The newest superhero movie is not what you might think. It’s not DC or Marvel related but the heroes are pint-sized and break down the stereotypes we’ve been accustom to for so long…
[CAUTION: This post contains spoilers for We Can Be Heroes]
We Can Be Heroes is the newest offering from Spy Kids director, Robert Rodriguez which dropped on Netflix for the holidays. The film is a delightful and family-friendly take on the superhero genre from an interesting viewpoint; the children of supers. Sure, Disney and Pixar had The Incredibles and Incredibles 2, but those were told about Bob and Helen Parr.
What makes this movie so different to every other film in the superhero genre is the message that it conveys. You don’t need to have super powers to be a hero.
Rodriguez’s film is quite literally told from the perspective of child superheroes. The movie is told from the view point of Missy Moreno (YaYa Gosselin), the daughter of master swordsman Marcus Moreno (Pedro Pascal), the leader of the superhero team, The Heroics.
Missy lives in a world where children of superheroes know who their parents are. Her father gave up field work after the death of her mother and he promised her that he wouldn’t fight again. However, when all the super parents are kidnapped in combat with aliens, she rallies the kids to join forces.
Breaking Down The Stereotypes
Despite being a fun family adventure that conveys the importance of teamwork, We Can Be Heroes shows that stereotypes exist, but they are quickly dispelled. Let’s a look at a few of them and see how they’re broken down.
Super genetics are not always carried over
It’s made very clear from the beginning of We Can Be Heroes that Missy does not have super powers. Her father might be a master swordsman but that isn’t really a power and more of a skill. We learn later that her mother was a super too but didn’t have abilities either which explains why she doesn’t.
Also, the kids at Missy’s school think that because her dad is Marcus Moreno, that she has powers. She is very quick to tell them that she doesn’t have abilities and that she’s just an ordinary human whose father is famous.
Powers don’t need to match their parents
We Can Be Heroes gives us a whole range of unique powers when it comes to the super kids. In other superhero media, we often see the same abilities time and time again, but this film throws that out the window. The kids don’t have the same gifts their parents do.
One perfect example of this is the youngest of the kids, Guppy (Vivien Blair) whose parents are Sharkboy (who is not played by Taylor Lautner in this film) and Lavagirl (Taylor Dooley). Her powers are water based mostly, meaning her abilities stem more from her father than her mother.
Guppy’s abilities include shark strength and the ability to manipulate liquid.
Another example of this is Slow-Mo whose father is Blinding Fast (Sung Kang). The boy’s powers are the reverse of his dad’s who can run fast. However, his son is said to run so fast that he’s stuck in a time warp.
Teamwork is not always a good thing
Despite a theme of We Can Be Heroes being teamwork, it shows what happens when the opposite occurs. The Heroics are seen to not always get along which causes conflict amongst the group.
This is what Anita, Marcus’ mother and Missy’s grandmother cautions the kids against when she begins training them. When she sneaks onto the alien mothership and finds the parents, she calls them out on their inability to work together. Basically, she tells them they have egos.
Kids are not as sensitive as adults like to think
It’s true that in the outside world, adults will shield their children from danger. However, We Can Be Heroes moves away from this and has the kids exposed to them from the get-go.
During the early stages of the film, the kids watch the news report on the alien invasion where they witness their parents get captured. They are able to escape Heroics Headquarters and head to Missy’s grandmother’s house.
You don’t need to be dead to be a legend
Missy’s grandmother, Anita makes the point that you need to be dead to be a legend. Actually, she’s kinda wrong on this account.
The whole world views the Heroics as legends despite them not being… well… dead. Also, never tell Anita Moreno that she is a legend because she’ll bite your head off.
All powers have a limit
During the final climax of the film, a control module is dropped beyond reach of the kids. Missy instructs Noodles (Lyon Daniels) to retrieve it but when he tries, his stretching powers can’t get to it which leaves them in a little bit of a bind. This leads Slo-Mo to race down to get it because no one would survive a fall that high except him.