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Headscratchers / The Incredibles

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Headscratchers for The Incredibles.

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     No Name Change? 
  • When Bob and Helen Parr are relocated by the government, why do they keep their names?
    • They were secret identities not known to the general public, so there's no need to change names. As a bonus, it saves money and paperwork and avoids issues like if the duo slip up and use the wrong name.
    • Not to mention that the government has the means to erase memories whenever they need to relocate Supers. Even if they get outed as having superpowers, nobody is going to know who they are once their memories are wiped.

     How do Violet’s powers work? 
  • How does Violet manage to hide underwater using her invisibility? Shouldn't she appear as a large girl-shaped bubble?
    • It's not that easy to try and spot an outlineless shape in the water especially if you're not looking for one.
    • Bubbles are full of air. Violet's invisibility "bubble" is full of invisibility, so it won't diffract the light like a real bubble would.

  • What is the deal with Violet's force fields? Near the climax, the Omnibot somehow gets through one of her force fields enough to knock Violet out, even though in other times it was unable to break through. Plus, shouldn't the force field (and Violet and Dash) simply shoot out in some random direction, like what would happen if one tried to pound their fists on a marble?
    • The Omnidroid managed to hit the shield and bend/warp the sphere enough to bonk Violet on the head, which caused her to lose concentration. Sci-fi purple aside, it's not much different from someone holding an actual wooden or metal shield. Someone punches it, the guy punching would probably get a broken fist. Step in front of a speeding 18 wheeler and you sure as hell won't being holding onto that shield anymore.
    • I imagine that Violet has to actively devote energy to her shields to force fields to maintain them, seeing as they seem to "flicker" when they're hit by something. A bullet or a punch might not be enough to drain her all that quickly right away, but a gigantic robot that probably weighs several hundred tons slamming its entire body down onto it? The shield might not have broken from that, but the recoil would've definitely hurt her. As far as the shield getting shot off by the impact, the bubble was already starting to get pushed into the ground by the Omnidroid slamming its claws down onto it, so the pavement was probably enough to brace it in place when it came in for the final blow.

  • Why are Violet's powers so different from the rest of her family's? Bob, Helen, Dash, and Jack-Jack all have powers that are "physical" by nature; Bob has super strength, Helen has elasticity, Dash has super speed, and Jack-Jack is an all-round shape shifter. Violet's power is invisibility and force fields, both of which are energy-based super abilities.
    • The family's powers are based off of personality; there's nothing saying it has to be like mother like son. Just like how some kids might parents' interests while others have completely unrelated ones.

  • What's up with her floating inside the force field during the hamsterball scene? Do her powers include anti-gravity or something? They never explain that.
    • She's generating a 360-degree forcefield around her at an equal distance in all directions — including towards the ground. There is essentially a bubble around her and she's at the centre, which means that the forcefield is essentially pushing her up from the ground and suspending her at the centre of the forcefield.

  • Why doesn't Violet just use a forcefield to beat Syndrome's immobiliser?
    • Her powers are fairly passive. She could free herself, but then she'd be all alone and have to leave her family behind. She is able to help them later, when nobody is looking.

  • Why does Violet have two powers when pretty much everyone else has one? Also, shouldn't her powers make her far more powerful than everyone else? The force fields seem to be a physical manifestation of ESP (extrasensory perception), she should be the most powerful Incredible if she simply went a bit more creative using them.
    • Technically, you could say Violet's abilities are two sides of the same coin - energy manipulation. You could also argue Dash, for example, must have super-fast reaction times or he'd crash into objects whenever he ran. So it's not as cut-and-dry as it seems.
As for why Violet doesn't do much, well, she is a kid, and not mastered control of her powers yet. No doubt Dash, Violet and Jack-Jack will be absolutely devastating once they grow up and master their powers.

     Violet's Costume 
  • When Violet tests our her supersuit with an invisible hand (and only an invisible hand), the whole costume disappears. Isn't that a little open (No Pun Intended) to accidents?
    • In said scene Violet touched the front. Perhaps Edna reasoned that Violet wouldn't ever need to turn only her torso invisible and so skimped out on whatever mechanism turns the suit only partially invisible on that part.

  • If Violet can only make herself and her super suit invisible, why do her undergarments turn invisible as well??
    • The suit somehow changes everything she's wearing (within reason) invisible. After all, if she has fillings, or ends up needing braces, those would need to be invisible as well and they're technically not part of her. Edna's probably thought ahead.

     Where are all the Supervillains? 
  • Who cleaned up the world's remaining supervillains after the superheroes were forced into retirement?
    • We never see superpowered villains in the film. We see the bank robbers (with Tommy Guns), Bomb Voyage, Syndrome and The Underminer, all of which seem to be gimmicky, rather than superpowered. So, perhaps the police just dealt with them, and discreetly hired the more amenable and "subtle" superheroes (the ones who don't depend on hurling cars about the place, covering everything in ice and so forth) as a sort of last resort if they couldn't handle the heat. So long as they kept quiet, the government would protect them from irate "customers".
      The fact that Mr. Incredible was called on for things as mundane as bank robberies, muggings, and saving cats stuck in trees, maybe "true" supervillains were wiped out long ago.
    • Alternate theory: they self govern. Think about it: the government has just announced they're going to force all superheroes out of business. Isn't it in your best interest to quash any reckless numnut who'd create a public panic enough to make them rethink that policy?
      • Even if the villains could cooperate long enough to organize themselves, why don't they just wipe out all the heroes and take over the world in one fell swoop?
    • Alternate theory 2: Any supervillains with actual superpowers (if there were any) got wasted by Syndrome's robots. Syndrome didn't just hate superheroes, he hated people with superpowers. If he kills heroes, why wouldn't he kill villains as well?
      • Just what about Syndrome gives the impression that he killed the villains rather than selling his tech to them?
      • Or because Syndrome also sold some of his tech to the government they were finally able to quell the supervillain menace.
    • Alternate theory 3: the villains all retired when the Supers did, because what fun is villainy when there's no one around to oppose you?
    • Alternate theory 4: They are still there. They just tend to be lumped into all other crimes. You can actually see in the newspaper Bob is reading "Crime levels at an all-time high". They still are there but aren't given individual focus.
      • If the crime levels are higher than they were before the ban, why doesn't the government lift it since it's obviously not working?
    • Alternate theory 5: The government had them all quietly assassinated. With no supers around to handle the threat of supervillains, the government would turn to other means to solve the problem. Say, for example, a highly-trained team of specialists who are adept at locating supers, able to work effectively under a shroud of secrecy and not squeamish about killing them. Of course, it would all be top-secret, which is why Mirage tells Bob, "According to the government, neither of us exist."
      • Perhaps this would only apply to either supers that are intolerably powerful (though those seem rare) or committing actions that would be classified as terrorism. For lesser supervillains committing crimes like bank robbery theory 4 could still apply.

     How does Dash's power work? 
  • Dash puts a tack on his teacher's chair. If he moved that fast, there would be shockwaves from breaking the sound barrier, and all the windows would be broken.
    • He probably didn't go faster than sound. If we assume that the camera was recording at 24fps then he has 1/24th of a second to get from his chair to the desk and back. Sound travel 14.58 meters in 1/24 seconds. So he could cover 14.5 meters (around 50 feet) in that amount of time without breaking the sound barrier.
    • Since his powers clearly involve generating and manipulating kinetic energy (hence the inertialess u-turn), after he pushes the air molecules out of his way, he then absorbs their excess motion back into himself, preventing a massive wind or sonic boom.
      • What's odd is that he never moves that fast in the rest of the film.
      • Perhaps it's a matter of endurance? The scene in class is over in less than a second, but he could wear himself out pedaling for hours in the elasti-boat, or any time he has to keep moving for prolonged periods in fights with robots.
      • In most of those island scenes he's also with Violet, who probably doesn't have the ability to survive multiple Gs of acceleration like Dash does.

  • Does Dash's mind work as quickly as his body? Even when he was running at full throttle, one of Syndrome's mooks manages to surprise him and punch him out. But he had to be able to coordinate all of his motions very precisely to carry out the complex task of putting a tack on his teacher's chair, which suggests he can run his mind very quickly though he doesn't always choose to do so.
    • This ability is likely, since both times Dash got hit in the face, he had excuses. The first time, while flying with the mook on the velocipod, Dash is clearly having an Oh, Crap! moment because of the oncoming cliff, giving the minion time to knock him out before crashing into the cliff himself. The second time, Dash is preoccupied with giving the second mook lightning-fast but ineffectual taps to the face.
    • Consider this: When catching a ball, do you consciously triangulate the location of it based on the relative angles of your eyes from one moment to another to determine its distance and velocity? It's likely the same with Dash - he has superhuman reflexes, but only for what he's doing and not to anticipate incoming attacks.

     Superheroes in sports 
  • Why would Dash join the school's running team of all things? Thanks to his powers, he could outrun an olympic athlete without training for it or even breaking a sweat. There is no challenge and no fun, unless he gets a kick out of winning against kids who do not stand a chance due to being born normal. Training sessions can be nothing but an exercise in hiding his real speed. His running will not improve, because even if the coach knew about Dash's powers, training a superhero must be different from training a normal person. Why do his parents support his choice instead of telling him to join a team where his powers do not help him, so that he can learn about fairness and improving oneself through training.

     Jack Jack of All Trades, or what? 
  • Does Jack-Jack have all those powers permanently, or is he going to settle on one or two? If so, when - given that it's clearly not linked to puberty?
    • Like that xkcd comic on how everything is just 'applied physics', Jack's powered can be summed up as such. His Eye Beams and Playing with Fire can have the same sources, if the former is just a very focused expression of the latter (emitting heat and light). Floating, ceiling-walking and wall-walking all involve buoyancy and density control, whereas the Heavy Jack-Jack at the end was a combination of shapeshifting and positive buoyancy.
      If you don't mind slight Loophole Abuse, the ability to 'shapeshift' can allow a person to shapeshift into a version of himself that is exactly the same, but with the added ability that he happens to be using, e.g. laser eyes, being on fire, being heavy, etc.
    • It would fit his Meaningful Name of being 'jack-of-all-trades'. So perhaps Jack Jack has a ton of powers, but it'd never be as powerful as a Super who only has one of them.
    • Word of God states Jack-Jack's many powers are supposed to represent the unlimited potential of a baby, who can grow up to be anybody and do anything. Following that symbolism, it seems that he would probably settle on powers that match his personality as it develops, just as Dash is hyperactive and Violet is shy.
    • We find out the nature of his powers in the sequel, courtesy of Edna. According to her, Jack-Jack is "a polymorph who can manipulate his body on a molecular level." He technically only has one power, but it's a power that allows him to essentially give himself new (albeit temporary) powers on demand.

     Why did Mirage warn Mr. Incredible? 
  • Why does Mirage give Mr. Incredible that last bit of advice—the warning about the Omnidroid's learning abilities—just before he gets airdropped onto Syndrome's island? She knew Syndrome wanted him dead, so that seems a bit counter-intuitive.
    • Syndrome didn't just want Incredible dead; he also wanted the Omnidroid to be the best it could possibly be, which means giving it a real challenge. We know from the slideshow Mr. I stumbled upon sometimes the Super wins. If that happens, Syndrome needs to be able to test the new, improved droid against the same guy, which would be difficult to do if the guy is saying "Hey, you didn't warn me about how smart that damn robot was! You could have got me killed! I quit!"
    • Mirage isn't a monster. She gave him advice on how to avoid death because she actually doesn't want him to die. It's a small hint at her upcoming Heel–Face Turn.

     How do the masks stay on? 
  • How do they get the masks to stick to their faces?
    • Spirit Gum. It's a glue safe for skin while lasting for hours. That's how Nightwing keeps it on. And advanced suction-cup technology.
      • How about getting the masks to change with the expression of the face in question?
      • Really thin, silky cloth. Maybe memory cloth like The Dark Knight Trilogy Batman's wing-cape. If it's thin enough and light enough, there could be just a sticky bit on the edges and the middles stay down thanks to static.
     How do they protect your identity? 
  • "Here, take these masks which don't really conceal anything save for a few inches of skin around your eyes but not your actual eyes themselves or really any distinguishing features. Nobody will know it's you." Seriously, what?
    • A lot of recognition is based in/around the eyes. And one purpose of the costumes being so bright and noticeable is that you'll look at and remember them, rather than the heroes' faces. It works for Robin.
    • Some people with poor eyesight rely more on body shapes and movement patterns. Remember most people won't be able to get close to the family when they're crimefighting to get a good look at them. There's a case where the suspect's walk was distinctive enough to connect him to the crime despite his face not being recognisable on CCTV.
    • Take a look at the above headscratcher - if Edna can get the masks to stay on, there's probably something in them that obscures one's face. A near-invisible camo pattern of sorts perhaps, that forces you to be unable to focus on someone who's wearing one.
    • In a Superman origin story, Clark Kent made the decision to have the persona of Superman be unmasked in order to have the public of Metropolis trust him more. Maybe having a less concealing mask is to try for a similar effect.

     Who is “Honey”? 
  • Who is Frozone's wife? Is she the "super mega ultra lightning babe" he was talking about in the opening scene?
    • Considering "Honey" doesn't join in for the final battle, not to mention her rather cavalier attitude towards Frozone's Superheroism, it seems likely that she is not herself a Super. Frozone married an ordinary human.

     The "perfect" Omnidroid? 
  • Why does Syndrome conclude that the Omnidroid V.10 is perfected and able to beat Mr. Incredible/any super? Maybe it could, but the only 'proof' is because it took him by completely surprise and did not give him a chance to fight it.
    • Syndrome probably viewed Mr. Incredible as the best of the Supers, so anything that could jump in and beat him up would be good enough to handle any lesser heroes. He was probably right, too; Frozone is the only Super aside from the Incredibles who shows up, and he barely even slows the Omnidroid v10 down.
    • Also, it wouldn't take much to assume that Mr. Incredible wouldn't have won against the last Omnidroid if he hadn't been able to fool its AI into attacking itself. The whole fight leading up to that pivotal moment was just the robot tanking everything that was thrown at it. Its only weakness would've been overcome by programming the next version not to attack itself and also making it too big for anyone to climb inside it.

     Naming your child after their superpower 
  • Who names their kid Dash?
    • "Dash" is short for "Dashiell," so Dash is his nickname.
      • Still, it's not exactly the most subtle name as to what his biggest secret is.
      • It's still a plausible name for an ordinary person that wouldn't raise eyebrows, unlike, say, Sprint.
      • Maybe they decided on the name before they knew his powers and it was just a coincidence that they were similar.

    Violet's hair color... 
  • Mr. Incredible is a blond. Elastigirl is a redhead. Jack-Jack inherited ma's red hair, Dash inherited pop's golden locks... and Violet gets black. Huh?
    • She dyed her hair. Or, it's a recessive gene that came from a grandparent. Or (since Bob's and Helen's powers have little to do with their kids') parent/child genetics aren't as inheriting in the Incredibles-verse.
    • Look closely at Helen's hair colour at her temples during close-ups of her head; her hair is less red, and bordering on grey there. Therefore, another theory: Helen's hair colour as we see it in the movie isn't her natural hair colour; she's actually a natural brunette, but went grey young, and started dyeing her hair red because she didn't like to be grey and she liked red hair more than her natural brown colour. Violet's hair colour therefore would be actually close to Helen's natural hair colour.

     Super Genetics? 
  • Are superpowers inherited or not? All of Bob's and Helen's kids have superpowers, which seems like too much of a coincidence.
    • Likely, both Bob and Helen being supers ensured that their kids would be too, so there's probably some form of genetics. The genes are probably be a bit more complicated than, say, those that decide your hair though. If they were that simple, there wouldn't be such a broad scope of powers as was shown.
    • Superpowers in this film are a combination of Personality Powers and (if Frozone's audio file is any indication) Wish-Fulfillment.
    • It seems though it is possible for the child of supers to not have powers since they originally thought Jack-Jack did not.

     Having super babies must be really dangerous! 
  • Unless the babies of supers are unable to use their powers until a few days or weeks have passed, it must be really chaotic, if not deadly, for new superhero babies being born. Imagine a newborn baby Dash running around the hospital at top speed, or the doctor screaming in horror as she removes an invisible baby Violet from Helen's womb. It's a good thing Jack-Jack didn't involuntarily activate his fire ability inside Helen.
    • Babies probably gain their powers after birth in this universe as well. Jack Jack was just a late bloomer.

     Rubbery bones? 
  • How is Elastigirl's skeleton also capable of stretching alongside her?
    • Helen's entire body is elastic, not just her skin and muscles.
    • She's probably similar to Reed Richards in that she doesn't actually have a skeleton, she's just able to hold her regular body shape through sheer will.

     Erasing memories 
  • If Rick Dicker and the NSA can erase or at least modify memories of Super activity, why do they also force Supers to relocate and give up their jobs whenever they're exposed?
    • The memory wipe isn't to hide super activity; it's to protect the secret identities after someone clearly saw or deduced them.

    What about someone like Batman? 
  • Where were all the superheroes who don't have superpowers: the geniuses, billionaires, assorted Badass Normal people and whatnot? Would the policies against Supers stick to them since they're technically only doing hero work through means obtainable by normal people, rather than super powers?
    • There probably are a few Badass Normal's out there, but they're being recruited by the government for their skills. However, that doesn't mean that they are fit for superhero work since, well, they don't have superpowers or the technology required to take them on. Even if they did have the tech there would be a power out there that could take care of them (Plasmabolt comes to mind), so it probably isn't worth it in the end either way.

    What is the policy against Supers? 
  • Is it that Supers themselves are banned, super powers are banned, or being a superhero is banned? If it's the latter, then what constitutes being a "superhero"? Is there any difference between that and being a vigilante? If you were to be a normal person who happened to save an unusually high number of people from danger, would that be considered breaking the law?
    • Superpowered people acting as heroes are banned. They obviously aren't banning super powers because that would be like banning a hair color. They're obviously not banning the supers themselves because Bob and his family are living where they normally would.

    What if you have powers but aren't a superhero? 
  • Even if you're a Super you obviously don't have to be a hero, you can do whatever you want with your powers. Did Supers who used their powers for other things before the ban also get effected by it? So if you run or otherwise work in a place that depends on your powers to be successful and stay afloat, are you supposed to just let the business die and lose your job to comply with the ban?
    • They might have also gotten the cut under similar arguments. 'I'm suing Mr. Incredible because he dropped a train on my head!'
    • Considering Bob wasn't relocated into a job in which he could still use his powers, it seems like openly using superpowers in public, possibly for financial gain, is what's forbidden. If the ban was limited to out-and-out costumed hero work, then you'd think the government would still want to find jobs for people where their powers can still be used to their greatest feasible potential. So you could probably get away with a job that requires your powers if you could use them discreetly enough for no one to catch on.

    Why don't any of the supervillains seem to have powers? 
  • Neither Syndrome or any of his goons, Bomb Voyage, the Underminer, the villain in Frozone's story, the robbers in the prologue, that one guy with the eye patch in the flashback about Thunderhead, or even Screenslaver in the sequel seem to actually be Supers, they're all just people with technology. Where are the actual supervillains, with actual super powers?
    • There's a theory saying that all the actual supervillains got into politics. That, or most of them got killed in the movie. There are actual villains with superpowers in the comics.

     New Supers? 
  • What did the government do about all the supers who emerged after the heroes were forcibly retired? It's never made clear what causes people to gain superpowers in this world, although it is heavily implied to be genetic, which would make most, if not all, of the known supers mutants, like the X-Men. The government can ban superheroics, but the Parr children are evidence that new supers are regularly being born into a world where they have no peer group to serve as mentors and are stigmatized to hide their abilities under the threat of government sanction. There may be a whole army of anxiety-ridden, powderkeg closeted supers with Jack-Jack level god-tier powers just waiting for that one bad day.....
    • Kinda makes Syndrome and the Underminer look like a couple of speed bumps, doesn't it?

    How did young Syndrome ever think he could be Bob's 'ward'? 
During the bank robbery, Buddy declares himself "your ward, Incrediboy!" That's not how it works.

We don't see much of Buddy's home life, but during his monologue flashback, his room is full of comic books, memorabilia, and his giant Mr Incredible poster. He's building rocket boots as a kid and can afford an advanced volcano base and the equipment for the Omnidroids as a grown-up, so I doubt the family's strapped for cash. His parents are clearly capable of caring for him and providing resources, and I doubt any judge would give Mr Incredible custody of the boy, considering his dangerous lifestyle, even if Mr Incredible wanted Buddy as a son.