Megamind: An Underrated Masterpiece
Quietly, and without much legacy, Megamind first graced our screens in 2010, the tale of a super-villain who loses the will to be evil once his good counterpart is destroyed. From the same people that brought us Shrek, it's surprising that Megamind isn't as successful, as I'd argue that it has the same level of wit and humour as any Dreamworks classic. What makes this movie uniquely special, however, is its protagonist, for he is also the antagonist for the majority of the movie, and the ingenious way the film turns a basic Hero movie on its head. We grow to love a villain, who is very clearly a villain and proud (unlike Shrek), and are taught that everything great requires a little evil.
Now, I'm hardly insulting the sheer brilliance of Shrek, it is and always will be one of the greatest animations, all I'm arguing is that Megamind deserves the same attention. Whenever the titular character flashes his pearly whites on our screens we can't help but be sucked into his flare, his poise, his unadulterated wit and humour. Not only is he a super-villain, he is ironically the most human villain to be animated. I cannot speak for the rest of the population, but were I a super evil genius whose wish was to plague an entire city in terror and destruction, I also would want to have a killer song playing as I waltzed down the street, my cape billowing in the wind and my cyber minions fabulously zapping anything in my way. If the world is going to make me a super villain, then I will become the most outrageous super villain the world has ever seen.
Megamind uses sarcasm and panache to charm his way into being the most feared person in the city, using these same tactics to mask his inner melancholy and dislike of himself. Who hasn't used humour to mask their pain? Megamind is just like us, which is perhaps why we find ourselves rooting for the devilish man from the get-go, despite his promises to destroy everything that is good in the world. He is also a technical genius, and in another life I'm sure Megamind would have been Tony Stark. We support any character we see ourselves in, self-proclaimed good-guy Metro Man is too saintly for anyone human to relate to, so we side with the villain instead.
But it's not only the antagonist that makes this movie the masterpiece it is, it also boasts a kickass female character and love interest. Roxanne Ritchi is often placed in situations of distress, but she's no damsel. With blasé reactions to Megamind's potential torture devices and sarcasm that battles the villain himself, Roxanne is the anti-damsel we never knew we needed. Without a single ability to fight back, nor any handy superpowers that could save her, she is powerful without being femme-fatal cruel or unnaturally badass. Roxanne is powerful and matches our villains and heroes for the strength of her mind and wit, that and her steadfast willpower to fight for what she believes in even when it seems no one stands beside her. Roxanne is the quiet feminist icon we all deserve.
Yet it wouldn't be a great movie without lessons learned from it, and Megamind has these in droves. First, we have the very Gatsby-esque message that things from the past cannot be recreated in the present, as when Megamind attempts to craft his own hero to combat his villainy and ends up creating a larger problem than before, much like Gatsby. Through this we're also taught that without a semblance of balance in our lives, we'll struggle. Without Metro Man, Megamind grapples to find a purpose to his life, as what is a super villain without a superhero to stop them? Sure, this is a children's animation, but the point stands that without contrast in our lives, without the bad days, we won't appreciate the good.
That being said, Megamind makes it seem so glamorous being evil, but further proves that a super villain is only a title given to someone. Rather, it's not our actions that define us, but who we truly are on the inside; there's always time to make things right. It's undeniable that Megamind is a villain, and although Dreamworks couldn't show us, I'm sure he's caused the deaths of a good few citizens along the way of his villainous trek, but his journey throughout the film grants him redemption over forgiveness for his past actions. It would be ludicrous to forgive everything he has done, but redeeming his actions? We can't change the past (sorry, Gatsby), but we can alter the future, and that's what counts most.
In a whole, what Megamind teaches us that few non-children movies do, is that while everyone has the capacity to be evil, everyone has that same capacity to do good. What makes Megamind special is that he is so used to losing every fight he battles in, that in his journey to do good, he never expects to gain anything from it. "That's the benefit to losing, you get to learn from your mistakes", he tells us, and while this quote seems so simple and obvious it's so often brushed over in life. In a world striving for constant perfection, we become so afraid of losing, of failing our potential. But Megamind is never afraid of losing, only of not joining the battle at all.
It's a cinematic masterpiece filled with an engaging plot, quick-witted humour and flare, and makes us all wish we were as fabulous as a villain. Megamind is wildly underrated, as it grants us everything we could wish for with a charismatic protagonist/antagonist, strong love interest, killer soundtrack and transferable life lessons.
Perhaps the most important lesson of all in the movie is simply this: that win or lose, you've got to face the fight.
As Megamind himself said, "destiny is not the path given to us, but the path we chose for ourselves."