I could easily tip into a rant on this topic. But here is my basic premise:
Super Powers are a shortcut for creativity.
And by super powers I am including extreme martial arts skills, super genius intelligence and freaky mutations. Somehow, these have become all to common in animation.
Charlie Chaplin taught us that comedy is the little guy against the big world. All he has are his wits. Cartoon characters used to have to prove themselves. They start off as underdogs and by effort and cleverness they win.
I’m not saying we should never use super powers, but it can’t define the character. The character has to demonstrate more individuality than suddenly achieving that long sought kung fu move or whipping up a new invention to save himself.
Cartoon characters by nature have at least one super power. They can’t die.