Megamind shamelessly cribs from superhero mythologies
– review by Shawn Conner
Comic-book nerd that I am, I was eagerly anticipating Megamind.
After experiencing the wretched Red and the villainous Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (but wisely, I think, having avoided Jonah Hex and Kick-Ass) I hopes that this latest comic-book-influenced production would be as fresh and funny as Pixar’s 2004 flick The Incredibles. The basic idea is similar – instead of adapting a comic-book series or graphic novel, why not take existing superhero tropes and cliches and turn them on their figurative ear?
Megamind attempts to take this idea one step further, by focusing on the bad guy.
In this case, the villain is Megamind, sent to Earth as a baby at the same time as his eventual rival, the soon-to-be-christened Metro Man. While Metro Man lands on the White House lawn, poor baby Megamind ends up in a prison yard. From there Megamind follows their respective career paths, which of course lead to many mega-battles, with Megamind ending up back in prison, escaping, etc. Until one day, the evil criminal is successful in his attempt to off his nemesis…
In may respects Megamind does its job. The movie satisfies on a number of levels – the plot is tight and the story is, in itself, kind of amusing, while the script is fast and funny. Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, and Brad Pitt are all fine as the voices of their respective characters, there are some great set-pieces and action sequences – including a nice little spin on the hero-takes-heroine-for-a-ride scene from the first Superman movie – and a truly brilliant character in Megamind’s minion, simply called “Minion”.
The weak spots are purely subjective – I fucking can’t stand hearing modern pop music in computer-animated movies, and the hackneyed use of AC/DC and George Thorogood‘s “Bad to the Bone” took me right out of the flick, thus undermining the world the animators otherwise so successfully create. Even worse, there’s a dance-along pop music number at the very end. Also, the movie gives more work to Jonah Hill, the Steve Guttenberg of his generation.
No, my main beef with Megamind is that it just didn’t leave me feeling much of anything except grudging admiration for the all the hard work that went into it. Grudging because this movie will probably be a huge success, which means it will spawn more, but worse, movies like it.
Indeed, watching the trailers before Megamind – for Gnomeo and Juliet, Gulliver’s Travels, Yogi the Bear, Kung Fu Panda 2 AND a Justin Bieber thing – left me feeling like I’d been hit in the head with a 3D stupid stick. And maybe that’s not the best state-of-mind to go into when seeing a 3D confection that, whatever its strong points, is forgotten the moment the houselights go up.