Animated film (2010). Paramount Pictures/PDI Dreamworks. Directed by Tom McGrath. Written by Alan J Schoolcraft and Brent Simons. Cast includes Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt. 95 minutes. Colour.
What would happen if the bad guy actually won? In a parody of the Superman origin story, two Alien babies are dispatched to Earth when their respective planets are destroyed. One baby lands in a mansion and grows up to become a typical Superhero, Metro Man (Pitt). The other lands in a Prison and is nurtured into becoming Megamind, self-styled "incredibly handsome criminal genius and master of all villainy" (Ferrell, relishing every line). Lacking Metro Man's Superpowers, he must rely on Technology and intellect in order to triumph. Which he never does. Until, that is, he kidnaps reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Fey playing the Lois Lane role) for the umpteenth time and unexpectedly kills Metro Man with his orbital Death Ray.
Megamind is not the best animated superhero film – that remains The Incredibles (2004) – but is probably the funniest and most exuberant; a heady mix of comic book in-jokes, clever plotting and classic rock (see SF Music). Perhaps the most interesting decision the film makes is to cast a Nice Guy geek as the antagonist. Hal (Hill) is Roxie's cameraman and harbours an insistent, unreciprocated crush on her. After briefly enjoying his own ascendancy, Megamind finds his life seems meaningless without an adversary and so sets out to create a new hero. In the best tradition of farce, he accidentally transforms Hal. But in an inversion of the usual superhero narrative (and a seeming rebuke to a portion of the audience) with great power does not come great responsibility; godhood simply amplifies Hal's petulant, asocial behaviour. It is left to the Villain to become the hero – and yes, he does get the girl. [ML]
see also: Antiheroes; Children's SF; Cinema; Comics; Despicable Me.
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