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BlokeBusting The Essentials #40: Megamind

Yo, listen up; here’s a story about a blue guy that lives in a….. CG world!

#40: Megamind

Or

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…

First Impressions

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!

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

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

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:

  1. Would I recommend this film to others?
  2. Does this film deserve to be on the list?
  3. 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:

  1. Hellboy
  2. Captain America: The First Avenger
  3. The Crow
  4. Men In Black
  5. Dr Strange
  6. Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
  7. Megamind
  8. Batman: The Killing Joke
  9. Superman 3
  10. The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman
  11. The Meteor Man
  12. Supergirl
  13. Howard The Duck
  14. The Fantastic Four (1994)
  15. The Punisher
  16. Batman & Robin
  17. The Amazing Spider-Man
  18. Batman Forever
  19. BvS: Dawn Of Justice

    Potential Substitutions:

    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!

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines 2019

It’s time to check out the latest movie from DC Animation. This one takes a slight curveball as it doesn’t really continue the previous continuity though there’s a couple references so that it could still be a part of the major continuity despite being a stand-alone story. It’s also notable for nearly having the entire voice cast be female characters outside of Steve Trevor and a Minotaur. For the most part it follows pretty well in line with the rest of the DC animated movies. It’s a lot of fun to watch with some good action sequences and some nice character beats mixed in here and there. It’s also worth noting that the DC Showcase short packaged with this home video release: Death, is quite excellent as well.

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LEGO DC Batman: Family Matters

LEGO DC Batman: Family Matters 2019

It’s time for yet another LEGO DC animated feature and it pretty much follows the same overall formula with the typical LEGO style humor focused on the different DC characters. This also loosely follows a variation on the Bat family plot involving many different Bat-family characters including three of the four main Robins (Tim Drake always seems to get left in the cold in these animated movies). And for a change of pace it actually takes a bit of a look at not just the exploits of Batman, but also the importance of Bruce Wayne and his position of wealth and power within the context of Gotham City. Not exactly something that you would expect in a LEGO movie though it definitely keeps the irreverence to keep things light and not overly deep.

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Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans

Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans 2019

At my latest trip to the local library, I picked up the latest DC Animated movie with the Teen Titans. I probably said this before when I reviewed the theatrical Teen Titans Go! movie but I’m generally a fan of Go! It makes me laugh, I like the meta humor that comes with it, and there’s plenty of other superhero properties so in general the humor that exists in Go! is different than pretty much anything else in DC. I’ve also more recently been able to go through some of the old episodes of Teen Titans and actually noticed that it was generally a lot less serious than I thought it was going to be. It’s much more serious than Go! but it has plenty of humor to go around. I also love alternate universe stuff and this takes things to an utterly chaotic and ridiculous level that I absolutely loved and I had so much fun watching this. And while there’s not really much of a surprise twist, this is a recent movie so here is your spoiler warning.

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Mutafukaz

Mutafukaz aka M*F*K*Z 2018

Every once in a while a movie catches my eye for whatever reason, either at a store or at the library. I don’t really know anything about it except for what it says on the back of the box. And every once in a while, I just happen to see those magic words “based on the comic” which is what happened with this movie. I have vague memories of seeing posters of this movie when it made the rounds last year, but for whatever reason I didn’t pay too much attention to it. And that’s despite the fact that it was distributed by GKIDS who have handled some of my favorite animated films that I’ve covered on this site. This is from a very popular French comic that was produced by a Japanese animation studio, released with an English dub (which was the version I watched), and takes place in a city with a primarily Hispanic population so it’s oddly multicultural. There are plenty of adult themes, violence, humor, and all sorts of different genres mashed up in a generally pleasing manner.

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Batman: Hush

Batman: Hush 2019

The DC Animated universe continues to deliver animated movies based on some of the most celebrated story arcs across their comics. I had heard about Hush here and there though I never really knew what it was about until I watched it for the first time just the other day. There were plenty of good elements, but there was one big change that I had heard inklings of and didn’t really think worked. This also follows the current animated continuity after Reign of the Superman which had a couple nice moments that connected the stories. It was good, but there were some serious issues the more I thought about this movie. And as there is a bit of a mystery surrounding the identity of Hush, I will be discussing it in full so here’s your spoiler warning.

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Freedom Fighters: The Ray

Freedom Fighters: The Ray 2017

This is the second Arrowverse connected series that originally premiered on CW Seed after Vixen over the course of two seasons of short webseries episodes. Unlike the other two CW Seed properties, this primarily takes place on Earth X with a lesser focus on the Arrowverse at large aside from some Earth X versions of the characters as well as a couple brief camoes from the series. They also don’t get the entire cast to reprise their voices, only Melissa Benoist for the alternate Supergirl and Carlos Valdez as Cisco. The movie is a decent distraction and does have its own unique take on pride, but there’s not really anything too special about it.

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Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2019

I’ve seen every animated Batman movie that they’ve made so far and I grew up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon and live action movies. And while I haven’t followed up with many of the later series, the original Turtles cartoon still has a place in my heart and plenty of others so that the references often feel like they’re coming from the original rather than the later iterations. And while I was expecting this to be more of a younger skewed film where the Turtles would kid up the Batman, instead it actually seemed to go the other direction where Batman made the Turtles story a bit darker than usual. There was still a bit of meeting in the middle where the teenage comedy of the Turtles lightened up the Batman story and villains and made this an overall enjoyable watch. And as this is still a relatively new release, there will be spoilers from here on out so be warned.

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Legends of Atlantis

DC Superhero Girls: Legends of Atlantis 2018

If you like what I’m doing here, please take a moment and consider joining my Patreon so I can find more lesser known superhero and comic book movies to review here. I’m almost done with my month of Aquaman with the last official DC movie featuring the underwater hero. There is one more indie Aquaman-like movie, at least it appears to be based on the synopsis. But besides all that, this is yet another DC Superhero Girls movie and likely the last one before they switched styles yet again for the new Cartoon Network series. They have all been on the same level of quality with a large number of women heroes along with an overall message of friendship and acceptance. This one is no different and it includes Mera and her sister Siren for an underwater battle with a mere cameo from a teenaged Aquaman.

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My Hero Acadamia: Two Heroes

My Hero Academia: Two Heroes 2018

I’ve been a fan of anime for a long time, back when it was referred to as Japanimation, and while I’ve heard of the series My Hero Academia, I’ve never watched an episode. Similar to Tiger and Bunny, the other anime superhero series that spawned a couple movies, this takes place in an alternate universe filled with people that have super powers. Similar to most anime movies that follow a series, this is more of a side story that brings in several of the characters. It took a little while to get into the world of the movie, and while I didn’t connect with all of the side characters, I really got into it by the end.

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