Study Guide

The Incredibles Themes

  • Identity

    Spiderman has Peter Parker. Wonder Woman has Diana Prince. Groot has...well, he's just Groot. 

    The point we're trying to make is that all most superheroes have secret identities, and The Incredibles are no exception. The only difference is that in The Incredibles, superheroes have been banned by the government, leaving our titular heroes with nothing but their boring secret identities to keep them warm at night. Far from being an easy transition, this seismic shift shatters our heroes' sense of self, leaving them unsure of who they are now that the capes and cowls are catching only dust bunnies in the corner closet.

    Questions About Identity

    1. Why are superpowers so tied to identity for Bob and Dash?
    2. Does Helen struggle with her own sense of identity? Why or why not?
    3. How does Bob's sense of identity change over the course of the movie?
    4. How does the idea of a "secret identity" for a superhero relate to the film's themes?

    Chew on This

    Because Bob spent so much of his life as Mr. Incredible, his superpowers are unavoidably associated with his sense of identity.

    Bob's growth over the course of the film is the merging of his two primary identities: Bob the father and Mr. Incredible the hero.

  • Family

    Nobody thinks that their family is normal, but trust us—your goofy dad has nothing on Mr. Incredible. Parents Bob and Helen are superheroes, first off, which carries its fair share of baggage. But their kids have powers too, and they live in a world where superheroes are banned by the government. So what are they to do? 

    Conflicted by their thwarted desires to reveal their true selves to the world, the Parr family goes through some serious trials together over the course of The Incredibles, ultimately emerging closer than ever before.

    Questions About Family

    1. Are the Parrs a healthy family at the beginning of the film? Explain.
    2. Why does Bob frequently fail to be present as a father?
    3. How are Bob and Helen's parenting styles different? How are they similar?
    4. What are Violet and Dash's roles in the family? Are they content with those roles?

    Chew on This

    The Parrs are certainly not healthy at the film's onset, as they're unable to genuinely connect with and be honest with each other.

    Although they start the film in conflict, the Parrs are definitely a healthy family, as proven by their loyalty to each other when times get hard.

  • Strength and Skill

    Everybody wishes that they had superpowers, but what if you had them, but weren't allowed to use them? That's the predicament facing our titular heroes in The Incredibles. With superheroes officially banned by the government, this super-powered family is left struggling to figure out how to fit in. Young Dash gets in trouble at school. His sister Violet struggles with self-confidence. And father Bob careens into a full-blown midlife crisis. Although they react differently, each family member faces the same conflict between their knowledge of their own strength and their inability to show it.

    Questions About Strength and Skill

    1. How do Violet and Dash's relationship with their powers differ?
    2. Do Helen and Bob react differently to the Superhero Relocation Program. If so, explain.
    3. What does "power" and "strength" mean for Syndrome? Do they mean different things to Mr. Incredible?
    4. How do each of the characters' powers relate to their personality?

    Chew on This

    Dash acts out in school because he isn't allowed to us his powers, which makes him feel like there's nothing special about him.

    Because Syndrome was not born with superpowers, he sees strength as something to be inflicted on others, rather than used to help them.

  • Dissatisfaction

    A midlife crisis isn't anything to write home about. But midlife crisis with a side order of superpowers? Sign us up. In The Incredibles, Bob Parr—formerly known as Mr. Incredible—is having difficult time now that he's put up the costume and put on the dad jeans. He resents his job for wasting his potential. He resents his wife for not sympathizing with his struggle. He even resents his kids for expecting him to be a good dad. The nerve of those brats, eh? In the end, Bob is forced to confront these problems directly and choose once and for all what kind of man he wants to be.

    Questions About Dissatisfaction

    1. Why does Bob go through a midlife crisis? Is there any way he could have avoided it?
    2. Why does Dash act out so much in school?
    3. Is Helen dissatisfied with life as a wife and mother? Explain.
    4. Are the members of the Parr family still dissatisfied with life at the end of the film? Defend your position.

    Chew on This

    Like a former high school quarterback or washed up musician, Bob can't stand being a regular joe after living a life of fame and glory.

    Like his dad, Dash Parr is dissatisfied with life because he feels like he can't show off what makes him special: his superpowers.