Single Status Update
I wonder if The Incredibles was a double meaning: both for the family and overall film quality.
The last time I tried to watch it fully, I got bored halfway and never finished. Watching it again and finishing it gives me a completely fresh perspective on this classic.
Aside from the storytelling and character work, Pixar's best strength is creativity. Whether it's executed or not, they're not afraid to delve into unique concepts. The Incredibles is one of its mot unique. Set in a 1960's environment, it tackles the superhero genre by combining that with family simultaneously. Superheroes marry and have three kids. But due to growing bigotry of Supers and expensive lawsuits, the government mandates that every Super to hide in a "normal" environment. Many themes are sprinkled and tackled throughout, and the concept of assimilation's one of 'em.
In addition to assimilation, the genocide of Supers by obsessed fan turned bad, Syndrome, has supreme stakes. Early in the film, Lucius and Bob wonder where every Super friend has gone since the program began. Initially, it sounded like some throwaway line, but when Mr. Incredible investigated Syndrome's crimes, suddenly it wasn't so light anymore. His friends vanished, all right. Forever.
Syndrome's one of Disney's best villains. Returning from my last status:Quote
Syndrome's the personification of fan behavior gone bad. Whiny and entitled. But is he a stereotype? Not even close. His behavior doesn't come this "just because" nor is it one-tracked or a makeup of very single Super fan. As selfish as he was, he cared about doing good, but only became bad after he felt Mr. Incredible wronged him. Heck, Mr. Incredible admitted to this mistake and apologized, only for Syndrome to reject it under the guise of it being false. For a kid like him, that type of embarrassment can impact him for the future, and that's exactly what happened.
But that only short-changes his complexity. Great villains have plausible motivations, and as @Captain Clark explained to me, subtle touches add plenty. For example:
- He dropped an i-shaped bomb into the water where Mr. Incredible landed. Look at the shape of the letter, including the bullet above the "i." All borrowed from Mr. Incredible's original super-suit.
- "I'm your biggest fan."
- His plan: to destroy every Super so that his inventions can be sold to the Ordinaries and they become Supers, too.
Return to his plan. Why is he such a great villain? Because he's a character first. Rather than your generic threat, Syndrome's multi-layered. He's super-powerful and super-smart, but also super-insecure. He dwells on that faithful night, never forgets it, and uses it for his inventions and plan. When everyone becomes Super, he can really hide his inferiority complex, further established by the a-bomb subversion late in the film. Instead of blowing up the city, the rocket crash-lands a shuttle and activates his AI robot to tear it apart, with only he witty enough to defeat it.
On top of that, he's extremely competent. Pay attention to his humor, monologuing, attention to detail, and extreme ability to com prepared. While he's no natural Super, his brain works overtime. In addition to studying superheroes, he equally studied supervillains, taking their greatest downfalls and solving them so he can one-up the hero's game. Ironic that two things led to his downfall: a brief monologue and his cape (foreshadowed by the darkly hilarious montage early on).
Syndrome's foils, the Parrs/Incredibles, are some of Pixars's best characters (and perhaps best family). All five love each other, and despite Jack-Jack not having much character till later, everyone has an incredible balance of strengths and weaknesses. When they were forced to hid their identities, the Parr house was becoming more and more stressed out. Families don't always get along, and after Bob and Lucius nearly get caught, Helen and Bob get into a heated argument. We as an audience see what hiding's doing to them.
Another little bit is after Helen, Violet, and Dash barely escape Syndrome's missiles. Minutes earlier, Elastigirl frantically orders Violet to activate her force field, but due to massive insecurities, she can't. That night, as Elastigirl was about to leave the cave to find Bob, Violet runs to her, expressing regret for letting everyone down. She assured that it wasn't her fault and that her force field will come when she needs it. Small but important, it influenced Violet's character development for the rest of the movie.
There's a lot more to write about The Incredibles's mastery, such as the humor, Edna, action, and music score, but it's getting late here, so I'll end it. Altogether, it's a wonderful film, and I can't recommend it enough.