There are 14 years between the first Incredibles movie and its new sequel Incredibles 2, but one thing that’s thrilling to see pay off in both films is watching baby Jack-Jack play with his various powers, sometimes at the expense of the family.
In the first movie, the only people who see Jack-Jack’s powers are the babysitter, Kari McKeen, and the villain, Syndrome. From their vantage point on the ground, the Parr family missed out on the aerial fight between Syndrome and Jack-Jack, and they’re certainly not home when he tortures the unwitting babysitter.
Writer-director Brad Bird said in an interview with The Verge that the way the first movie left the question of Jack-Jack’s powers gave the sequel huge payoff potential: “I knew that the audience knew Jack-Jack had multiple powers, but the Parr family did not,” he explains. “So I knew Jack-Jack was going to play a big role in any new film.”
At one point in the new film, Bob Parr declares with a mixture of pride and fatigue that his son has 17 powers. But is Jack-Jack really the jack of that many trades?
In the original Incredibles, we see Jack-Jack turn into a baby made of flames, a baby made of metal, and then into a hobgoblin, all in an attempt to escape Syndrome’s kidnapping. We’re made to believe Jack-Jack’s power is polymorphism.
But audiences who caught the DVD short Jack-Jack Attack discovered that, once triggered by a Mozart sonata, Jack-Jack can also shoot purple laser eyes and float around the house, teleporting through different dimensions. That’s a total of three powers (six if you count each of Jack-Jack’s forms as a separate power).
Now with The Incredibles 2, we know he’s got a lot more than that. Here’s the complete list of powers we’ve seen. (Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the film.)
- Demon Flame Baby
- Full Metal Baby
- Hobgoblin Baby
- Hobgoblin Flame Baby (maybe the ability to combine powers?)
- Laser eyes (comes in a variety of options, including purple beam, green beam, steady beam, and ray gun “pew pew pew” modes)
- Teleportation (intradimension)
- Interdimensional wormhole creation and travel (not to be confused with teleportation, which involves simply vanishing)
- Walking through matter (including the bars on his crib)
- Piecemeal shape-shifting (morphing specific body parts to resemble others’)
- Rocket-propulsion sneezes
- Duplication (self-cloning)
- Rapid Expansion (e.g., Giant Baby Mode)
That’s a total of 14 unique powers — not quite 17, so we’ll have to assume Bob was exaggerating. (In his defense, he was pretty sleep-deprived and learning a whole new math system.) It seems like, for now, Jack-Jack is mainly a polymorph who chooses to take whatever the most convenient form is given his circumstances. He also continues to be delighted by Mozart, which seems to inspire an increase in power output, luring him toward other dimensions until he’s hungry for snacks.
If an Incredibles 3 ever gets made or the franchise gets a spinoff, an adolescent Jack-Jack managing his powers himself, rather than flustering his babysitters, could be a great basis for the Parrs’ next story.