Right, you've all seen Superman? in every episode or comic strip, evil Lex Luthor kidnaps the feisty journalist Lois Lane in order to lure Superman to rescue her. Lex is clever, but truth, justice and the American Way wins out. Superman rescues Lois and she goes back to work with the trusty dull Clark Kent, unaware that he is really Superman. And poor photographer Jimmy Olsen never catches anyone's attention, as the Spin Doctors rightly observed. So, imagine what would happen if one day Lex Luthor actually defeated Superman and took over Metropolis. No Superman, Lois at a lose end, Jimmy tries to make his move, but is rebuffed, and Lex bored without an arch-enemy, tries to create a new superhero by zapping Jimmy with Superman's DNA. Only, turns out Super-Jimmy has been brooding with resentment all these years, as the Spin Doctors told us, and uses his powers for Evil, which of course, gives Lex the chance to...er....do good?!
Of course, you can't imagine DC Comics letting Superman get publicly mauled like this, so instead, you get MEGAMIND, wherein Superman isn't so much spoofed as Alan-Moore'd except, of course, with about a tenth of his wisdom and Tina Fey's jokes. The end-result is a ball of laughs, rather sweet, and definitely worth watching.
Will Ferrell plays Megamind - the Evil Genius who thinks he might just want to be nice for a change, wooing the feisty chick Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey). It's a a role Ferrell has played a number of times in recent years, typically in movies that alternate with his cruder SNL comedy skits-turned-features. MEGAMIND is one of the few films that allows him to be both vulnerable-sweet AND grossly-comical and the mix is a treat. The typecasting continues with the rest of the cast. Tina Fey does her usual sweet, neurotic, charming thing as Roxanne - Jonah Hill does his creepy, slacker, irritating schtick as Jimmy/Hal - and Brad Pitt basically plays Superman, sorry, Metro Man, as Brad Pitt - a famous star tired of the limelight.
The comedy is definitely three steps wittier and more consistent than DESPICABLE ME. I mean, just look at how good the physical comedy is when Megamind is pretending to be Bernard in his Evil Lair. Or just look at how funny the Minion losing oxygen scene is. That stuff doesn't happen without the intervention of a director like Tom McGrath (MADAGASCAR 1 and 2) and actors like Fey and Ferrell. But for all that, Megamind doesn't have the heart of a movie like DESPICABLE ME, and I really wonder how far young kids will keep up with a movie in which a major plot point is that characters can switch bodies at the touch of a wristwatch - or where a large part of the humour, and a major plot point comes from the lead character putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable of words?
MEGAMIND is on release in the US, Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Egypt, Kuwait, Georgia, Portugal, Argentina, Croatia, Germany, Slovenia, Switzerland, Austria, Brazil, Spain and the UK. It opens next week in Australia, Venezuela, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Serbia and Estonia. It opens on Christmas Day in Finland and Sweden, on December 26th in Norway and on January 7th in Poland.