Thursday, March 3, 2011

Megamind


Directed by Tom McGrath.
2010. Rated PG, 95 minutes.
Cast:
Will Ferrell
Tina Fey
Brad Pitt
Jonah Hill
David Cross
J. K. Simmons
Ben Stiller
Jessica Schulte
Justin Theroux

Amy Poehler
Like most supervillains, Megamind (Ferrell) can never quite beat the hero in town. Try as he might, his plans are always thwarted by Metro Man (Pitt). To give you a point of reference, Metro Man is basically Superman dressed in all white. Megamind has spent practically his entire life trying to overcome the do-gooder. However, he hasn’t really thought about what he would do if he were actually victorious. So, when he finally manages to defeat Metro Man, he finds out that total domination isn’t all he thought it would be. With no one to challenge him, and no one to share his success with, he gets bored.

In order to spice things us, Megamind takes on two tasks. First, he tries to woo TV news reporter Roxanne Richie (Fey). Essentially, she’s the Lois Lane of our tale. In the past, he’s kidnapped her way too many times to count. Therefore, he creates an alter-ego. He also creates an alter-ego for his second task: coaching someone else up to be a hero and provide him with some opposition. This other alter-ego is a bit problematic for the movie’s target audience. Most kids simply won’t get it. They’re just too young. Whether or not parents get it seems to depend on whether they’re fans of the Superman movies, or not. That’s because the shape Megamind takes for this is that of Superman’s father as portrayed by Marlon Brando in those movies. If you have that point of reference, it’s a great source of comedy. If you don’t, not so much.

The rest of the movie works pretty well. It nicely spoofs both superhero and supervillain lore by poking fun at the clich├ęs we’ve all come to know and love. This keeps us chuckling for much of the runtime. In addition, we come to genuinely feel for the bad guy. We even come to be on his side as he works to correct his mistakes. Surprisingly, we also find ourselves thinking about Metro Man at the end. What happens when the hero becomes tired of, or is left unfulfilled by being heroic? The movie treads lightly in this area so it doesn’t drag us down, emotionally. However, it is still a question that’s left out there.

In the end, Megamind is a fun affair that does what it sets out to. It entertains us with a family-friendly redemption story. It shares a number of similarities with Despicable Me, but is different enough that watching both is no issue. However, I will say that even though I enjoyed both, which you like best might be predicated on which you see first.

MY SCORE: 7/10

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