When Bad Is Just Bad

Kids comedy Megamind fails to show the good side of villainy

Riffing on the same villain-as-good-guy motif that contributed to the confusion of this year’s Despicable Me, Megamind is a resounding flop. Although its $46 million opening weekend ticket sales say otherwise.

The film opens with a lightly seeded sociological experiment involving the influence of environment over a person’s life path: Two wacky babies from far-off galaxies take very different paths when they arrive on Earth. As an infant, the future super-hero Metro Man lands in the lap of luxury with a wealthy family. The blue-skinned Megamind hits smack in prison.

Brad Pitt voices Metro City’s much beloved if patronizing Metro Man who must continually face off against his ex-con rival, Megamind (Will Ferrell), and space-fish assistant Minion (David Cross). Megamind finally gets a leg up on his annoyingly charismatic opponent but doesn’t have much of a plan for running the town, much less the world, without an enemy of Metro Man’s stature. So Megamind transforms a geeky television news cameraman named Hal (Jonah Hill) into his newest adversary using a dash of Metro Man’s DNA. Local news broadcaster Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey) is caught in the middle as every hero’s and villain’s love object.

We know from Pitt’s voice that Metro Man’s patriotism is implacable, and yet we later discover a loose stitch in our presumption. Everyone, even Fey’s Roxanne is duplicitous. As the story hits its early surprise plot twist, we witness a reflection of America’s social collapse with Megamind overseeing the carnage of infrastructure.

The filmmakers make a direct visual correlation between Megamind and President Obama during a public address speech on an outdoor staircase where giant Shepard Fairey-inspired red-and-blue posters show Megamind’s face similar to Obama’s pose in Fairey’s original poster. However, instead of the famous “Yes We Can” slogan, here we’re openly told “No We Can’t.” This type of political satire could be construed as evidence that we are living in an age of reverse-engineered misinformation, or at least message-loaded rhetoric.

Tedious and mechanical, Megamind is an animated movie parents will regret taking their kids to see. Even the 3-D effects are lame.

Megamind (PG) ★★☆☆☆