Megamind: Defying Superhero Clichés One Villain at A Time

LOOKS LIKE 2010 is the year of not-your-usual-comic-book superheroes. We said our momentary goodbyes to over-muscled bodies and out-of-this-world superpowers in movies “Kick-Ass” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”. And now, with “Megamind” hitting our movie screens, we say hello to the most shocking thing that has ever happened in superhero history: the villain getting the girl.

“Megamind” is an animation movie featuring the voices of Hollywood A-listers Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Ben Stiller. From Tom McGrath—the same creative mind that directed “Madagascar”—comes this hilarious film of a villain, who, for once, gets the superhero spotlight.

After Megamind successfully defeats his nemesis, Metro Man, he commemorates his phenomenal victory by doing more evil in the superhero-less Metro City—but not for long. The evil began feeling empty and pointless without the presence of the good. And so, in the midst of a heated existential discussion with Megamind’s only companion, Minion, he comes up with a supposedly brilliant idea: he will create his own superhero to defeat. From Metro Man’s DNA, he creates Titan. But despite all of Metro Man’s manliness, Titan does not seem quite fit to take on the justice cape, as he turns out to be bad after all. Metro City can only depend on Megamind—the predictable, lesser evil—to save them from the clutches of the new evil.

Defying one cliché after another

It is never hard for a typical superhero movie to get a good following: pick good-looking actors and actresses to take on the lead roles, make the superhero very human and very out-of-this-world at the same time, and always, ALWAYS, let the good guy (whom, we all know, is always the superhero) get the girl. “Megamind” did not meet the quota in order to be labeled “The Ideal Superhero Movie”, yet this is exactly the charm of the movie: “normal” is not part of its vocabulary.

Given, it has the potential to become an ideal superhero movie: there’s a superhero and a villain, the superhero is well-loved by the citizens he serve, and the villain is eternally hated.  But when things started getting unfamiliar—and this, I would say, started as early as Megamind and his predictability—I knew the rest of the movie would be crazy as well. And I liked it.

The movie is in animation, so the lead parts going to the good looking actors and actresses isn’t so much of a problem anymore. However, the idea of “good-looking” exists even in the animation world. So the first cliché defied in this movie is how superhero films always have a good-looking main character. Not only is Megamind evil for the main role, he also looks and talks evil. And he isn’t good-looking at all—unless of course your idea of good-looking includes features like bluish skin and oversized head, which is exactly what aliens would look like, except that they are always depicted as green, not blue.

Second cliché defied: always show the main character’s human and superhero sides simultaneously, and with balance. However, I think the only superhero side of Megamind is his superpowers, and that’s that. His human side, on the other hand, dominated most of the time. He is clumsy, reckless, and downright clueless. He cannot execute his evil plans right, and cannot even force himself to be happy about his victory over Metro Man for a long time. What’s more, he had affections for Roxanne Ritchi—the closest thing he can get to becoming human. His vulnerability makes him the perfect protagonist, and it is without doubt that the first hints of his human side are the confirmations that he will end up as the good guy.

The last cliché defied (and which I think is the defining moment of this movie) is about the good guy always getting the girl. In theory, Megamind is the bad guy, the super-villain. But because of his mistake in creating Titan (which was prompted by his feelings of emptiness, solitude and purposelessness), he was forced to become the superhero. This, I think, is a comment on how superheroes always seem to get the girls easily by showing off some muscle here and a little X-Ray vision there; Megamind had to pretend to be human and put aside every superpower he knows in order to earn the love of Roxanne. And for this, the villain truly deserved to get the girl.

Also worth mentioning is the fast-paced nature of the movie. It gives the audience what it wants to know immediately, and spares them the pain of waiting for the next big thing that will happen on-screen. No animation superhero movie-watching person would want to be surprised that what he has been watching all along is a dream in a dream in a dream—it was created to entertain, and entertain it did! The delivery of every joke is spot on, and everything about the movie would make you want to watch it all over again.

Go, watch, now!

If you’re not a Harry Potter fan like me, then go grab some popcorn and watch this one instead (or watch it after watching Harry Potter—your pick). It has the potential to make you laugh out loud even when you are in the movie house alone. It’s light, fun, and the villain-turned-hero concept is fresh and very much inviting. And Megamind is by the far the most adorable super-villain I have ever seen. How can you resist adorable? 🙂

Rating:   [5 Patrick Stars]

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2 thoughts on “Megamind: Defying Superhero Clichés One Villain at A Time

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