With Will Ferrell providing the voice of Megamind; Brad Pitt as the, um, cartoonishly heroic Metro Man; Tina Fey as plucky TV news reporter Roxanne Ritchi - Metro Man's gal pal, of course; and Jonah Hill as the TV cameraman geek-turned-demented-baddie Tighten, Megamind crackles with wit. When cheering throngs assemble before the San Francisco-like City Hall to hail their jut-jawed super-savior, someone yelps, "I love you, Metro Man!"
"And I love you, random citizen!" is his jaunty response.
And the ridiculously cute Roxanne, once again abducted by Megamind in his (up to now) fruitless effort to lure Metro Man to his doom, quips in mock weariness about her "frequent kidnapping card."
The movie's visual wit is evident in its salutes to the likes of Fritz Lang's Metropolis and Rube Goldberg's famously complicated contraptions. Megamind - in theaters in 3-D (baby spittle comin' at ya!) and 2-D versions - owes something, too, to Brad Bird's The Incredibles. The films share a cheeky but affectionate approach to comic-book mythologies, and a keen sense of design. Megamind isn't as inventive, but it's fun, and funny stuff.
Director Tom McGrath, who worked on the furiously antic Ren & Stimpy Show before helming the Madagascar hits, opens Megamind with its titular (anti-)hero's narration, as we watch the blue-skinned brainiac with the billboard-size forehead plummeting to his death. Neatly explaining how he arrived in Metro City (you know the drill: exploding planet, baby placed in capsule, lands on Earth) and how he was raised in a prison for "the criminally gifted," Megamind goes on to describe his rival's origins: pretty much the same (exploding planet, baby in capsule, new home on Earth), except that Metro Man grows up happily, and happily doing good. The two have been at each other since their school days.
Megamind has momentum and dazzle. The rivalry for Roxanne's affections becomes especially complicated when Hal, the TV cameraman, gets his superpowers and superhero costume to become Tighten. And Megamind, finding himself falling for Roxanne, morphs into a charmingly bookish, bespectacled fellow named Bernard. That courtship doesn't quite work out as planned.
But never mind. Megamind works out fine..
Contact movie critic Steven Rea at 215-854-5629 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog, "On Movies Online," at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/onmovies/