Now Playing Review – Megamind

As the world comes crashing down around two desperate parents, their one last act before their planet is destroyed is to send their son far away to the promising planet of Earth, where he can grow up to live the life that would have been cut short without their intervention.  On Earth he will be raised by two loving parents who will give him everything he needs so that he will grow up to be the moral and just person he is meant to be, using his powers for good.  Wait a minute… This isn’t a story of Superman.  Or Metro Man.  See the guy he is punching in the face?  Yeah, this is his story.

Megamind could have grown up to be Metro Man had his similar origin story not ended in a rougher part of the neighborhood.  Instead his moral compass was smashed during his landing and he chose the path of evil. Using his abnormally large brain and intelligence he has dedicated his life to tormenting Metro Man, gleefully taking his defeats back to his lab to come up with another scheme to bring down The Man of… I mean Metro Man.  (This is all I am gonna say plot wise because in all honesty the trailer gives away way too much of the story and I don’t want to ruin anything for those who are going in without knowing what lies ahead)

Though Dreamworks still has a while to go to beat Pixar in the animation department, Megamind is yet another step closer to catching up.  If you haven’t noticed yet there are a lot of allusions to Superman, from the origin stories to Metro Man’s wide range of superpowers (and a lot more other things that may go unnoticed by those who aren’t as enamored with Superman), but this movie did not win me over solely through these acts of bribery.  It may play off of familiar characters and some story elements, but Megamind charms on its own.

Like Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, Megamind tells a story from the villain’s points of view, showing a misunderstood and loveable evildoer who is far from a maniacal menace to society.  Well, he is a menace, but he is a menace with a heart.  Megamind spends most of his days devising plots to take down Metro Man, which usually involves kidnapping reporter Roxanne Ritchi somewhere along the way.  What gives him charm is that he doesn’t even believe in his schemes.  He doesn’t expect to beat Metro Man, yet these encounters actually remain enjoyable for him thanks to the thrill of competition and the comfort these habitual interactions with his nemesis bring.

To make the battles last for as long as he can Megamind has also used his big ol’ brain to develop a pretty quick wit (though it is still hindered by a somewhat socially awkward nature). After all, if Buffy has taught me anything other than how to kill vampires it is that a healthy mix of banter into a combat situation is a plus, giving us a nice helping of comedic dialog icing on the cake made of animation and characters.  The small amounts of back-and-forth we get between Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt as the two superhuman leads are great, but in all honesty it is Megamind’s relationships with two other characters that are the highlight of the film.  As the constantly kidnapped reporter Roxanne Ritchi, Tina Fey has got the unfazed sarcasm down pat in response to anything Megamind throws at her, and it is pretty hilarious to imagine these two SNL alums performing this together.  But wait! There’s more!  To top this Megamind was sent to Earth with someone who would always stand (well, swim in a bowl) by his side, becoming his constant companion, friend, sidekick, and butler.  As Minion, David Cross is the perfect actor to vocally perform these scenes that further express Megamind’s humanity, hilarity, intelligent, and sometimes childish nature.

Prior to the first image of the film the kids in the audience were already throwing out exclamation after exclamation of “ooo” and “ah” in response to the “Please put on your 3D glasses” screen and Dreamworks logo, so it was clear that not a whole lot would be needed to get them excited.  With that said Megamind provided some great animation, voice acting, story elements and comedy to keep them entertained throughout.  And considering I laughed far more than any of the little tykes did I can honestly say that it is a great film for kids of all ages.

Final Grade: B

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