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The Incredibles 2: Wait, A Second… Jack-Jack Has Powers?!

Jack-Jack Attack! [Credit: Disney]
“Jack-Jack’s fine, but some weird things are happening!” — Kari in Jack-Jack Attack

In just over six months, fans of the 2004 Disney-Pixar superhero flick, The Incredibles, will be graced once more by their glorious presence. Fans were teased at D23 in 2017 with a first look at the second film. A couple of months later, fans were treated to the first teaser for the film, showing the some of the same footage that was shown at D23.

In the shown footage at D23, Mr. Incredible lies asleep on the couch while his youngest child, Jack-Jack creates havoc as he uses his powers. However, Incredible, known by the civilian name Bob Parr, has no idea his youngest son has these amazing powers. When he awakens, Jack-Jack uses his laser vision to slice through his hair. The doting father of three excitedly exclaims:

“You have powers!”

Back To Basics: The Running Gag

According to director Brad Bird, the running gag of The Incredibles 2 will be whether the Parrs actually know about Jack-Jack’s powers. In the original film, it was never said during the final conflict (when Syndrome kidnaps Jack-Jack) whether the Parrs, especially Helen saw him using them. As it was never mentioned, it’s assumed no one except the supposedly dead Syndrome saw him.

Having watched the film at least a dozen times just recently, the running gag, that started with the original film, raises a few questions. These questions begin when Helen is checking the voice messages from Kari, Jack-Jack’s babysitter. With every voice message, Kari sounds even more distressed. In the final message, Kari says Jack-Jack ‘has special needs’. Helen lets Bob listen to the message and they freak out when Kari mentions a replacement has shown up — the replacement being Syndrome. Helen says she didn’t call a replacement.

While we don’t see the carnage involving Jack-Jack take place during the film, the crew at Pixar put together a short film called Jack-Jack Attack that shows exactly what happened. In this short, Kari is being interviewed by Rick Dicker, an agent and friend of Bob and Helen’s from the NSA (National Supers Agency). Most of the events of the short film were a flashback, which were used to explain exactly what went on while the Parrs were away.

Throughout the entire flashback situation, the running gag is Kari seeing Jack-Jack using his powers and believing she’s seeing things. Jump back to the interview with Dicker, he is forced to erase her memories of the whole event.

In saying this, what the Parrs actually saw when Jack-Jack was being held captive by Syndrome was one thing, but they didn’t draw on what they saw, probably thinking it was all Syndrome.

Remind Us Again… What Were Jack-Jack’s Powers?

So, the audience probably won’t remember what Jack-Jack’s powers were, given he had very little screen time, compared to the rest of his family. Let’s take a look at what some of his powers were.

  • Changing into a little gremlin
  • Ghosting through any surface
  • Laser eyes (yes, just like Superman)
  • Climbing up surfaces (like Spiderman)
  • Changing his form into a metal mass
  • Super strength (like dear old dad, Bob)
  • Splitting self in multiple copies
  • Erupting into a flames

Pixar Really Has Thought Of Anything For Jack-Jack

Jack-Jack might only be a cute little baby, but there is so much more to him than just these traits. Like with all superheroes, if you are born into a family of superheroes, it’s likely everyone would get some kind of superpowers. In other words, genetics often have the first laugh.

During the first film, we are introduced to the Parrs, a family of supers where patriarch Bob becomes tired of having to sit back and play the life of a civilian. His wife, Helen was once known as Elastigirl, because of her ability to stretch. Their eldest child and only daughter, Violet was born with the ability to turn invisible and to produce force fields. The couple’s eldest son and second child Dash has super speed much like the Flash and Quicksilver in DC Comics and Marvel Comics, respectively and was appropriately named because of his ability. However, the youngest Parr, Jack-Jack didn’t show signs of having superpowers.

Speaking of Jack-Jack, throughout the film, it was widely believed Jack-Jack hadn’t inherited superpowers as there were never any signs. Big sister, Violet says exactly that when she starts a fight with Dash, who had been teasing her about her crush on Tony Rydinger. She says:

“I want to be normal! The only normal one is Jack-Jack and he’s not even toilet trained!”

So, what does this mean exactly?

Let’s think back. Violet and Dash would have come into their powers as babies or possibly, at birth. In the first film, Violet is 14 while Dash is 10. In the second film, they’ll be the same age because the film picks up where the first one finished and will pick up with The Underminer’s threat. As seen in the final seconds of the first film, the entire family was suited up to take the villain. Note, Jack-Jack was wearing his mask so he’s involved with the fight too. Though, it can be assumed he won’t show his powers until later or the family knows about his powers and the Underminer is just a time jump.

The subject of Jack-Jack’s seemingly non-existing powers is mentioned frequently throughout the events of the first film. The infant’s lack of powers is made apparent well after Violet states the fact during the dinnertime fight. When Helen goes to visit Edna ‘E’ Mode about Bob’s super suit, E tells her she made the entire family suits, including Jack-Jack. Helen tells the fashion designer that Jack-Jack hasn’t got powers. One of the features of the suit that E makes for the baby is it can survive temperatures of over 1000 degrees. The audience learns later, one of Jack-Jack’s powers is being able to burst into flames. Coincidence… maybe.

While we don’t know exactly if E’s add of flame resistance was merely coincidental, it could have also been Pixar’s way of hinting at what was to come for the adorable youngster during the climax of the film.

Jack-Jack: Is He Considered Dangerous?

Who doesn’t love babies? The creative team behind The Incredibles for the adorable factor right when they came up with Jack-Jack. What I, as a fan, love about Jack-Jack is how unpredictable he is. After all, he’s the whole reason Syndrome’s fate is unknown at the end of the film after his cape gets caught.

While it is abundantly clear, the Parrs love the infant, he could be seen as dangerous. Now, I know you’re all asking “Why would he be a danger? He’s a cute baby with a multitude of superpowers.” There’s your answer right there. His superpowers are the danger, not so much Jack-Jack himself.

The infant’s powers are seen as dangerous because if you think about it, having eyes that shoot lasers is considered dangerous. Look at what happened to Superman. He had to wear lead-lined glasses to prevent his laser eyes and x-ray vision from doing any damage. Same goes for being able to turn into a gremlin beast. I could go on. However, if you think about it, if these abilities can be used for good or evil. It just depends on the influences and who is teaching the infant.

Conclusion

With all the above being said, it’s apparent Jack-Jack Parr is possibly the most powerful super in Pixar’s version of the superhero universe. With so many different superpowers, it is only a matter of time before the elder members of Jack-Jack’s family work out exactly how powerful the baby is and what he could be capable of. Watch out world, we could have a potential future super villain on our hands.

The Incredibles 2 smashes into cinemas June, 2018.

In the meantime, here’s a look at the teaser trailer: