Published Mar 12, 2013Existential woe is, indirectly, the theme of Tom McGrath's easily digested, mostly inoffensive comedy about duality. The titular Megamind (Will Ferrell) suffers an identity crisis after his life trajectory—playing evil mastermind to the altruistic pursuits of Metro Man (Brad Pitt)—becomes a moot point after killing the arrogant superhero during a routine kidnapping of reporter Roxanne Ritchie (Tina Fey).
But before Megamind starts moping about his identity and the irrelevance of evil without good to balance it out, we're given a nurture over nature montage that suggests Megamind is the way he is because of how he was raised. Amusingly, the assertion is that the affluent upbringing of Metro Man is what made him a saviour, while those born into (or jettisoned into) a lower income life will invariably become social impediments.
Eventually, this concept is thrown on its head, just as the perception of hero and villain is thwarted when Roxanne's camera assistant, Hal Stewart (Jonah Hill), decides to become a superhero to win the attentions of his witty, sarcastic boss. There's a whole Yin and Yang aspect to it all that unfolds when our perpetual screw-up of a protagonist develops the capacity to change, filling the void of a hero when Hal's intentions turn sour.
The trip to establishing an identity is paved with contrivance, as is the status quo for children's films, but the snarky disposition of Fey's reporter character keeps the laughs, or snickers, coming. Though there are plot twists aplenty, all of them swoop in with the same even-handed morality that permeates the genre, keeping things relatively uncomplicated for a target audience that is still unaware that the entire world doesn't revolve specifically around them.
As such, there's nothing offensive about Megamind but there's nothing commendable either. It's little more than a pleasant diversion and minor twist on a cinematically prevalent set-up.
Megamind screens at the TIFF Bell Lightbox as part of the Comic Book Heroes retrospective at 1pm on March 14th, 2013. (Dreamworks)