Monday, March 14, 2011

Megamind

(Movie Review)

This movie may not be Citizen Kane, but it sure is a lot of fun. It's got a really good premise: what is life like from the supervillian's point of view? And, if the supervillian ever happened to win against the hero, what would he do next? Since supervillians often purely exist just to antagonize the hero, would a supervillian still be able to find purpose in his life without having a hero to fight?

What's more, unlike so many movies that start out with a great idea but then drop the ball, this movie actually lives up to the comic potential of its premise.

The movie takes a standard comic book superhero story.
Actually it's a thinly veiled parody of Superman. The superhero has all the same powers as Superman, the same origin story, a reporter girlfriend just like Superman and there's even a parody of Marlon Brando (who played Superman's Dad in the Christopher Reeve series)as spacedad. In fact given how litigious DC comics can sometimes be about protecting Superman's copyright (they sued Captain Marvel for copyright infringement back in the 1950s (w)) I'm almost a little surprised they got away with this.
But then, given how interconnected media conglomerates are these days, there's probably some mutual parent company.

What's interesting about this movie is that it tells the story from the bad guy's perspective.

Of course, by now it's nothing new to try and deconstruct superheroes or parody superhero movies.
Some of this movie was vaguely reminiscent of The Incredibles. Other parts of the movie, which tried to show the more mundane side of supervillian life, reminded me of the Dr. Evil segments from Austin Powers.

But when it's done well it can still be a lot of fun. And this film is fun. You can't help but laugh at the frustration of Megamind, who has spent his whole life living in comic book superhero cliches, and then becomes frustrated when the world suddenly no longer lives up to those cliches. You can see his frustration when one superhero forgets to show up to fight him, or fails to give him witty banter while they are fighting, or when another superhero retires to pursue his music career.

In addition to sending up comic book cliches, the movie also makes you think just a little bit about the true nature of evil, or (to put it in Calvinist terms) the problem of free will. It doesn't really get into any in depth discussions, but then you can't really expect a 90 minute movie to do that. In depth discussions are for books, the best a movie can do is just raise the question and then throw it out to the audience to ponder.

Link of the Day
Noam Chomsky on U.S. Foreign Policy

and The non-acquiescers of Planet Glox.

No comments: