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I don’t like referencing the opinions of other film critics, but this has been a unique year, with the low quality of films making it easy for the filmic elite to assume that everything is bad.
However, many critics have lost their ability to analyze films with the general audience in mind. There are times when a film is so terrible that it perhaps becomes the responsibility of reviewers to steer people away from the theatres because the product combines idiocy with racially and sexually irresponsible content (i.e. “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”), but there are some films that are just fantastic for what they are, yet the reviews don’t reflect that quality. All that said, ignore what the other critics are saying, “Megamind” is a fantastic viewing experience rich with great action, wonderful character chemistry and a reflective plotline that’ll ring true for any fan of the superhero genre.
In a rather unique twist, this isn’t the traditional battle between a superhero and a supervillain, but the story of what happens after the villain defeats his great foe. In an original story akin to Superman’s exodus from the dying planet of Krypton, Megamind (Will Ferrell) is the last of his kind from another planet, and so is his lifetime nemesis, Metro Man (Brad Pitt). After crash-landing on Earth, Metro Man is lucky enough to land in the living room of a rich family, while Megamind and his minion, subtly named Minion (David Cross), crashes into a state penitentiary where he’s raised by a group of loving, yet morally compromised felons. Through many unsuccessful attempts to gain the approval of his classmates, Metro Man included, Megamind learns that the one thing he can do well is be evil, thus Megamind is born and our villain is ready to take on the do-gooders of Metro City, or “Metrocity”, as he likes to call it. We quickly jump forward to Mega’s latest caper, which is successful, taking down Metro Man — only to find that he should’ve been more careful what he wished for. The world is not enough and our blue-headed villain has to find a new purpose in the wake of victory.
If you’re expecting originality, then don’t go to a superhero/supervillain film. This is a blatant formula film, but isn’t that the point. When Megamind creates a holographic persona and channels Marlon Brando from the 1978 “Superman” film, it’s hard to imagine viewing this one without a working knowledge of the genre. It’s pretty fantastic when Megamind wins the day and becomes stuck in an “existential” dilemma as he, as the diabolical villain with a knack for contraptions, wins — something that rarely happens in other superhero films since most evil geniuses are so wrapped up in their next maniacal plan that they don’t know what to do if or when they finally win. How sad and a tad wonderfully hysterical at the same time.
The voice actors work some fantastic magic here. Ferrell, as Megamind, doesn’t go Robert Goulet on us but keeps things “Anchorman”-dramatic with a dash of “Stranger Than Fiction” sincerity for dramatic effect. Cross, as Minion, steals the show with stellar pronunciation. Jonah Hill, as Hal, and Tina Fey, as Metro City reporter, Roxanna Ritchi (even her name feels just like the comic book obsession with alliterated names, like Lois Lane, Peter Parker, Matt Murdock and J. Jonah Jameson), bring their usual charm to the film with animated avatars that are quite similar to the actual actors in appearance and mannerisms. Pitt, as Metro Man, even gets in a few good rhetorical punches while on screen.
The critics have been wrong on several key films this year: underplaying the fun of “The Losers”, claiming “Toy Story 3” is better than “How to Train Your Dragon” when it was really a regurgitation of the part two, and deeming “RED” a boring action film. “Megamind” is another missed opportunity where critics let their general exhaustion with reviewing films cloud their ability to simply enjoy something. In the end, go check out “Megamind” for yourself. If you enjoy superhero stories, then this one’s chock full of homage to the genre and has some original action in its own rite as well.
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