Nate watches “Megamind”

This movie had one thing going for it: the trailers in front of this film were so awful that I was grateful for any movie to come along and end them (except anything Shyamalan has done lately).  The first was so bland I can’t even remember it.  The second was for Disney’s “tangled” and it was so bland I felt insulted.  Seriously, I’m putting out a meme challenge to everyone right now!  You think Guile’s theme goes with everything?  Grab the audio from the first “tangled” trailer and see if you can find a movie that can’t be put to it.  Go on!  Citizen Kane, the Shining, Gone with the Wind, Wizard of Oz, Saw, Princess Tutu, you name it, I’ll be I could advertise it without changing a single audio bit from that trailer.  I know we’ve complained about spoiling trailers in the past but… at least they’re better than the ones that may as well be non existent.

Then… before my anger could settle… a trailer… for….

A Justin Bieber documentary.

I can’t even remember must past that as it seemed like for 3 minutes a giant middle finger was plastered across the screen.  If there wasn’t a kid a quarter my size and age next to me, I would have stood up, flipped off the screen right back and yelled obscenities at it until my throat bled.  Thankfully, my buddy had brought the emergency tazer and kept me contained until the movie started (see, this is why you never should watch a movie in a theater alone).

…What was I talking about?

Right!  Megamind.

Earlier this year I had seen “Despicable Me” – a decent movie but one that left me kind of cold.  I wasn’t sure why at the time but watching “Megamind” told me why.  “Despicable…” is largely a Shrek-redo, traditionally villainous, unlikable character learns to love and be more likable thanks to exposure to a cute, likable friend (or multiple friends in this case).  It didn’t really examine or deconstruct the villain/hero dynamic like I was hoping (except for the whole “evil bank” thing).

This one – did.

Really it is a movie for the fans of comic books, especially Superman.  Yes there are plenty of moments that little kids can laugh and enjoy, but the more you know your Supes lore, the more jokes you’ll be able to pry from the script.  Although it’s not the masterpiece that the Incredibles is, I can’t help but compare the two.  Incredibles might be thought of as answering the question, “what do the heroes do in their downtime”.  Megamind can be thought of as answering the question, “what do the villains really want”.

Some grand moments are worth seeing on the big screen but nothing really stood out as encouraging a viewing in 3D.  Comic geeks, if you have kids, take them to see this, you’ll both love it.  If not, go see it anyway.

And be sure to sit at least halfway through the credits.  There’s a loose end that’s tied up in them.




Spoiler Discussion




You don’t have to go far on the internet (particularly if you go down conservative lanes) to find complaints about how lately Hollywood has been doing more “apology for villainy” lately.  I’m… not really going to address that, but I don’t think Megamind quite fits into this category.  While one villain is “apologized for”, there is another that is not.  I think this movie is closer to real life than most, actually – some people are unrepentantly evil, some people are reluctantly evil, such is the diversity of life.

On the other hand, the movie does NOT recommend nonjudgment (as some stupidly do), but rather sane judgment based on a person’s actions.  By movie’s end, the citizens don’t gain a greater understanding of Megamind’s reasoning or motivation, they largely don’t care.  Instead, they accept and welcome Megamind because his actions have saved them and benefited the city.  Like the line from Batman Begins: “It’s not who I am, but what I do that defines me.”

What I liked most about this movie is its stance on the “nature vs nurture” debate.  It’s answer: it is both.  The movie has 3 major characters that undergo arcs: Megamind, Metroman & Tighten (see the movie, you’ll get that last joke).  Through the movie we see that there are some core tendencies to each, but the impact of others (society) also plays a role in their actions.  I’m going to look at each of them in turn.

Metroman is clearly the most socially adept of the 3 as well as being quite handsome, thus ensuring an easy acceptance by society.  At first he just does what comes naturally, but increasing expectations eventually force him to continue doing “good deeds” in spite of whatever wishes or desires he possesses.  While naturally good & decent, he’s not of the exceptional quality that defines a hero, he does what he does out of habit.  In the end, he must fake his death to escape society’s pressure and pursue his own desires.

Tighten is the least socially adept of the 3 who later obtains the powers of Metroman and is spiritually the exact opposite of the hero.  He is one who is naturally selfish and petty (you might say, the average human being), but who cannot act on it because of society’s expectations on him.  In essence, he behaves out of habit but lacks the ambition that defines the most monstrous villains.  It is only when he is given sudden powers that he is able to throw off society’s pressure and pursue his own desires without restraint, yet even then, he’s seen as more pitiable than despised.

Megamind, being the focus is the most interesting.  Being visibly quite alien, he is not initially accepted by society and does not have any natural talent, much less trained talent, at social interaction – demonstrated by his frequent mispronunciations and failings at things we take for granted.  Landing in a prison, we see Megamind is less evil than society misinterprets his efforts.  What separates him from the other two is that Megamind has natural ambition, but he has no conscious desires.  Instead we see him doing much of what he does out of habit, stealing and kidnapping and such because that’s what society expects him to do.  We see that Megamind has both the ambition to be a monstrous villain, but also the exceptional quality of a hero, but what he lacks in obtaining both is purpose.  By the end, he finds that serving others (as well as love) gives him the purpose he was seeking and in the end, becomes the greatest hero of all.


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