"You’e weak! And I’ve outgrown you."
My brother called me yesterday with a stunning revelation he’d had about this scene: intentional or not, this is a perfect commentary on the superhero genre of today, and about one of its greatest weaknesses.
He’s calling Mr. Incredible weak here because the man refused to do one thing—and that was to kill someone. And because he sees him as being unable to kill, he sees him as weak—and childish. “I’ve outgrown you.” Now he is in the realm of “mature” superheroes, where Superman has to snap a man’s neck and Catwoman has to shoot Bane, where the purity of a woman forged by clay is unrelatable and marriage is nonconducive to an interesting story. His is a world where superheroes die to make villains seem impressive, a world where a dark and gritty realism is more important than a fun and adventurous fantasy.
In the end of this movie, though, the Omnidroid isn’t beaten by Mr. Incredible finding Syndrome and beating an explanation out of him to stop the robot; they solve it through brainwork, audacity, and a fun and creative action sequence. Syndrome dies in the end, yes, but that’s primarily because he keeps trying to push his view, and ends up destroying himself.
But this is Syndrome being Zack Snyder or Frank Miller, and believing that the fun adventures of yesteryear are childish fantasies that need to be left behind: ours is a world where to relate to a superhero, we have to see that superhero be unable to accomplish his task completely, where he has to settle and accept a compromise in order to preserve the greater good. We can’t admire them for being able to do what we cannot—we have to grow up and see that they’re just like us, they’re nothing special. Not really. And that is what true maturity is. A truly mature Avatar would kill the Firelord, a truly mature Superman would have no choice but to fight in the middle of a city, and video games need to be about cover-based shooting and military combat in the real world. With quick-time-events!
And of course, that’s all complete bullcrap, and the sooner that mentality gets sucked into a jet engine, the happier I’ll be.