The Incredibles

Inciting Event: After a horrible day at work, Bob is absent-mindedly reading the newspaper when he spies an article talking about his old superhero buddy GazerBeam having gone missing. Within the busyness of this First Act, this is a comparatively tiny moment, but it’s the first scene in which the main conflict with Syndrome (although Bob doesn’t recognize it as that as yet) is introduced.

Up to this point, the story has been entirely concerned with setting the stage: first through the prologue in which the Syndrome is introduced as a child, Bob and Helen’s superhero skills are exhibited, and they are married—and then through an introduction of their Normal World fifteen years later, in which they are struggling suburban parents with three kids.

First Plot Point: After getting fired, Bob receives a secret message from the mysterious Mirage, who offers him a job in which he can finally use his superpowers once again. He promptly accepts and flies to meet her on Nomanisan Island. Here he leaves behind his Normal World as a disgruntled and distracted “normal” dad and enters the adventure world of being a “rebooted” superhero. He takes on the OmniDroid, which Mirage tells him has gone rogue and is terrorizing the island, and succeeds. This is a nice example of a positive First Plot Point that still brings with it a host of complications and nuances, since Bob must keep his new job a secret from Helen.

First Pinch Point: Bob returns to the island for another job, only to be taken out by a bigger, badder OmniDroid. Syndrome reveals himself to Bob for the first time, and the full import of the conflict becomes known. Although Syndrome’s presence has been felt, via foreboding, ever since the First Plot Point, this is the first time he’s introduced as the antagonist. The movie did an amazing job of working him into the First Act, as a child, so that his presence here has real meaning and resonance. As a result, his late re-introduction into the plot works perfectly.

Midpoint: After escaping Syndrome, Bob hacks into his computer and learns of Syndrome’s plan to destroy the supers and launch his OmniDroid into the heart of Metroville. Simultaneously, the increasingly suspicious Helen activates a tracking beacon in Bob’s new supersuit—which alerts Syndrome to Bob’s presence. He is captured.

This is a nice double revelation here, since we get one for both Bob who figures out Syndrome’s plan and Helen who figures out what’s up with her husband. The timing couldn’t have been better, since Helen’s revelation impacts Bob’s plotline, pushing the whole thing forward into the second half of the story.

Second Pinch Point: Helen’s plane—along with her kids Violet and Dash, who stowed away in the plane—is shot down over Nomanisan Island. This is a huge scene that aptly emphasizes the antagonist’s power. It also introduces new clues about Syndrome’s plane, as he reveals he intends to destroy the OmniDroid himself, making himself a hero in the eyes of the Metroville citizens.

Third Plot Point: After a false victory in which Helen frees Bob and they reunite with the kids to kill some bad guys, Syndrome captures and imprisons them all. His rocket, with the OmniDroid, crashes in Metroville.

Although Bob’s true low point came at the Second Pinch Point when he believed his family to have been killed, this scene does actually ratchet the stakes higher, since the entire family is now at risk, all of Metroville is under siege, and there seems to be no hope of escape.

Climax: After escaping the island, Bob, Helen, and the kids return to Metroville and take on the robot—who has proven too strong even for Syndrome. Only after destroying the robot does the conflict spiral down to the confrontation with Syndrome himself, when he steals the baby Jack-Jack.

Climactic Moment: Jack-Jack’s latent powers finally manifest and he escapes Syndrome. Syndrome’s cape gets caught in his jet turbine, and he is killed.

Resolution: The Parrs adjust to a new life that balances their special abilities with their normal lifestyle. Dash goes out for sports, Violet gets a date—and they all take on the new villain the Underminer.

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