After 14 long years, Pixar’s superhero family returns to the big screen in The Incredibles 2. The film is set for release on June 15, and it’s one of the most highly-anticipated sequels of all time. Fans can’t wait to see the Parr family return. When they do, much as in the first film, the sequel will focus on the superhero family’s unique dynamic.

Although The Incredibles was about the entire family working as a team, most of the film focused on Bob Parr, aka Mr. Incredible. Bob embodied strength and leadership even as he went through a mid-life crisis. He longed for the “glory days” when he was a famous superhero, which seems more appealing than living a regular suburban life. Eventually, with the help of his family, Bob found his purpose. In the end, he remembered why he appreciates his life and his family.

The Incredibles 2 has a paradigm shift that will serve as a major plot point. The film will still partially focus on Bob, who finds himself in a very different family role. This time, Helen Parr, aka Elastigirl, steps up to become the breadwinner, while Bob essentially becomes a stay-at-home dad. That’s not a dynamic we often see on screen, especially in the context of a superhero movie. The Incredibles 2 storyline also opens the door for a deeper discussion about gender roles as it pushes back against negative stereotypes.

Social Issues And Family Dynamics In Entertainment

[Credit: Disney/Pixar]

We’re in the middle of a huge shift when it comes to representation in media. Black Panther and Wonder Woman have helped shatter archaic ideas about people of color and women in entertainment. We are finally seeing a shift towards representation; as a result, more social and cultural issues are being presented to mainstream audiences. The success of these films has kickstarted a movement, which looks to continue in The Incredibles 2.

Pixar films are known for tackling complex emotions, family and social situations. The Incredibles 2 also addresses a major cultural issue. Even though we have come a long way as a culture in some respects, we still cling to “conventional” gender stereotypes. Specifically, when it comes to gender roles within the family. With a few exceptions, films and television shows have historically used the same family archetype.

This usually consists of a traditional nuclear family; a man and woman who are married with two or more children. The mother may or may not have a job, but the man is usually considered the breadwinner. The Incredibles 2 aims to tackle both stereotypes about stay-at-home dads, and women who support their family financially.

The Incredibles 2 Addresses Gender Roles In A Positive Way

[Credit: Disney/Pixar]

Pixar established the Parrs as a nuclear family.  Pixar couldn’t change that for the sequel, which picks up just moments after the first movie ended, but they do shake things up a bit. The idea to make Elastigirl the focus of the family is a natural and commendable turn, and it works perfectly within the story.

When you break their dynamic down to its core concept, Helen and Bob are a team. That’s a huge point of their relationship. They don’t adhere to specific roles; rather, each finds a role that benefits the entire family. In The Incredibles 2, The government asks Elastigirl to be a superhero instead of Bob. While Bob originally guffaws at the idea, he tamps down his ego and supports his wife.

What’s really interesting about the new dynamic isn’t the flipping of gender roles; it’s how the characters handle it. Even before the movie opens, we’ve heard two lines that carry the message of the film. The first is in a clip where Bob says, “I have to succeed so she can succeed… So, we can succeed.” He’s talking about his new role within the family, and the line beautifully captures the essence of his character. Above all, Bob adheres to the idea that they are a team. If he succeeds, then they succeed.

Secondly, Helen drops a line while speaking to Bob where she says, “I couldn’t do this if you hadn’t taken over so well.” Again, she admires her husbands effort in becoming a stay-at-home dad. But more than that, she appreciates him. Bob doesn’t feel emasculated for helping his wife succeed, because, as Bob already said, they are a team. In this regard, Pixar not only flips stereotypes, but also champions equality. Bob and Helen aren’t a man and woman filling roles in within their family, they are partners working towards a common goal. Hopefully, The Incredibles 2 message will strike a chord with audiences, but for now, we can’t wait to see our favorite superhero family again on the silver screen.

Check out The Incredibles 2 when it hits theaters on June 15, 2018.