Helen is the true hero of the story. The film is about Helen's realization that the shallow domesticity she has accepted is suffocating her as well as the rest of the family, and at the end of the movie she achieves happiness by accepting her true calling as more than merely a homemaker. This is supported by the interpretation of Violet as the second lead. Violet grows as a person much more than her brother Dash. Violet frees her family from Syndrome both in his confines as well as the explosion which kills him.
Also, think about what really saves the relationship between Bob and Helen. Is it Bob realizing how important his family is to him? Or is it due to Bob getting back in shape, getting (apparently) a better job, and getting the chance to shine again as a superhero? Maybe a little bit of both, one allowing for the other?
Ironically, there's a deleted scene where Helen and Bob are at a barbecue and a career woman there is dismissive towards her choice to be a homemaker and Helen absolutely flips out at her. This was inspired by the director's wife being mistreated by people when she chose to quit her job and stay at home to raise her kids.
Mirage: a genuine case of Even Evil Has Standards who turns good due to horror at her boss' actions... or a smug Hypocrite who happily assisted Syndrome's murders before getting squeamish when she saw the results up close and then started to worry about her own neck rather than anything else?
Syndrome: Was his ultimate goal of a world where "everyone's super" because he wants equality, or because of the chaos people would cause with super powers? Or just another way to spit on the real hero's graves, like his former hero Mr. Incredible? Syndrome's "when everyone's super... no one will be" suggests the latter.
During the famous "WHERE IS MY SUPER SUIT?!" scene, Frozone's wife refusing to disclose the location of the aforementioned suit while a giant robot is rampaging through town may or may not be Skewed Priorities. It depends on whether she knew of the robot or assumed he was going to intervene on something more minor, like a bank robbery.
A deleted scene shows that Honey spotted the robot attack and rushes to hide Frozone's suit. The interpretation appears to be correct.
While it was still a crossing of the Moral Event Horizon, however you slice it, when Bomb Voyage put a bomb on "Incredi-boy"'s cape, was blowing him up really the initial plan, or was he banking on Mr. Incredible choosing to save the kid over bringing him into custody?
When Bob says "He got away" (referring to the mugger) and Mr. Huph comments that it's a good thing, did Mr. Huph think that Bob was referring to the mugger or the victim? Bob assumes the former, which is definitely in-character for Mr. Huph as a Corrupt Corporate ExecutiveHate Sink and makes his Laser-Guided Karma all the more cathartic. However, given that Bob did not specify who got away, it could be a case of Poor Communication Kills, and Mr. Huph could simply be seeing the situation as a more pragmatic "Good thing the victim got away from the mugger so we don't have to cover him."
Animation Age Ghetto: One of Pixar's most defiant efforts against it. Like the best animated films, children enjoy it for the superheroes and action, while adults enjoy it for the sophisticated story and high-stakes drama. Brad Bird did get in a little trouble with some parents who claimed the film was too scary for children of five or younger. He responded by asking why they were taking their five-year-olds to see it in the first place.
Angst? What Angst?: Despite their mother harshly admonishing them that Syndrome's henchmen will not hesitate to kill them given the chance, Dash and Violet barely seem to be frightened or upset by this possibility. Nor do they seem to be all that upset by the henchmen who they accidentally kill during the fight scenes (it was in self-defence, and most of the guys only died because of their own dumb mistakes, but you'd think children would have a more intense reaction to the deaths of dozens of adults, even antagonistic ones, in violent fashion right in front of them).
While it won for Best Animated Feature and Best Sound Editing for the Oscars, it wasn't nominated for Best Score, Best Director or Best Picture in a year where most critics felt it deserved even those nominations. It was nominated for Best Original Screenplay but lost to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Voice acting, again, was snubbed across the board especially for Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, and for Brad Bird whose performance as Edna was pitch-perfect.
Awesome Ego: Syndrome. As Buddy, his fanboy ego grew to almost going toe-to-toe with a real super-villain. As Syndrome, that ego swelled to gaining his own island, henchman, and ways of disposal.
Awesome Music: Michael Giacchino's score in this film is, well...incredible. Many tracks use saxophones and trumpets to emulate scores from classic James Bond-style spy films, making them jazzy and energetic. Some special mentions go to the main theme, "100 Mile Dash", which plays during Violet and Dash's escape from Syndrome's goonies; and "Kronos Unveiled", a haunting theme that gets louder and louder as Bob realizes what Syndrome has done to many of his former friends.
While it ends up costing his job and screwing him over even further, Bob sending his Jerkass of a boss flying through several brick walls after screwing his clients over and forcing Bob from stopping a robbery, was immensely satisfying to say the least.
After all the crap Syndrome has done, him getting clobbered by Jack-Jack was both hilarious and satisfying.
Complete Monster: Syndrome was once Buddy Pine, an aspiring hero seeking fame and fortune, who became outraged at all Supers when his "idol", Mr. Incredible, ceased his attempts at being a hero for his own safety. Decades later, Syndrome enacts his revenge, as he creates the "Omnidroid," a Super killing machine that he uses to massacre Supers he lures in to duel it under the illusion it is simply a rogue robot. Upon capturing and torturing Mr. Incredible—notably forcing him to listen as his wife and children are seemingly killed by Syndrome's forces—Syndrome unveils his master plan to launch the Omnidroid into a highly-populated city, have it target innocents at random, then swoop in and "save the day" to become the greatest hero in the world. When the Incredibles foil this plan, Syndrome makes one last attempt to spitefully ruin the family by kidnapping their infant child, Jack-Jack, and raising him to be a supervillain.
Crosses the Line Twice: The montage of all the Supers who died thanks to their capes, and later Syndrome because of his cape.
Draco in Leather Pants: Syndrome. There are quite a few fans who think that he was justified in taking out the supers, and will point to his claim to eventually sell his inventions to let everyone have powers. But this ignores the fact that he isn't the villain because of that; he's the villain because he's a Psychopathic Manchild who already killed dozens before the start of the film, and is happy to manufacture a threat to the public in order to play out his own fantasy without actually caring about saving lives, and furthermore has no problem with killing even children who get in his way.
Syndrome became one to the Pixar staff; he was originally only supposed to be a one-shot villain for the introduction, but they ended up loving his characterization so much that he was upgraded to Big Bad status.
Someone set up a poll for the best Pixar character. Frozone came in third, only under WALLE and Woody. Edna grabbed spot number ten. For contrast, Mr. Incredible got #13, with the second highest ranked Incredible family member (Elastigirl) being ranked #26.
Frozone's wife Honey, likely due to her part in one of the best scenes in the film. Not bad for a character we never saw on screen.
Stratogale gets discussed a lot and even has fanworks despite being on-screen for less than ten seconds in the "No Capes" speech. Her being a Kid Heroine who died young combined with the violent nature of her death makes her a frequent source of Tearjerkers.
There's also Kari, the babysitter from the "Jack-Jack Attack" short that ended up a Badly Battered Babysitter, likely for the fact that she managed to handle a baby dealing with Power Incontinence without serious injury.
The film teaches against Tall Poppy Syndrome and false accomplishments - pretending that everyone is equally special is wrong, because some people really are better at certain things than others, and trying to bring them down to the level of everyone else will ultimately only make everyone worse off. While "be who you are, not who others want you to be" sounds like a fairly family-friendly aesop, the rather cynical implication is that people in general will always tend to envy you for being better than they are unless your superiority is immediately beneficial to them. It also gets a bit muddy when the same Arc Words ("When everyone is special, no one is") are used by both the protagonists to complain about artificial praise devaluing praise for the genuinely extraordinary, and the antagonist to describe his plan to democratize superpowers through technology, implicitly equating to the two (and framing the latter as villainous).
The bit at the end with Dash in the track meet can also ding this in a similar way. It seems meant as a summation of the growth of Dash and the rest of the family, in that he now has the maturity and self-control to deliberately get second place and thus not blow his cover, and his parents trust him enough now to let him try (and also provide the funny moment of cheering for him getting second place) when all of this was previously a point of conflict for the family, but the actual framing and Dash's smugness in places can come across as more "sure, you can let others win if you want, but you'll always know you're superior", which is... a weird aesop, to be sure.
Fanfic Fuel: What were the fights like between the retired heroes and Syndrome's prototype droids? How did Gazerbeam figure out Syndrome's password? What was the world like during the golden age of superheroics? What happened to all of the supervillains?
Foe Yay: Syndrome is beyond way obsessed with Mr. Incredible, to the point of not letting anyone destroy him but Syndrome.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Lucius complaining to Bob about how he wanted to go bowling. It was him that Mirage was following until his and Bob's vigilante antics made her realize that Bob was the former Mr. Incredible and switch targets. If they had gone bowling, as Lucius suggested, he might have been the Omnidroid's next victim.
Disney owns Marvel Comics now, and their new movie takes superhero status to the next level.
To make it more hilarious, Marvel Comics created a similiar premise 3 years later with Civil War where the entire crisis for Superhero community occured due to public backlash over a massive damage in a neighborhood that killed hundreds of people due to mishandling an explosive supervillain.
Violet is worried that their parents' lives — or worse, their parents' marriage — were in trouble. Dash, incredulous, looks at her and snarks that the villains are out to dissolve their parents' marriage. Three years later, One More Day happens in Spider-Man.
The teacher who calls Dash "a little rat" is played by the same actor who later played Linguini in Ratatouille.
The monitor in which Bob receives his message from Mirage has an uncanny resemblance to an iPad. Keep in mind that the film was released six years prior to the public release of the iPad, and three years prior to the iPhone, even.
In the NSA files on the second disk, one of the former superheroes, Gamma Jack, is labelled as prone to tyrannical and megalomaniacal tendencies, and judging by what else was in it, he was borderline villainous himself. The kicker? His original superhero name was Handsome Jack.
Edna Mode warns superheroes that capes will do more harm than good for them. 12 years later, Doctor Strange (2016) comes out, which features the Cloak of Levitation, a sentient cape who protects the titular hero from the villains.
The series has often been compared to Team Fortress 2, and Especially comparing the Demoman to Frozone. 13 years later, Frozone's super suit headpiece has been added into the game as a Demoman cosmetic item.
The Honest Trailers episode for this film portrays Buddy/Syndrome as a prophecy of our current Fanboy Culture:
Epic Trailer Voice Guy: He's a nerd who loves something so much, that when it didn't live up to his expectations, he declared war on it! (Cuts to Change.org petitions boycotting Star Wars, Rotten Tomatoes, Batman, etc.)
Inferred Holocaust: Stratogale's Turbine Blender demise. Given that airplanes often crash when large objects are ingested in their engines (which often occurs with birds in real life), and a warning alarm is heard, it's quite possible she wasn't the only fatality that day.
It Was His Sled: Jack-Jack has superpowers. This is such a not-spoiler that it factors majorly into practically all of the advertisements and trailers for the sequel.
Jerkass Woobie: Mirage in the second half of the movie. Buddy Pine started out as this in the beginning and then...
Memetic Psychopath: Some people like to joke about Dash being a potential supervillain in the making due to the ridiculously high body count he racks up among Syndrome's velocipod troops during their pursuit of him. Granted, almost all of them got themselves killed due to their own stupidity, but Dash barely, if at all, seems to find the deaths of all these people distressing.
Syndrome crosses it when he establishes Project Kronus, plan that depends on willingly and intentionally luring heroes to his island knowing they will face his Omnidroid(s) for the sole purpose of being terminated. He does this over a dozen times before he gets to Mr. Incredible.
Mr. Huph smiling and saying "Well, let's hope we don't cover him!" when learning that a man is getting beaten and mugged outside his window, then threatening to fire Bob if he leaves to help.
Despite his brief appearance, Bomb Voyage crosses it when he attaches an explosive to Buddy's cape to force Mr. Incredible to save Buddy, showing that he has zero qualms about potentially killing a child. The emotionless look on his face when he does it makes it all the worse.
When Syndrome's minions come across Dash and Violet, they're confused as to whether or not the two children are possibly Supers. They only seem to confirm it once Dash starts running super-fast despite the fact that Violet quite clearly goes invisible just moments before.
One-Scene Wonder: Bomb Voyage, Tony Rydinger, Mr. Huph, Dash's teacher 'Bernie Kropp', Honey, The Underminer and that badass henchman who fought Violet while managing to avert all the bad tropes generally associated with Mooks.
Ships That Pass in the Night: The most popular couples, Syndrome/Violet and Mirage/Violet, are very nonsensical, the former for interacting with each other under villainous circumstances and the latter for them never appearing on-screen together.
Signature Scene: Despite being of very little importance to the plot, Elastigirl getting herself stuck through a series of doors while infiltrating Syndrome's base is one of the most talked about moments in this film. The scene is hailed for displaying her powers (and some Fanservice) in a creative way while also being outrageously funny.
It also was considered by some to be a Lighter and Softer adaptation of Watchmen, because of the superheroes having to register with the government and go underground. Consider also the major plot point near the end of both: The Big Badattacks New York with a giant, octopoid monster, and also at one point engineers an attack to make himself look good at one point. Also, it gives the same reasoning for not wearing capes.
Downplayed by the animators intentionally giving the characters cartoonish proportions. Also, the animation designs were a shout out to the Rankin-Bass "puppet-toons" of the 60s. Syndrome in particular looks more than a little like Heat Miser.
Played straight with the background characters. Unlike the main and supporting characters who all have cartoonish designs, everyone else looks rather lifeless and bland; this includes Violet's crush Tony.
Unintentionally Sympathetic: It's not uncommon to find fan discussions that are quite sympathetic to Syndrome, probably owing to the moral complications of him being the film's villain. As seen above in Family-Unfriendly Aesop, the film frequently frames equality as artificial and an injustice for the supers who are naturally superior. Syndrome, on the other hand, is a normal if ingenious man who managed to use technology to equal inborn superpowers, and his ultimate motivation revolves around a rejection of the idea that some people are born inherently superior to others. Case in point.
As a result of being sued by the public as a whole despite having their lives saved, all the heroes have to go into hiding, making them unable come into action when a supervillain shows up. You'd Expect: Realizing that there are no more superheroes to stop them, the villains would team up and declare an all out war against the world and thanks to the superheroes negative reputation, can either kill off mass number of people or commit several bank heists unhindered. Instead: For some reason, the villains also just as mysteriously disappear with the sole exception of Syndrome years later, giving the general public even more reason to hate on the heroes because they blame them for any disasters going on essentially making the whole populace a massive Karma Houdini.
The supers following a series of lawsuits have to go underground; the government helps them build civilian identities and find new jobs. You'd Expect: The government would put supers in jobs that they want to do, and where they will excel and where they won't arouse suspicion. Bob would do great as a cop or firefighter, for example, due to his durability and desire to help people, and no one would think twice of him helping to carry fire victims due to his bulk. A private business owner (like Syndome) could easily hire away supers to use their powers as secret police or for an army, and that would be a liability. Instead: The government job placement is incredibly terrible. Bob is stuck in one dead-end office job after another; his latest is working for a Corrupt Corporate Executive who hates that insurance clients are finding loopholes to get the claim they want. Bob ends up sending that executive through about ten walls after the latter refuses to let him help a man getting mugged outside, and the loss of his job makes him vulnerable and desperate enough to accept the mysterious offer from Mirage. Judging by the number of other supers that Syndome has hired away and killed, the government has been doing a terrible job with it.
Due to the malicious job placements for supers, Bob loses his position at the insurance company. He doesn't dare tell Helen this, or that he's accepted a better paying position with a private employer that knows his secret identity. This new job pays triple his previous salary, which is enough to buy two new cars, and makes him happy. He doesn't know that his employer Syndrome will kill him in good time. You'd Expect: That eventually he would tell Helen that he "got transferred" to another company, or at least to give her updated contact information for when he goes to the island to do odd jobs. This way if there's an emergency, like Jack Jack running a fever or the kids being in trouble, then she can contact him and he can jet back to the mainland. Instead: Bob never tells Helen or gives her updated contact information, which he admits that he should have with hindsight. When Syndrome tries to kill him, he has no way of calling for backup, since Helen was also a hero and as it turns out a licensed pilot. Helen as a result finds out much later that he was fired, and has no way of contacting him when suspecting him of having an affair. Edna Mode tells her to activate the tracking device in his new suit, which causes Bob to get caught and tortured when Syndrome thinks that Mr. Incredible is dead.
Following this, Syndrome profiles all of his super victims so that his robot can be the perfect patsy for his Engineered Heroics ploy. Mr. Incredible for him is a personal project, given Incredible was once his hero and who disappointed him in a Broken Pedestal moment. You'd Expect: That Syndrome would keep all tabs on Mr. Incredible, including finding out about his family and their powers. This isn't just being a collector; super powers are genetic, which means his family might be able to save Mr. Incredible, and Syndrome can anticipate setbacks to killing and later imprisoning Incredible. Instead: Syndrome leaves this up to Mirage, who discreetly leaves Mr. Incredible's family out of the picture when sending Syndrome his information; it's implied that Even Evil Has Standards given her horror when Syndrome plans to blow up a plane with children aboard— INCREDIBLE'S CHILDREN. This allows Helen to save herself and the kids given she's Elastigirl, something Syndrome finds out much later, and for Violet to bust her family out of their force-field prison.
Helen after Bob finds his new purpose is at first pleased. He stops coming home late at night covered in ashes, gets into shape, gives her a lot more loving and a new car, and spends more time with the kids. Then she finds a hair on one of his business suits, a long white hair. Suspicious, she listens into a phone call where a strange woman asks Bob to come over. Then she notices Bob's old suit got repaired, and only Edna Mode would have done it. Edna then shows her all the prototypes that she designed for the entire family, factoring in their powers. When a confused Helen asks for an explanation, Edna gives her the tracking device to Bob's new suit, which reveals that Bob is on a remote island. You'd Expect: Helen would put all the red flags together: Bob not doing illicit hero work that leaves ashes on his clothes, his old suit getting mended and replaced by Edna Mode, and their improved sex life. He's somehow found a way to reignite his old passion of doing heroics. Instead: Helen assumes Bob is having midlife crisis — which is true— and an affair — which isn't true. After she breaks down in tears in front of Edna, the latter encourages her to go find Bob and kick the crap out of him. The Result: Helen goes to the island without any planned backup, though she calls in a favor from Snug to get a plane. If Violet and Dash hadn't impulsively stowed away, after they get a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass babysitter for their brother, then Helen would have been trying to rescue her husband completely alone, with no one knowing where she was. Including their kids.
Mirage after Syndrome gambles with her life decides to pull a HeelFace Turn. It helps that she learns that several unknown people survived the plane crash. She goes to free Mr. Incredible, who has spent the night in his restraints thinking his entire family died. You'd Expect: She would remember that she isn't the most trustworthy person to him after she lied to him about everything, and that he threatened to kill her once already. She should tell him that his family's alive, and keep a safe distance away after freeing him. Instead: She frees Mr. Incredible first, goes straight to him, and whispers for him to move fast before they're both caught. The Result: Mr. Incredible strangles her in a grieving rage before she can tell him his family's alive. She's pretty lucky that he didn't snap her neck off the bat, as he had threatened to earlier.
What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Onscreen attempted suicide, family-unfriendly violence and death up the wazoo, a pointedaversion of the villains being unwilling to harm children, Helen's obvious suspicions Bob is having an affair and numerous innuendos besides, all topped off with a complex plot markedly more intense than anything Pixar had ever released at that point? Brad Bird even got in trouble with parents concerned that the subject material was too intense for their young kids—to which Brad Bird asked why they were even taking kids that young to see this movie in the first place.
Woolseyism: In the Brazilian dub, the names of almost every character are changed to their Portuguese language equivalent. The exceptions are Mirage, whose original name is kept in order to make her more exotic; and Dash, who is called Flecha (meaning "arrow", but pronounced "Flash-ah").