What Incredibles 2 Has to Say About Modern Fandom

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Incredibles 2, in theaters now.

One of the main draws about 2004's The Incredibles was the movie's supervillain, Buddy Pine aka Syndrome (Jason Lee). His dynamic with Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) really drove the plot, as he moved from being the comic relief to a seriously intimidating megalomaniac.

Of course, this all stemmed from Buddy simply being a spurned fanatic, which led to him growing up and hating the idea of a superhero, eventually wanting to smash the thing he once loved to pieces. If such obsessive and entitled behavior sounds familiar, then look no further than fandom in the modern era, especially thanks to the digital and social media age.

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Well, Incredibles 2 addresses this issue head-on once again, but this time director Brad Bird takes a more positive slant and highlights the brighter aspect of worshipping superheroes and putting them on a pedestal.

Fandom should never be taken to the extreme, of course, and Incredibles 2 is more subtle and uplifting this time in how it handles this fact. The reverence with which the likes of the Parr family, namely Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), is presented through a much less cynical prism in this film than it was in the original. In short, those inspired by superheroes aren't fanatics, they're just folks who view them in an endearing light and want to help them.

This is set in motion from the beginning of the movie, with a few members of the public wanting to support the heroes. After a botched battle with the Underminer, the Incredibles and capes on the whole are chastised, with laws being set up to make them illegal. This turns out to be the agenda of Screenslaver, a mysterious villain who wants superheroes extinct. However, Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), a wealthy benefactor, wants to start a PR campaign to clean up their bad images and get the public, as well as politicians, to fall back in love with capes.

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He pays for the Incredibles' new home and hires Elastigirl as the face of this campaign, as he believes the world needs them, even sending her on the press circuit. This leaves the audience suspicious; after all, no one can be that generous... right? Well, it turns out he isn't some sort of secret villain. Deavor is actually genuine, a man who merely wants to expand the team into a bigger league so they're a greater force for good.

Now, the same can't be said for his sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener), but throughout the film, Winston remains unwavering in his hope and ambition. His parents loved superheroes, helping facilitate their movement years before, and despite superheroes not coming to their rescue when they were robbed and killed, Winston didn't blame anyone. Instead, he maintained his faith in superheroes as symbols for a better tomorrow.

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