I was just watching the female Incredibles. Helen Parr is *amazing*. She's dedicated to being retired and to keeping her children "underground", because, as a Hero, she's also law-abiding. But, even so, in the intervening fifteen years, she has managed to keep her jet pilot's license current, and maintained enough of a relationship with the government that she could call in *major* favors - or offer to do them. Because the lady managed to "borrow" a government jet and fly it herself.
And once she decides she's going back into action, she's there. She puts on the suit (I still maintain that a little skirt would have improved things, but, hey.) and she's on the plane. And when there's a crisis, she switches from mother to pilot/superhero in *seconds*, making split second decisions. I was reminded, of all things. of Geena Davis in Commander-in-Chief, who does the same thing. There's no doubt she's a mother who loves her kids; there's equally no doubt that she *is* the President and focus entirely on what she needs to do. Funny how that isn't required of men...
Except, in the Incredibles, it *is*. Bob's family *does* come first, and his despair is very real when he believes they're dead - and then he shows what a Hero he is. He has nothing left to lose - his family was his life - and yet he cannot kill. Because that's what a Hero is.
This is, of course, what Syndrome gets wrong, just as - huh. Donald Sutherland's Speaker of the House gets it wrong. It's not the toys or the abilities that make you super, just as it isn't the lust for power that makes you great. It's what you choose to do with them. Edna Mole, who has no "super" abilities, is "super" because she chooses to use her considerable skills and knowledge to create suits that make the heroes safer or enhance their abilities - and through that, she helps those they help. A superhero gets his/her abilities and thinks, "Wow. Think of all the people I can *help*." He doesn't think, "Wow. How rich I can be." A president doesn't think, "Wow, I'm in charge of the entire free world. Cool!". He thinks, "Oh, my God. I'm in charge of the entire free world. There's so much I need to do."
And then there's Violet, who has spent her entire life being told to *not* use her abilities, to stay hidden. So she has, behind a curtain of hair. And so when her mother told her to make a forcefield bigger than she'd ever done, she couldn't. And it hurts her, because she couldn't save her mother and brother. And then, when her mother turns into a boat and her bother uses his speed to move them, she can only sit there, looking miserable. But it's not a sulking miserable - the animators were brilliant. It was despair. "I let them down and now I can't even help get us to safety."
But her mother reasures her, because her mother maybe strident and a little paranoid, but she's also a good mother. And she puts Violet in charge, and gives them masks. And Violet puts on the mask and pushes the hair away from her face. But she's not hiding - she's coming into her own so that even when she takes off the mask, her hair stays back. Because she is a Hero - she can protect her family, she can use her invisibility and she can even make her forecfields into weapons. She even rescues everyone else.
It's...I love this movie.