they want to test out this new superhero PR initiative with Elastigirl, instead of Mr. Incredible, because her powers allow her to do less damage.
We know that those kinds of injuries happen, and having a super’s action be directly responsible for the death of someone during a mission would be a much more interesting conflict than what we got in Incredibles 2.
It’s still an awesome movie, though.
What do you guys think? Did you like the villain in Incredibles 2? And has any storyline ever sold you on the idea that heroes should be outlawed and/or regulated?
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