Within the past few weeks, the wee one has discovered The Incredibles. We bought the original movie and I’ve watched it more in the last week than in the last 14 years. Even the bonus clip with Jack Jack. Then while looking for the newest kid reviews toys and shoots thousands of Nerf bullets video on YouTube, we found that someone had posted all of the story clips from the Incredibles video game. All of this culminated in the decision to see the sequel in a theater and I’ve never seen a four year old focus for two hours like that. Not just mine, but all of the children. What a great movie. Multiple strong female characters, reinforcing family values, and lots of bit players who expand the world of super heroes. Of course we had to go toy shopping after the movie.
One of the missions for this site is to take the lessons we learned as a geek pop culture obsessed generation and transfer that on to our children so that they may be the heroes for the future. Lessons like men and women can equally be heroes. Lessons like even the bit players get their moments to shine. Lessons that began with the Star Wars toys and continued through other properties.
The 65 back of a Return of the Jedi figure. 65 action figure choices. All of the favorites are there, even ones that no one remembered or cared about until seeing the figure. I’m willing to bet there wasn’t a letter writing campaign for Klaatu. And even though I’ve seen the movie countless times I honestly have to think hard to remember where he is in the movie. Not really an iconic moment. Yet there he is, in all of his nearly 4 inch glory. Sure the line is light on women and ethnicity but given the movie that was created outside of Kenner, they did a pretty good job of capturing nearly everyone.
Which must mean, 35 years later, that toy companies are even better now. Full cast represented. Men, women, black, white, and I’ll give you a pass on gay because that’s not really an obvious feature on an action figure. Do we know if our above buddy Klaatu was gay, straight, bi, married, single, divorced, etc? No. But we know he was green with a mean mug.
Again, this must mean that the biggest animated movie of the year, from the biggest studio, and in this era obsessed with super heroes, that the store shelves will be bursting with every character in the Incredibles universe. Lets look at the back of the packaging!
What’s going on here? Something is missing. Many things. Many female things. Now, if these characters were the main focus of the film, I could maybe give it a pass. But Elasti-girl AKA Mrs Incredible is the main character of the main story. Violet has a big B plot. Voyd, a new hero, is integral to the plot. There are more names that could be added here but then we’re in spoiler territory.
Yes, there is an Elasti-girl and a Violet toy out there. Dolls with cloth costumes. That’s it. Jack Jack is a popular character, so it does make sense to have a lot of toys for the multi powered baby but the trash panda has more toys than any female character. There are more raccoon toys than toys for the character who has the main storyline in the movie. I know thanks to Marvel that raccoons are popular but Rocket and this rodent are worlds apart.
Speaking of Marvel, I see Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Gamora, the women of Black Panther, Proxima, and the Wasp all on store shelves right now. And to be fair, some of the characters that might be lacking could be tied into spoiler territory for this movie or next year’s finale. But if they are not represented, they are also not main characters. Not having multiple variations of Elasti-Girl is like not having multiple figures of Thanos. The main character gets lots of toys.
As a geek parent, you cant force billion dollar companies to make the toys you suggest, but you can emphasize the importance of any under represented character with your child. Buy him that doll. Take them to McDonald’s, which has all the characters in the Happy Meal and are actually some pretty cool toys. When you’re watching the movie, point at the girl heroes and say, “isn’t she so smart, strong, brave”. Say to him or her you can be just as strong as her and mean it as a positive.
Invisible Woman taught us that the one you can’t see, that is perceived as the weakest, can be the strongest of all.
What are Violet’s powers again?