Episode 520: The Cookie and the Demon Baby

On the Overthinking It Podcast, we tackle Disney & Pixar’s “The Incredibles 2.”

Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather overthink Disney & Pixar’s The Incredibles 2, the known vs the unknown, and the possibly anti-piracy message of the movie.

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2 Comments on “Episode 520: The Cookie and the Demon Baby”

  1. L33tminion #

    As to what Mr. Incredible gains from the baby’s sleepover that changes things so much: It’s not the new clothes, it’s the 17 hours of sleep.

    I also like the the film gives some character reasons for E to accept the babysitting gig that aren’t related to her being particularly maternal. The bit about how Jack-Jack’s creative potential mirrors E’s is right on, the fact that she “sees herself in him” is pretty much spelled out.

    (Also, I’m surprised that you didn’t give more attention to the “parenting, done correctly, can be a heroic act” line, which struck me as a very “here’s the theme of this movie” line.)


  2. Three Act Destructure #

    Bird seems to be answering back to some of his own critics in this film. The first Incredibles is very insular for a superhero flick, stripping away the society that they’re reactive to by stranding the family on an island of henchfolks for most of the action. That laser-focused the theming around identity and the battle between “supers” and the mundane.

    Then take a look at Incredibles 2: when those very same supers are being manipulated by a hypnotist who strong-arms people’s perceptions through the media their brain-dead revolutionary patter sounds an awful lot like the “rational self-interest” that people have accused Bird of espousing. But note that this is still the Incredibles so, while the Parrs have graduated up to being able to actually save people again (although still in ethical conflict with the government: “politicians don’t trust people who do good just because it’s the right thing to do”), their antagonist is only concerned with attacking the superhero community itself. Screen Slaver never chooses to brainwash the whole city, even though she clearly can, which I think says a lot about what Bird finds interesting about these archetypes and it’s all still firmly rooted in identity rather than physical danger.

    Instead, Screen Slaver is basically the internet “hot take” as a person: anxious about and dismissive of real human contact but always ready to find a sinister cultural motivation in everything (even random personal tragedies), pointedly never admitting fault, and only capable of using the devices of modern communication by violating others, brute-forcing away the subtleties of their individual perspectives and replacing them with her simplistic and destructive agenda. Pretty danged on-the-nose (also, very much the real-world flip of the over-indulged fanboy from the first film). This is also why her ability to hide behind anonymity while still being close to the family (just to cash out that QAnon reference) is more dangerous than any of the neutral but omnipresent screens in the film, even when Jack-Jack is watching Outer Limits. At least he’s not surfing Gawker, I guess?

    By the by, Screen Slaver’s only given access to the supers because of their new marketing department which, while well-intentioned, is ready to shake hands with a few too many people it seems. This is definitely an insider’s view of the role of selling someone else’s work to the public that is less cynical and more cooperative than most of us would assume coming out of the mind of a writer/director but still views the act as potentially dangerous unless reined in and subsumed into the goals of the creative workers themselves. There’s even a whole discussion about selling vs. creating and the distinct power of each; one that passes the Bechdel test by the way.

    Oh man, a really in-depth feminist reading of this film would be very interesting. You could mine a lot out of just the decision to have Violet be the one who finally chooses to stays behind with Jack-Jack. That and having Void be the one who mostly talks and represents the group when everyone is brainwashed. Lots of interesting small stuff going on here in the middle of this whole conversation about gender roles.

    Oh, and just bouncing around from topic to topic here, but I think it’s neat to see a movie where what solves the parental dilemmas is so often the disobedience of their children; which still needs to be punished, or at least frowned upon, but which also saves the day. Think Dash and stealing the car.


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