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In The Incredibles (2004), it is clearly established that the female character Mirage willingly serves as the "main bad guy's" (Syndrome's) executive secretary / right-hand woman. (It is also suggested that there exists some personal emotional relationship between them - whether that relationship is also romantic is left unclear.) It is explicitly shown that she has been covertly observing various (former) supers in an effort to recruit them for Syndrome's secret project - which involves hiring them under the pretense of having them combat a renegade sentient robot (the "Omnidroid" and its subsequent iterations) with advanced destructive capabilities on a remote tropical island, but which in reality serves only as a field test to sharpen the robot's battle skills and determine how best to upgrade its weaponry.

When, after the second confrontation with Omnidroid, in the course of which Syndrome reveals to Mr. Incredible the broad strokes of his nefarious master plan, Mr. Incredible manages to temporarily escape and hack into Syndrome's master computer, at which time he views data files on the previous "elimination" of numerous other supers who had presumably likewise been duped into fighting Omnidroid.

When Mr. Incredible is finally captured and held prisoner by Syndrome, Mirage is present when Syndrome orders a missile strike against an incoming jet piloted by Elasti-Girl, who pleads with Syndrome to abort the missiles because there are "children onboard." Mirage seems emotionally shaken by this experience, but still does not express any disapproval towards Syndrome or argue with him to spare the children. At one point, the chained Mr. Incredible manages to grasp Mirage and threatens to kill her, which Syndrome dismisses as a bluff, which reaction does seem to finally "sour" Mirage on Syndrome.

It is only much later, after Elasti-Girl and the children are likewise captured and held prisoner, and after the whole family has been able to escape their bonds (on their own power) that Mirage shows up and actively "joins the resistance" by providing them with the high-level password they need to begin foiling Syndrome's evil plan.

Doesn't all this indicate that - up until that point in time - Mirage had been privy to and a willing party to all of Syndrome's nefarious plans - to systematically lure supers to the island and use Omnidroid to kill them, one at a time (while at the same time constantly upgrading Omnidroid's destructive potential)? While Mirage's motivation is never explained to us (though her extreme personal loyalty to Syndrome might be a partial explanation), it may be that Mirage is well aware that the cover story they have been using to lure supers to the island is a blatant lie, and that numerous previous supers were killed while battling Omnidroid. Or she may have been an unwilling dupe.

So my question is: Is Mirage guilty of morally reprehensible behavior? Did she knowingly participate in the premeditated (meticulously planned!) murder of numerous innocent human beings? It is implied that she earns "redemption" near the end of the movie by providing the password - but does it come a little too easily and quickly? (She seems to betray Syndrome only because she has come to the conclusion that he recklessly risked her safety / doesn't really care about her.) Her further fate and/or punishment - after revealing the secret password - is never shown or even implied.

So: Should she be viewed as nearly as dark and evil as Syndrome himself? Or was she unaware of just how incredibly criminal and morally reprehensible Syndrome's plan was?

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    Your final paragraph contains four different questions instead of one. The first two are obvious "yes"es, and the last two are purely opinion-based. – F1Krazy Jul 13 '20 at 7:00
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    Hi Alex, this still seems opinion-based to me. Given your analysis, Mirage's moral compass can still point both ways, and this likely depends on how any viewer - like you - interprets the facts and inferences regarding her role. Are you looking for an in-universe answer, or hoping for information from the writers? – Joachim Jul 14 '20 at 7:33
  • I guess that my question is really only: Did Pixar cleverly succeed in distracting us, the audience, from the fact that Mirage is a thoroughly contemptible murderess - or can it be argued that she wasn't really complicit, didn't have full knowledge, was a dupe? Her flippant "just say please" in her last scene is obviously intended to leave us with an overall sympathetic impression - but isn't she in fact a cold-blooded serial killer? – Alex Jul 14 '20 at 17:40
  • @Joachim I don't get why everyone always wants to ask the writers to tell them what their characters mean in some interview. The film is right there, the writers gave it to you to see what the characters do and why. – Napoleon Wilson Jul 15 '20 at 16:06
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    @NapoleonWilson I agree - a good piece of (narrative) art shouldn't need explaining. Still, films have a limited amount of time in which a story can be told, and we all know not everything makes it through to the audience, so the authors (or other insiders) can give clarity about things. And I wondered if the OP was looking for that type of insight. – Joachim Jul 15 '20 at 17:52
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Is it murder if you fully disclose all information of what the Super is facing prior to the battle? The only withheld information is that they set it free on purpose, repeatedly. Is that really any different than many other sports? MMA, bullfighting, etc, there is always a risk of death, but also a cash prize if you win. After winning a battle, the super is invited back, but we don't know if those encounters were all like Mr Incredible's, where he sat in a room and was attacked or if it was a willing battle.

The ultimate goal is riches, fame and power. Who wouldn't tag along for that, even if that means sacrificing a few willing participants?

I'm attracted to power, it's a weakness we share. - Mirage

I’ll give them heroics. I’ll give them the most spectacular heroics anyone’s ever seen! And when I’m old and I’ve had my fun, I’ll sell my inventions so that everyone can be superheroes. Everyone can be a super! And when everyone’s super. No one will be. - Syndrome

His goal is not destruction and murder, but fame and riches. She is aware and included on most of Syndrome's plans and appears to be important enough to even be in on the interrogation scene. We presume they are intimate, she at the very least cares enough about him to save Syndrome from Mr Incredible and risks her own life for him suggesting it's more than just business. She's the only one they show having access to the main computers. She clearly knows enough of his plans to know that Syndrome has a grudge against Mr Incredible when she changes the recruiting target from Frozone to Mr Incredible. It's clear he has not let this information out to his other subordinates and she displays confidence that she knows what Syndrome really wants.

Verify you want to switch targets, over.

Trust me, this is the one he's been looking for. - Mirage

Questioning her judgement seems to indicate it was not a partnership of power. They also use the word 'targets', which is not a word you would chose looking for someone to help you with your runaway robot. She has the launch codes! Everything indicates she knows more than anyone else on the island regarding the plans and is not being duped. If the plan is to send the super robot to the mainland, and have Syndrome battle it and win, there is the question of whether people will die. Maybe he convinced her it will be safe, after all he is in control of the robots.

You can easily argue that this plan is all about fame and fortune with a few willing sacrifices and place it in a morally gray area. The turning point is when Syndrome demonstrates he is willing to kill innocent life, the children on the plane, and her own, both in the same scene. Her lack of action to stop him does not mean anything significant. She sees that he doesn't care about anyone's life including hers who appears to be closest to him, and that likely people will die in the attack on the city. This is really the deciding point for her, knowing he's willing to let anyone die to be the hero.

As far as what happens to her afterwards, according to the comic series, she is recruited by the National Supers Agency despite her affiliation with Syndrome and lack of super powers, though it shows she is also skilled in combat.

  • "Is it murder if you fully disclose all information of what the Super is facing prior to the battle?" Yes. Not that I think they did so. – Acccumulation Jul 20 '20 at 21:47
  • @Acccumulation: They certainly never revealed the following info to ANY of the supers: "You're the 23rd (or 29th, or 33rd) super we are pitting against Omnidroid; all of the previous supers are now dead, and we haven't even bothered to recover their bones and give them a decent burial. In fact, I laughed about it and danced!" – Alex Jul 23 '20 at 9:11

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