It’s not easy being mean

Will Ferrell lends his voice to a nefarious alien in “Megamind.”

Tony Libera

Nice guys finish last, so the saying goes, but villainy isnâÄôt all itâÄôs cracked up to be. ItâÄôs a life of bitterness and solitude, replete with failure brought about by those costumed purveyors of derring-do. Megamind (Will Ferrell), the titular baddie of DreamWorks AnimationâÄôs latest, has been thwarted by his spandex-clad counterpart so many times that itâÄôs become routine, while the thought of an actual victory has fallen into the realm of pure fantasy.

Parodying the Superman mythos heavily, âÄúMegamindâÄù tells of two distant planets that are about to be destroyed. Each world manages to send one boy into space, with both children eventually landing on Earth. While the planetâÄôs future hero, Metro Man (Brad Pitt), lands in an affluent familyâÄôs home, Megamind winds up in a prison. The inmates adopt him as one of their own and school him in the ways of criminality, instilling the little blue alien with Lex Luthorian ambition and immorality.

Years later, Megamind is whiling away a few consecutive life sentences behind bars, while Metro Man is honored by the city for putting the supervillain away and for being the handsome paragon of virtue that he is. Megamind escapes prison, kidnaps the Lois Lane stand-in, Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey), as per usual, lures Metro Man to an observatory, blasts him with a death ray and reduces the cityâÄôs hero to a skeleton with a cape.

Shock abounds in regards to Metro ManâÄôs death, but incredulity quickly subsides as Megamind assumes his role as tyrannical overlord. With no one to stop him, Megamind runs amok, doing whatever he wants whenever he wants. But with no yang to his yin, Megamind feels empty, lamenting over the battles that gave his life purpose.

To combat his melancholy, Megamind decides to create a new hero and imbues an unsuspecting chump with Metro ManâÄôs awesome powers. Problems ensue when said chump goes rogue and terrorizes the city, forcing Megamind to step in and save the day.

DreamWorks Animation is notoriously hit-or-miss, but âÄúMegamindâÄù passes on every level. It doesnâÄôt necessarily reach the heights of other DreamWorks products like âÄúKung Fu PandaâÄú or âÄúHow to Train Your Dragon,âÄù but it is a success nonetheless. Chock it up to a solid cast âÄî featuring David Cross, J.K. Simmons and Jonah Hill alongside the heavy-hitters âÄî detailed characterization and back-story (evidenced by the sprawling plot synopsis found here) and an overarching moral foundation built on the existential notion that we have the ability to choose our own destiny.

On all levels, comedic to poignant, âÄúMegamindâÄù hits its mark. The faultless Pixar folks still dominate the animated arena, but if DreamWorks fine tunes, it could someday contend.

 

2.5/4 Stars