Let me pause for a moment and just think about that last part for a moment... Ah, yeah!
Megamind from Dreamworks Animation clearly understands this deconstruction... or, at least, writers Brent Simons and Alan J. Schoolcraft and, of course, director Tom McGrath clearly get the whole thing!
True, this is a (pretty horkin' good) Superhero flick, but more accurately, this might just be an ANTI-Superhero flick for all of its turning-on-the-proverbial-ear of the standardized, expected motifs of the Graphic Novel-influenced subgenre of movies. It's got the icons, the cliches, the action, the adventure and the laughs that make this film (and the better films of its kind) so memorable.
Observe... We all know the story about the imperiled, far away world where an infant was launched, Earthbound, on his way to a very heroic destiny. But what if that famous Superman-to-be wasn't the ONLY ONE sent toward Earth? That's the story that our title character Megamind (hilariously voiced by Will Ferrell) tells us in flashback as our Power-Tale kicks off, kiddies. See, our more human looking bambino bounced not into a Kansas Farm this time, but into something much more akin to stately Wayne Manor... in short... the lap of luxury. Unfortunately, our blue-skinned anti-protagonist (who has a forehead even bigger than mine... wow) bounced into a MAXIMUM security prison instead and learned Wrong from Right in all of the wrong ways... probably by Right Wingers!
While his erstwhile travel rival becomes the most popular kid in school and grows up to be a handsome Superman Pastiche known as Metro Man (Brad Pitt), Megamind realizes that his only way to make his own megamark is to become a Supervillain and the TERROR of Metro City or, as he pronounces it, "Metrocity" (it rhymes with "Atrocity").
From that point on, hero and villain (who started out as planetary neighbors) engage in that same old circular pattern from the old four colored gridded page we all know and adore. Megamind threatens to become an atrocity to Metro City, Metro Man slaps him down. Megamind captures the pure-hearted, strong, no-nonsense reporter with the alliterative name of Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey), often right out from under the nose of her camera boy (Jonah Hill's Hal Stewart who makes Jimmy Olsen look cool), and threatens her with tiresomely inventive torture scenarios that could make a Bond Villain blush... Metro Man saves the Damsel in Distress! Megamind finds the hero's one, true weakness and captures him with no escape possible, Metro Man's incredible powers triumph over the tragedy and Megamind is soon back under the watchful, stern brow of J.K. Simmons' Warden!
But Megamind, the film, boldly goes on to ask the question of what might happen if all of that standard trite trope tripe could possibly be shattered! The old adage of "Be Careful what you Wish For" is perfectly exemplified in Megamind and played out to greatly comical degrees. And so, too, is the concept that a great good will always rise up against a seemingly unstoppable evil, regardless of how surprising a place that great good might come from.
That seemingly unstoppable evil is greatly demonstrated (in an safe-enough-for-PG kind of way) by the character of Megamind and his literal fish-out-of-water Minion (David Cross). When Megamind saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer! Or something like that!
So many great moments are to be enjoyed as the film unspools in its surprising, semi iconoclastic way. Thankfully, each of the characters is beautifully animated and excellently voiced by the perfectly cast actors. Fey has the whole "Lois Lane" thing down, with a cynical, knowing twist. Pitt is very funny as the self-absorbed hero who is as full of himself as the denizens of Metro City are. Cross is hilarious as the quipping lackey in the "Ro-Man" from Robot Monster containment suit. The whole cast (which also features the voices of Justin Theroux, Tom McGrath and even Ben Stiller, who also executive produced) can be heard.
As is common, mister Will Ferrell tends to steal his own show here with his rapid-fire dialogue delivery and comical twist on a character that the plotters based on a winning Lex Luthor. In truth, the character more closely resembles later interpretations of Brainiac and early versions of The Ultra Humanite, both, like Luthor, DC Comics villains.
Okay, okay, okay, most of the audience has little idea who Braniac is and even less have clue ONE about the Ultra Humanite, but there's just one more slice of coolness in Megamind. It's got its geek chic down pat. While not made or endorsed by DC or its parent company, this one has plenty of comic book references, from the name "Hal Stewart" referencing two Green Lanterns, to the Captain Marvel-remeniscent design, to the ubiquitous Superman references (note the "space-dad's" Brando impression)... it's all in there like Prego!
This can be great fun for the comic book fan, but ordinary viewers might find this somewhat bewildering. Further, even (and especially) for those truly engaged in the story, it's hard not to get the impression that, for all its uniqueness, Megamind is largely made up of elements that have been done before. In some cases these come off as what they are intended to be... Pastiches and tributes. In others, these feel a bit more like rip-offs or, at least, borrowed plot points.
Lucklily, however, these are just roughs in the jewels, as Megamind uses all of these varied, evolving branches to tell a very unique tale with a great climax and a fun ending that manages to shore up all possible loose ends (stay through the credits for an additional scene half-way through). There are a lot of films that push the boundaries of the expected, but Megamind does this in a much more positive and fun way (not to mention a much funnier way than predicted). Hey, it's not perfect, but it's definitely a lot of fun and a lot of funny!
You can do a lot worse than tapping into Megamind! I like it... to the point that I feel almost unfair in giving this one Three and one half Stars out of Five! Megamind is a very cool and very fun movie that stands for the idea that nobody's perfect and the good guys can pop up out of nowhere, so give the film a chance! It's a heck of a Superhero flick, well worth watching with some beautiful CGI and a remarkably fun story! So, until the whole "Megamind" saga is eventually RUINED by something called Megamind IV: The Quest for Peace, only to go on hiatus for 19 years, be brought back to the spotlight gloriously and then dropped again and given to a wannabe-"Visionary" to continue... I'll see ALL of your Minds in the Next Metro Reel!
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