We've seen this duality at the multiplexes before, of course. Battling Christopher Columbus dramas in 1992; competing toon flicks about ants in 1998; dueling Truman Capote biopics in 2005-2006; and so on. Now, 2010 brings us a pair of animated features centering on a supervillain who eventually discovers his long-buried humanity and must face off against a baddie who's truly evil. Yet viewers who check out Megamind needn't have seen this past summer's Despicable Me to feel slightly let down by this similar outing.
Will Ferrell handles vocal duties as the title villain, whose joy at finally destroying his arch-nemesis, the preening Metro Man (Brad Pitt), soon turns to depression once he realizes there's no one around to challenge him. He ends up creating his own superhero (Jonah Hill), but it isn't long before the supposed do-gooder realizes it's more fun to be bad and sets about destroying the city and kidnapping TV reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey). Megamind, who's grown sweet on Roxanne, now finds himself in the unlikely position of having to save rather than terrorize the civilians who have long feared and despised him.
Megamind is perfectly fine for the kids, but adults might find their own megaminds wandering at various points throughout a film that doesn't compare to The Incredibles when it comes to affectionately tweaking the superhero genre. Certainly, there are some moments of delightful inventiveness — I love how Megamind occasionally disguises himself as Marlon-Brando-as-Jor-El-in-Superman — but all too often, safe and sentimental scriptwriting proves to be this film's fatal Kryptonite.