BlokeBusting The Essentials #40: Megamind
The Battle Of The Egos
This one is actually something that breaks a personal rule that I have. You’ll find out what that is in just a little while…
This film kinda came out of nowhere when it arrived in the cinema (at least in England). Suddenly there was an animated film about superheroes/villains that actually focused on a villain and made you understand a side of the equation that you may have avoided thinking about. And I think I managed to see this without knowing who played Megamind. This is key, and connected to my earlier comment. So, let’s dive right into the cast!
- Megamind: Will Ferrell
So that rule I have, the one that this film breaks, basically centres on Will Ferrell. And here it is: Any straight comedy with WF as a main character is terrible. Yep. I cannot stand the sort of comedy films this guy makes. Anchorman, StepBrothers, Elf, Ballard Of Whatever-His-Name-Is. None of them are watchable for me. Now give me a solid dramatic performance or a nuanced role (Stranger Than Fiction, The Other Guys <– Tell me the guy doesn’t give you solid meta humour here! ) and I’ll happily watch it. But his style of “I’m an idiot, isn’t it funny!” just doesn’t work with my sense of humour. Now, this film can arguably be called not just a straight comedy, but given the role he plays it still falls squarely in there. But he’s good. Really good. Just the right levels of ego/confidence/”humanity”/depth, not to mention the fact that a gimmick of mis-pronouncing words that REALLY should have gotten old fast but still works throughout the film. So yeah, I really liked Will in this one.
- Metro Man: Brad Pitt
Be honest, without looking it up/being told beforehand you had no clue that this was Brad Pitt. The cadence, the deep(er) voice and the smarminess really helped build this character of a superhero who was exactly what you’d expect a superhero to be and EXACTLY what would be so annoying about a superhero like that. The strangest thing is that you would have expected Patrick Warburton to have done the voice, since the character really looks like it was modeled on him!
- Roxanne Ritchie: Tina Fey
I’ll admit that I thought that the portrayal was pretty much ok but compared to the energy of Will Ferrell, she could get a little lost in the crowd. I did enjoy the fact that she was quite the go-getter and not just a damsel in distress (and though the film does really switch it up quite creatively at times, it does fall back on that trope towards the end). You needed a character who actually could sway Megamind and make him yearn for something more and Tina Fey did well as that. I think it could have gone just a little further and maybe had her discover his secret herself rather than the accident. But again, I’m nit-picking!
- Hal/Titan/Tighten: Jonah Hill
This guy was a really annoying character. Luckily that’s the point, but it’s still a bit annoying when he’s on-screen. The fun thing is that it does make it so that the actual main villain of the film is
1) Literally of Megamind’s own making.
2) A jilted obsessed fanboy.
3) Paper-thin as villains go.
And given the sort of film this is, that’s actually a really good use of the character and the plot. If you’re going to subvert the whole idea of the villain, why not just go nuts with the new villain!
- Minion: David Cross
Best character in the film. Hands down. He’s just funny, charming and fun to look at. Huh, if I didn’t know better I’d say I was attracted to a talking fish. Well nothing could be further from the truth! Isn’t that right, little home-made plushie of Minion? *does a horrible imitation of Minion* “That’s right, you’re just a big fan!”
The setting for this film is no different from every other Superhero-From-A-City film you’ve seen. Metropolis, Gotham, New York, Insert-Others-Here, it’s just a big city with plenty of loving citizens and a hero-battle problem. But given the theme of the film is basically “Look, here’s a standard story and we’re flipping it on its head”, we can kinda give it a pass. The only problem you might have is that because of that, the entire cast and setting outside of the main guys (and even sorta including them) are basically parodies of others that came before them and have no real depth to them. And that’s not to the film’s detriment but it doesn’t push it up either. You couldn’t have explored the character of Megamind and what it means to be destined to be a villain if you’d taken the time to flesh out the rest of the story. Well, you could but it would have been a 2-2.5 hour long film and no young kid is going to sit through that. Hell, even some adults would struggle. So I get it, but it does mean that there’s not much here to discuss.
The CG in this film was quite good. It doesn’t drop anywhere close to uncanny valley, but it didn’t try to. Much like most Dreamworks films, the focus is on polished looks and a signature style. Everyone fits the pattern, everyone looks different enough to clearly be identifiable (except for the crowd scenes, which…. obviously!) and that’s what they do well. There’s nothing that looks super realistic or terrible, which is what you hope for, and so nothing pulls you out of the viewing experience. So let’s go for a general “Good job everyone!”.
Alrighty, you’ve heard from me and now you get to hear from our own Metro Man-in training: Bubba!
I’ve really loved this movie since the first time I saw it. It’s such a great parody of superhero movies at the time while still having well developed characters and doing something interesting with all of them. Megamind is an incredibly sympathetic character that is extremely entertaining with all his supervillain grandstanding. But he’s also believably socially mal-adapted where he doesn’t really understand social interactions and has his quirk with mispronunciations. Hal is another character that’s become more relevant as time has gone by. He’s more or less what would be referred to as an incel by today’s standards. He believes that he’s a nice guy, but he also believes that his desire for Roxanne Ritchie requires her to like him in return. It takes on the tropes of the back and forth villain/hero routine while still having a background of “you are who you choose to be”. It works on several different levels.
As for the relevance, this is really one of the best superhero parody movies out there next to Deadpool while still being family friendly. It had a decent box office with $150M domestically and $320M worldwide. Unfortunately it was eclipsed by the relatively similar Despicable Me which made nearly double, spawned two sequels and a spin-off. Which makes sense as the kids and the Minions were more marketable than a reference to Donner’s Superman and David Cross’s Minion fish in a gorilla mech-suit. It’s a quality film with quality humor throughout that never talks down or panders to a kid audience.
Well spoken Mr Wheat, as always. And so, we must render the answer to the following 3 questions:
- Would I recommend this film to others?
- Does this film deserve to be on the list?
- If so, where does it appear on the list?
And since we must do as we always have done, let’s take it from the top.
1) Yes. The film does a good job at sending up the superhero genre and really handled the nuanced Supervillain well. It’s worth seeing even if you only want to see something more unique than the 6th installment in a Superman franchise!
2) Yes. For the same reasons I listed above, it definitely holds a place in the list. But where to put it. Hmmmmmmm…….
3) The list has been updated, the crocodiles swam around it a bit and the sp-ee-ider has been dangled in front of it. Here is your updated rankings:
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- The Crow
- Men In Black
- Dr Strange
- Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
- Batman: The Killing Joke
- Superman 3
- The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman
- The Meteor Man
- Howard The Duck
- The Fantastic Four (1994)
- The Punisher
- Batman & Robin
- The Amazing Spider-Man
- Batman Forever
- BvS: Dawn Of Justice
Wonder Woman (replacing The Death Of The Hulk)
X-Men: The Last Stand (replacing Catwoman)
Turbo Kid (replacing The Incredible Hulk)
Yeah, it didn’t quite eclipse Dr Horrible for me. A better take on the whole “What if the bad guy wasn’t fully bad/unjustified?” and a way more subtle take but Megamind still did well and it feels good to come runner-up to such a good body of work.
Ok, that’s it! The death ray has been put back in the closet for a while and the army of flying kill-bots has been put on standby. As a heads up, I am going on holiday at the end of the year, so there may only be one more review before the New Year. However I do plan to do a short year-in-review when I come back, so if there’s anything you want me to go back over, any rankings you disagree with or anything you wish to yell at me for no reason, please do leave a comment down below.
And so, until next time, I Love You, Random Citizen!