Study Guide

The Incredibles Identity

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MR. INCREDIBLE: Every superhero has a secret identity. I don't know a single one who doesn't. Who wants the pressure of being super all the time?

Superheroes like Mr. Incredible are forced split their lives between two totally separate identities. Every Superman has a Clark Kent; every Wonder Woman has a Diana Prince. Unlike his two more famous peers, however, Mr. Incredible/Bob Parr isn't as good at juggling the two.

MR. INCREDIBLE: Sometimes I think I'd just like the simple life, you know? Relax a little and raise a family.

At first, Mr. Incredible seems eager to put his superhero identity on the shelf in favor of life as an Average Family Man™. It's a nice thought and all, but his actions later in the film speak otherwise.

HELEN: I love you, but if we're gonna make this work, you've gotta be more than Mr. Incredible. You know that. Don't you?

This moment at Helen and Bob's wedding is an important one. Helen has read the tea leaves and can see that Bob is going to have a harder time adjusting to family life than he realizes. The dude was late to his own wedding, after all. Hope he has a prenup.

REPORTER: The supers will be granted amnesty from responsibility for past actions, in exchange for the promise to never again resume hero work.

And then, in a moment, it's all gone. With the Superhero Relocation Program officially banning superheroes from using their powers, Bob may have to give up being Mr. Incredible for good. All Clark Kent and no Superman makes Bob a dull boy.

HELEN: Everyone's special, Dash.

DASH: Which is another way of saying no one is.

Bob and Helen's children have superpowers, but unlike the 'rents, they've never had the opportunity to use them. In Dash's case, this makes him feel like he can't show off what makes him special. And is he wrong?

RICK: We gotta pay to keep the company quiet. We gotta pay damages, erase memories, relocate your family [...] We can't keep doing this, Bob. [...] From now on, you're on your own.

Here, it's suggested that Bob has used his superpowers quite a few times since the superhero ban—and each time his family has been relocated and forced to start anew. Putting aside the obviously harmful effects this could have on the kids, it shows that Bob is still incredibly conflicted about the loss of his identity as Mr. Incredible.

.MIRAGE: Hello, Mr. Incredible. Yes, we know who you are. Rest assured, your secret is safe with us.

When Mirage sends Bob a message offering him a job as a superhero, it's like a dream come true. Finally someone else sees him as he sees himself—as Mr. Incredible the hero, not Bob Parr the washed-up insurance adjuster with a bangin' dad bod.

EDNA: You are Elastigirl, my God, pull yourself together. What will you do? Is this a question? Show him you remember that he is Mr. Incredible, and you will remind him who you are.

We've focused a lot on Bob here, but Helen has her own struggle with identity in the film. While Bob wistfully longs for his past life as a superhero, Helen tries to pretend that it didn't happen. Is either one a healthy reaction? Not really. If Helen was really at peace with her past identity, she wouldn't be so unwilling to revisit it.

HELEN: [to the children] Put these on. Your identity is your most valuable possession. Protect it. And if anything goes wrong, use your powers.

After the kids smuggle themselves aboard Helen's jet, they get thrust headlong into their parents' world of superheroes and super villains. But they're not just along for the ride: they're part of it. For the first time in their lives they're actually allowed to use their powers, and this brings the family closer together than ever before.

[The family is preparing to fight the Omnidroid]

BOB: I'm asking you to wait with the kids.

HELEN: And I'm telling you not a chance. You're my husband. I'm with you for better or worse.

In the end, both Bob and Helen make peace with their super-heroic past. Yes, they're parents. And yes, they're superheroes. These things don't have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, by working together as both superheroes and spouses, they somehow bring these two separate selves together in a meaningful way.

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