In the sequel to 2004’s The Incredibles, Elastigirl goes out to fight crime while her husband stays at home with the kids.
The new trailer for Incredibles 2, the sequel to one of the best and most underrated Pixar films of all time, has landed. And that’s not the only good news: the clip shows Mrs Incredible taking centre stage – while her husband looks after the kids.
Without giving too much away, the plot of the new film (out 15 June) goes something like this. A tycoon gets in touch with Bob and Helen Parr, aka Mr Incredible and Elastigirl, with a proposal for revamping the public image of superheroes (who are still illegal in the Incredibles universe). But this slightly sinister Elon Musk-Steve Jobs-Mark Zuckerberg character isn’t interested in Bob – instead, he wants Elastigirl to be the star of his new public relations campaign.
As a result, Bob stays at home on parenting duty while Helen heads out to do superhero stuff. We see him struggling to help Dash with his homework (“Why would they change math?!”), falling asleep while reading to Jack-Jack, and fretting about not being able to hold down the fort while Helen is away.
“I’ve got to succeed so she can succeed!” he tells best friend Frozone and teenage daughter Violet.
Of course, the trope of the comically hapless father failing to live up to the standards of the super-competent mother isn’t a new one in film or TV. It pops up everywhere from The Simpsons to Modern Family, Mrs Doubtfire, National Lampoon’s Vacation and Everybody Loves Raymond – and as narrative clichés go, it’s not particularly helpful.
The truth is that the vast majority of men are perfectly capable of being good hands-on fathers while their wives go out to work, and to suggest otherwise does a disservice to both genders. Think about it: should Mrs Incredible be worrying about whether her husband knows how to properly change a nappy while she’s out saving the world? We don’t think so.
However! We have total confidence that Disney Pixar wouldn’t dream of reverting to such stale stereotypes, and will instead show Mr Incredible rising to the occasion so that his wife can go out and kick ass. Over to you, Incredibles 2…
Main image: Disney Pixar