Megamind (2010)

Rated PG. Our ratings: V -4 ; L -2; S/N -2 . Running time: 1 hour 36 min.

A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will
put within you; and I will remove from your body
the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I
will put my spirit within you, and make you follow
my statutes and be careful to observe my
ordinances.
Ezekiel 36:26-27

Metro Man rescues (again) Roxanne from Megamind.

2010 DreamWorks Animation

If anyone needed a “new heart,” it’s the blue-skinned, bald-domed Megamind. Director Tom McGrath and scriptwriters Alan J. Schoolcraft and Brent Simons’s delightful tweak of the Superman myth starts with two sets of parents from different doomed planets sending off their only child to safety in a small rocket ship. Both land on earth, one raised by wealthy parents so that he enjoys a life of ease and goodness, growing up with his super powers to become Metro Man (Brad Pitt), Champion of the Good and defender of Metro City. The ship carrying the blue-skinned child lands in a prison where he is raised by hardened criminals, who teach them their evil ways so that he grows up to become Megamind, master criminal.

Metro Man and Megamind are in constant battle over the control of Metro City, with the former constantly coming out on top. However, Metro Man is quite stuffy about his goodness and feels entitled to the adoration of the citizens, who build a massive museum dedicated to him. Then comes the day when Megamind kidnaps Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey), the TV journalist sweet on Metro Man. He deceives the hero as to where she is being held, and manages to use the power of the sun to destroy Metro Man. Gasp. Has Evil at last won over Good?

Stay tuned. The scriptwriters have fun playing with the old notion that Good and Evil need each other. With his adversary seemingly destroyed, Magamind, after enjoying his supremacy for a while, feels that he needs a worthy antagonist, so he transforms Roxanne’s nerdy cameraman Hal (Jonah Hill) into Tighten (get the pun from Greek mythology?) so that they can go at each other. Problem is that Tighten, falling in love with his new super powers, decides not just to rule Metro City, but to destroy it. What is a good villain to do? Fight against one who has become even more villainous than himself? And while fighting evil, what if goodness overtakes one’s” villainous” ?

Will Ferrell is terrific voicing Megamind, and Tina Fey engages in some witty repartee when he kidnaps her. This family-friendly might be better appreciated by adults than children, the latter whom probably will like the similarly themed Despicable Me a bit more. Still, this is great fun and suggests that even the most black-hearted person can change, surely a message during this difficult time that we need to hear.

For Reflection/Discussion

Contains spoilers.

1. Two films to compare this one to: Superman and Despicable Me. How are they similar, and how different?

2. What do you think of Metro Man’s attitude? How might all the adulation have changed him?

3. What do you think of the thesis that good and evil need each other? How, in a way, do we define one by describing what it is against? Do you think that they are totally opposite in a person, or does each one of us contain a mixture of the two?

4. What happens to Hal when he is changed by Megamind into a being with super powers? How might he have benefitted if someone had been around, as with Spiderman, to remind him that with great power goes great responsibility? What are some real life instances in which power corrupts a person?

5. What do you think of Metro Man’s decision to drop out? What has happened to his sense of responsibility? (Is he like the person in Jesus’ teaching, hiding his light under a basket?

6. What contributes to the transformation of Megamind? How do we see that he has “a new heart” and a “new spirit” ? How is the film a little parable of transformation?