The late 2000s, and the early 2010s were a time when DreamWorks released several films a year, and the year of 2010 was the epitome of this trend. In the winter, How to Train Your Dragon was released, and then Shrek: Forever After took the summer slot (just like the other Shrek films); both to large success.Unfortunately, Megamind was reduced to having the fall release that year. It’s easy to say that many would consider that DreamWorks was competing with themselves for the year.
Megamind is about an alien named Megamind, who is transported to earth, and accidentally lands in a prison.In contrast, another alien named Metroman (from another planet), lands in a mansion with a loving family. During their childhood and adolescence, one has been groomed into being a superhero, and the other was groomed into being a supervillain, leading to the event that causes Metroman to be “murdered” by Megamind. Unfortunately, after defeating his foe, Megamind soon gets bored, and creates another superhero (who is a news camera man named Hal) to fight with.
During this time, he is disguised under an alias named Bernard to date the news reporter Roxanne. She has an obsession with anything superhero-centric, explaining her dislike for the villain Megamind, and her “love” for the hero Metroman. Through his relationship with Roxanne Megamind becoming less of a villain and more of a hero as he learns that he does not have to follow the path that life seems to have groomed for him.
With that plot how does the movie hold up?
In my opinion, I really like the film. While subverting superhero tropes is nothing new, I like how they did it. Megamind went from a supervillain to a superhero, while Metroman subverted from a superhero to a normal person, while the loser ended up being the supervillain. None of it is overly contrived, and I like how it asks questions about nurture vs nature with Metroman and Megamind. There’s also lot more heart in the film than people might expect..
The score by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe) is really exquisite, and makes the movie stick out even more. It helps the viewer get a lot more invested into the scenes, whether it’s action-packed, or emotional than they would otherwise. The animation of the characters and setting really helps the investment of the movie, as the textures and designs are perfect for the type of world this film is taking place in.
Now it’s time to talk about the inevitable comparison to Despicable Me, which came out a few months earlier in the summer. Because of this, many people thought that this film copied from Despicable Me. However, most of the similarities between the films are shallow at best. Since perception tends to be reality in a lot of cases, the stigma ended up negatively affecting Megamind, which did affect its reception and box office results.
When the film was released on November 5th, 2010, it made $148 million domestically, and $173.5 million overseas, with a worldwide amount of $321.9 million. This was a huge disappointment for DreamWorks Animation, since they were hoping that this would become another franchise, and it was a poor performance compared to it’s last several films, like How to Train Your Dragon, and Kung Fu Panda. The under-performance of the film was compared to Shark Tale, Bee Movie, and Monsters vs Aliens because they were parody films, and DreamWorks blamed that for the performance. I don’t really get the connection, but to each their own.
Ultimately, I believe that Megamind suffered from the reputation that DreamWorks built for itself; consistent pop-culture jokes that age very quickly, lack of substance over style, bad marketing, dance sequences, so on and so forth. Once you watch the film yourself, you may like it more than its initial reputation will lead you to believe. With brilliant voice casting, amazing action sequences, a heartfelt story, it’s really fun to watch.