Megamind (2010) – Directed by Tom McGrath – Starring Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, Brad Pitt, David Cross, and J.K. Simmons.
MEGAMIND is a completely daft film that has two ridiculous messages:
1. That you can only be a good guy if there’s a bad guy around, and
2. That if you have great power you’re only responsibility is to do whatever’s best for you.
Megamind (Ferrell) and Metro Man (Pitt) are sent away from their crumbling planets by their parents as babies, because they’re huge fans of Jor-El’s parenting skills. On their way to Earth, Megamind’s capsule is headed for a mansion but then knocked off course by Metro Man’s capsule and ends up in a prison, where he’s raised by the inmates because the film needs him to be raised by inmates.
OK, look, it’s completely stupid, but it’s a kid’s movie and if they want to be stupid with their set-up, then fine. I’ll play along. The prisoners teach him that good is bad and bad is good and when he’s old enough they send him to school where Metro Man and the other kids make fun of him because he’s got a big head and blue skin.
Get it? This is a movie that’s about FATE. Megamind isn’t a bad guy, but FATE has conspired against him to make him the bad guy and Metro Man the good guy. As a kid, Megamind decides to embrace his DESTINY and become a bad guy. And so a life of Megamind versus Metro Man ensures, with the bad guy always inevitably losing and the good guy inevitably winning. Their life has become predictably cliche: Megamind breaks out of prison, commits some evil scheme, fights Metro Man, loses, and gets sent back to prison. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. When he captures Roxanne Ritchie (Fey), she’s completely bored by the experience.
Metro Man leaves the dedication of a museum to himself and goes to save her, only Megamind has holed her up in a different observatory and “traps” Metro Man in the regular one. We find out that Metro Man’s weakness is copper, which Megamind thinks is completely ridiculous. He fires his death ray and kills Metro Man.
Bad guy wins. Bad guy takes over city. Bad guy becomes bored with his unchallenged life. Bad guy builds a new hero. New hero becomes new villain. Old villain becomes new hero.
MEGAMIND could have been a clever, multi-layered film about how a person can overcome the life they’re born into, but it’s just a stupid kid’s movie where loud things happen and funny things happen and I don’t care about a single character in the movie.
The big twist is that Metro Man faked his death in order to follow his heart and become a singer of bad acoustic songs.
The city is going to crap and he’s living underground in a secret hideout writing bad songs. This is a superhero? No, and MEGAMIND is no more a superhero movie than Kick-Ass is a superhero movie. Yeah, they’re superhero movies because the characters wear costumes, but there’s got to be something more to it than that. Like, people doing things for the right reason. Like, sacrifice. Yet here, even when things are at their bleakest, Metro Man never makes an appearance to save the day.
What a f*cking dick.
Meanwhile, Megamind is conflicted because he’s pretending to be a regular guy to get close to Roxanne and his new hero, Titan (Hill), is turning out to be a selfish dick on a level that Metro Man only dreams of being. Titan decides he wants to take over and Megamind eventually stops him and becomes Metro City’s new hero and gets the girl and blah blah blah. He could have been the hero at any time but he only “sees the light” when he falls for Roxanne, so he’s not being good because it’s the right thing to do as much as he’s doing it to get the girl – and realizes it’s the right thing by proxy. Chalk that message up, too: bad guys never get laid, kids, so eat your vitamins and save the day, and you, too, can win the girl of your dreams.
It’s such a crap story. It’s an absolute pity, too, because the animation here is gorgeous. MEGAMIND has great visuals, beautiful, vibrant colors, and plenty of action. The look of the film deserves a better story than it gets.
MEGAMIND’s main characters all play with the Superman mythos (Metro Man = Superman, Megamind = Braniac, Roxanne = Lois, Titan = Jimmy) but they don’t do anything with that except borrow the concept.
If I was a parent, MEGAMIND is exactly the kind of movie I’d be very wary of showing to my kids – beautiful to look at and funny to listen to, but completely empty at its core. I don’t think kid’s films have to have messages, but when they do, and they’re as off-the-mark as are offered up in MEGAMIND, there’s plenty of other options to show the little ones.