There are rules to this super-hero/super-villain game, and they’re laid out by the title character in the chatty new animated adventure comedy “Megamind”:
“Good receives all the praise and adulation. Evil is sent for quiet time in the corner.”
More to the point, notes Megamind, whatever perks come with heroes and bad guys, “The bad don’t get the girl.”
Will Ferrell provides the mustache-twirling voice in this farce about an alien baby who grew up to be Metroman, and the alien baby who grew up on Earth to be his nemesis — Megamind.
Brad Pitt voices Metroman, the toothy hero who bathes in applause and thwarts the hapless Megamind at every turn. Megamind is so clueless he can’t even pronounce the name of their hometown correctly. “Metrocity” sounds like “atrocity” coming out of his big blue mouth.
The plucky TV reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey) documents Metroman’s heroics and always figures in Megamind’s evil plans.
“Could someone stamp my Frequent Kidnapping Card?”
But what would happen if this equilibrium were shattered, if Megamind were to finally win a fight and do Metroman in? That’s the central conceit of this Dreamworks (3-D) toon. How would Megamind cope?
The answer is not very well. Once you’ve looted the city, enslaved its inhabitants and covered every free space with your “No, You Can’t” posters, what more is there? “What’s the point of being bad if there’s no good to stop you?”
There are a few similarities to last summer’s funnier and sweeter “Despicable Me,” and even more ideas teased out of “The Incredibles.” Megamind’s plans include creating a new superhero (voiced by Jonah Hill) so that he’ll have a foil, somebody he can impress Roxanne by besting in battles of wits.
Like many an overly talkative cartoon, the energy flags here as the funnier lines thin out sometime after Megamind sneers, “I’m shaking in my custom-made baby sealskin boots!” Filler musical montages set to “Bad to the Bone,” “Dirty Deeds” and “Highway to Hell” don’t quite cover the dead spots.
But the message, about “learning from your mistakes,” is kid-appropriate. And the voice casting is on the money and these funny people — and I’m including Pitt, who plays this sort of self-mocking Adonis well, even in animated form — make this cute comedy come off. Even if we, like Megamind, start to wonder “What’s the point?” after Metroman’s exit.