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Megamind (Ferrell) is the blue nemesis of Metro City’s hero, Metro Man (Pitt). When one of his evil plans finally works and Metro Man is out of the picture, the villain must figure out what to do now that he is no longer thwarted by good. A long-burning a


Let’s face it, if you’ve seen one superhero story, you’ve pretty much seen them all: alien/regular kid affected by supernatural powers/rich person with access to fantastic gadgets rises to meet regular threats from ne’erdowells, learning lessons about the costs of being a hero. Repeat, and indeed, repeat box office. No surprise, then, that pretty much every major production house has kept superhero movies in tentpole release dates over the last decade-and-a-half. All, that is, apart from DreamWorks Animation — until now.

Wisely, they enter this very crowded field with a fresh(er) take — the villain’s point of view. It must have been slightly crushing for the Megamind crew to learn of Despicable Me being developed at the same time, but their similarities can be written off as coincidence — Megamind, from its very beginning, is far more interested in playing with the conventions of the genre. From his opening salvo, our anti-hero explains his uncannily familiar origins — at eight days old, sent to Earth by his parents from their dying galaxy, and the blue, large-craniumed baby grows up in the shadow of a square-jawed, smug git who is universally beloved, can fly, and has life handed to him on a silver platter. The git becomes Metro Man (Brad Pitt), and the adult Megamind (Will Ferrell) wants only to destroy him. All is according to the grand law of comics, until one day the villain actually succeeds. After the initial shock and novelty of being in charge wears off, Megamind finds himself a ying with no yang.

The upside-down premise delivers the gags thick, fast, and with a healthy success rate. Ferrell delivers solidly, again confirming why he’s one of the best comedic line-readers out there. Despite this, though, a curious feeling envelopes the film — like it could be even funnier, if only he and the cast were really allowed to let fly. It crystallises a dilemma that DreamWorks Animation has always had — a policy of loading the voice cast with A-listers ultimately burdens the script and the story. It’s no fault of the actors, but if you want to analyse the differences between DreamWorks and Pixar, here’s where to start.

That said, the animation and 3D are as slick as we’ve now come to expect, perhaps not reaching the dizzy heights of previous offering How To Train Your Dragon, but enjoyable stuff all the same.

Like his plans, Megamind verges on greatness but has flaws. But it’s fun, energetic and at times dazzling. Expect a stronger sequel — unlikely to be ‘darker and grittier’, though.