Megamind is an animated superhero movie that so desperately wants to be The Incredibles that it takes a large chunk of the Pixar film’s plot and sprinkles in a couple of its characters for good measure. It also wants to pay homage to Superman, particularly in the character department. It opens with narration that explains the life story of one Megamind (Will Ferrell), and alien who came to Earth alongside another baby, Metro Man (Brad Pitt), because that’s just how these things work.
They eventually grow up, with Megamind becoming a super villain, and Metro Man acting as his foil. The two do battle seemingly daily, although the hero, as is always the case, never fails to thwart Megamind’s plans. That is, until one day when Megamind captures the local news reporter, Roxanne (Tina Fey), traps Metro Man in a dome, and burns him to pieces with the rays of the sun. With Metro Man dead, the city is Megamind’s for the taking.
There’s nobody to stop him, so he does whatever he wants. Problematically, this gets boring. Exploring similar, but not the exact territory that The Incredibles did, I was hoping that Megamind would be telling us just how boring a super villain would become if his nemesis suddenly disappeared. However, I can understand how that could get dull quickly, so that’s not the decision that the film takes. Instead, a new superhero is created, coming in the form of Roxanne’s cameraman, Hal (Jonah Hill), who becomes known as Titan. He’s given all of Metro Man’s powers, and is trained by our titular bad guy — in hopes that he’ll someday soon be able to foil that same blue-skinned, big-headed, villain.
I don’t want the plot to be ruined too much, so we’ll stop there for now. Suffice to say that there are a bunch of action scenes and that bad guys and good guys fight each other. Roxanne is everyone’s love interest, although the feeling is rarely mutual, and large set pieces are created to wow the audience. Admittedly, I was wowed by much of what DreamWorks has created here. It’s bright, colorful, full of life and charm, and the characters are animated wonderfully. If you’re younger than a teenager, it has everything that you want in your animated motion picture.
You know there’s a “but” coming. The problem that Megamind faces, apart from the fact that we’ve seen most of it in other animated as well as live-action outings, is that it doesn’t really contain much for older audiences. Granted, older teenagers and adults aren’t going to be the target audience anyway, but it’s nice if a film like is enjoyable for everyone. While Megamind isn’t bad, and it’s not unwatchable by any stretch, it’s missing a certain something — a humor or a more adult appeal — that would make its ability to be enjoyed more widespread across all age groups.
Maybe it needed to be funnier. I can’t recall laughing all that frequently while it was playing. It’s billed as a comedy, and with voices supplied by Ferrell, Fey, Hill, as well as supporting work from David Cross and Ben Stiller, you’re expecting a funny movie. However, I found Megamind to be kind of bland on the comedy scale, despite a few enjoyable pokes and prods at the superhero genre that it does make.
I will say this: The main character, the villain, or perhaps maybe not, is quite the enjoyable character to watch. He didn’t exactly decide to become a bad guy; he believes it was forced upon him by fate or circumstance or whatever you want to believe. He’s not exactly a nefarious creature, and he doesn’t even appear all that evil. He understands the tropes and he enjoys his work, but what is his heart telling him? As he tells a character at one point: The difference between a villain and a super villain is the presentation. Perhaps he simply got too good at his job to quit.
However, despite being interesting, there’s not enough done to flesh him out. We spend almost all of our time with him, and yet we don’t learn enough about him. Perhaps leaving him mostly ambiguous was done deliberately, but I know I’d like to know what’s going on inside that big noggin of his. It does us a disservice to give us an interesting character and then not share with us why he is this way and what he really feels — not just what he puts on for show.
The same is true for the supporting cast, although they’re far more archetypal than Megamind is. Roxanne is a Lois Lane substitute, Metro Man is Superman dressed in white, and the cameraman’s sole interest is Roxanne, and he’ll do anything to hook up with her. These characters aren’t interesting, and nothing much is done with them anyway.
Megamind attempted to parody superhero movies, but thanks to its characters and recycled plot simply became another one. A good one, and one that will be enjoyable for most audience members (particularly if they’re under the age of, say, thirteen), but neither the wit nor the brains are there to keep older members engaged at all levels. This is a film that looks great, and has an interesting lead, but fails to do what needs to be done to elevate it above your average superhero flick.