Sick Pilgrim at the Movies: The Art Imitating Life of Incredibles 2

People, this is full of spoilers, hide your eyes (no, really, there have been some serious strobe light warnings for this film).

This sequel focuses on all the superheroes who have had to go into hiding because their work is illegal. Because they’re illegal. But then there’s a couple good folks (or so we think ) that want to fight for these heroes rights to openly be themselves, openly help society, openly share their skills, openly live without fear of the police and government, etc. Problem is, they’re told over and over again that they aren’t right—that their very personhood is wrong—despite all the good they do and are capable of doing for society.

“Make supers legal again!” (A superheroes advocate screams in The Incredibles 2)

You may know where this is going. As I sat next to my 4.5 year old nephew I couldn’t help but think about the marginalized in our society. Those who have been silenced, ripped away from their parents’ arms, questioned or even killed because of the color of their skin, abused because of their gender identity, secluded because of their sexuality, second-guessed because of their religion, and so much more. Those whose true selves have been oppressed by a society whose obsession with dominance deflates any hope of love.

The good news? The good news is that this is a Disney film and there’s a happy ending. The good news is that this film gives freedom to all the superheroes who have had to be in hiding, so that they can be themselves and help make the world a better place. The good news is there are people who fight for their rights legally, in the government, on the streets, and help get them press and attention for change. The good news is the other is embraced instead of disgraced.

Fear begins when we heed our hesitations towards those different from us, because it’s no doubt a fact that we feel differently when we see/hear/touch/taste/smell something of the unknown. The instinct of the human is to hesitate towards what is different instead of embracing it. But an instinct or reaction doesn’t make something right. Similarly, the unknown is a symbol of God, and the mystery is an opportunity for adoration. Our humanity is far more similar than different, and if our egotistical minds must cling to those similarities we can begin with the fact that we’re all immigrants. Especially as Christians, being called to be not of this world.

But much like the movies and real life, there’s a difference between good news and real news. My nephew thought the film was a little scary, and it was. It was action packed and full of exactly what our world looks like today. But it’s also a film that reminds the viewer that there are good people, that truth is possible, that when we work together we can elevate one another, help the oppressed, be our true selves, and let the true superheroes bless our lives with their very presence.

In true Pixar form, the film was indeed hilarious, I only wish it didn’t take another heterosexual white family to get its points across. Sure, there’s the incredible Frozone (my personal favorite) but even he has a sidekick role of sorts.

Alas, being a superhero is about the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary. The superheroes of my life are those fighting to be themselves. They are the families separated at the border in pursuit of a better life. They are those in the LGBTQ+ communities stepping away from a hidden life. They are friends of other religions like Islam — openly wearing their hijab. They are my black friends showing up day after day in an effort to diminish police discrimination.

What is my role in all this? I believe that it is to also be myself. To listen. To stand up, next to, and near my beloved superheroes. To speak up for their human rights. To be outspoken about the sanctity of their lives. To stand screaming on the streets to let my superheroes free.

About Cassidy Hall
Cassidy Hall is the author of Notes on Silence, Filmmaker (In Pursuit of Silence), Podcaster (Encountering Silence), and holds a MA in Counseling. Cassidy’s writing has been published in Convivium Volume 3, the Thomas Merton Seasonal, The Huffington Post, National Catholic Reporter, and Patheos. You can find her on Twitter @cassidyhall, Instagram @casshall, and Facebook. More about Cassidy Hall at www.cassidyhall.com You can read more about the author here.
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