One evening in Washington DC at a networking event, I made a friend. We were chatting about all things Disney, when we were interrupted by another young woman.
"How can you support Disney? Don't you know how aggressively they trumpet the liberal agenda?"
Stunned, my young 21 year old self had never heard anything like that before.
I was reminded of that difficult interaction after viewing Incredibles 2, which grossed a record breaking $72 million on its opening day. This triumph exceeds Finding Dory's opening day back in 2016, which grossed $54 million.
Walt Disney and Pixar are legend creators. They are able to write spellbinding stories while also teaching viewers an underlying message. Sometimes these lessons are only felt, rather than specifically communicated. This comparison is easily shown by recognizing the differences between Zootopia and Finding Dory.
But what is the legend in Incredibles 2? A mother trusting parenting responsibilities to her husband, in order to experience her lost individuality? A father struggling and triumphing in the difficulties of being Mr. Mom? The tragic memory loss of a young man who just wants to take a superhero on a date?
Yes. It's about all those things. But mostly, it's about the strong bonds of family. How even in extreme situations, the love shared in that traditional familial nucleus can overcome even the most dramatic of adversities.
The legend Pixar and Walt Disney weave is not a new idea, in fact it may be as old as time. The lesson taught in this movie is conservative to the core. It proves that while Disney does articulate liberal ideas, they are still able to bring back a beloved story centering on a traditional family framework.
We love Incredibles 2 because we are watching the best versions of ourselves. Mothers watch Elastagirl juggle motherhood and wifedom while chasing down her dreams. Fathers experience Mr. Incredible conceivably sidelined, unable to provide for his family, but still saving the day. Daughters watch Violet struggle to grasp the confidence she craves, and benefit from a supportive relationship with her father. Sons watch Dash complain about babysitting but beam intuition and leadership from the guiding wisdom of his parents.
The legend of Incredibles 2 is the distinctive power of relationships within the bonds of family. The lesson is show through the tension of struggle and redemption in that nucleus. No family is without their problems, but therein lies the power. Incredibles 2 revolves around a family of superheroes, who are actually just like us.
If I was able to go back to that evening when my love of Disney was challenged, I would now be able to say something like,
"I'm aware of that. I also firmly believe in the positive impact Disney stories have. It's up to us to support the ones we agree with, and respectfully confront the ones we don't."
Disney believes that traditional family values sell. Regardless of any other entertainment they release, this remains true even fourteen years after the original movie came out.