Movie review: Megamind

An animated battle between evil and good

Since Watchmen ripped up the rule book two decades and a bit ago, superhero stories have been reinvented, inverted, cut up and stitched back together so many times, and by such a variety of sources – Kick-Ass, The Incredibles, Misfits, et al – it’s sometimes hard not to yearn just to watch a film about a bloke in tights saving the world.

On recent form, cinema’s new penchant appears to be spinning the story to the perspective of the big bad. Last month saw the release of Despicable Me, an animated film starring Steve Carrell that concerned a supervillan struggling to regain his mojo. This month it’s the turn of Megamind, sporting a similar premise, and which comes off as the better of the two films on account of having a better cast (Will Ferrell plays the titular anti-hero, Brad Pitt the chisel jawed good guy) and prettier, more visually exciting animation.

Befuddled nature/nurture comment aside (the films ‘message’ appears to be that people are either born good or evil, it’s only circumstance that makes us see differently), it’s an entertaining jaunt too. Comic talents like Jonah Hill, David Cross and Tina Fey turn up along the way, while Ferrell has a hoot with his evil inventions – an Illiteracy Beam, Typhoon Cheese, whatever that is. The story? Oh you know it, good overcomes evil, there’s good inside all of us, all that – but at least it’s told with a cohesiveness that the aforementioned Despicable Me lacked throughout.

Yet as watchable as Megamind is, it suffers from the failings all cinema screened animation that isn’t Toy Story 3 have this year – that being that Pixar are so ahead of the pack, not just in what their artists are drawing and showing, but in the depth of stories the company are telling, that comparatively Megamind feels cheap. Looking at that cast list, I’m not sure that was the case.

There’s been worse meddling with superhero DNA than this though, and I’m sure there’ll be more. Not quite mega then – but I guess Watchablemind doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

James McMahon

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