It seems that every few years, Hollywood encounters a strange phenomenon that sees two movies released around the same time centered on similar subject matter that become instant competition for one another. 2009 had both Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Observe and Report, 1998 had A Bug’s Life and Antz, and 2010 had Cop Out and The Other Guys.
In a strange twist of fate for Will Ferrell, the year 2010 was loaded with instances of these so-called ‘twin films’ including Despicable Me and Megamind, which is currently available to stream on Netflix.
Megamind and Despicable Me were both released in 2010, and we think that the former, now on Netflix, is a better movie.
Though the Despicable Me vs. Megamind connection is a bit tenuous, both films serve as computer-animated family movies that feature an allegedly “evil” protagonist with a heart of gold, voiced by a beloved comedian, trying to pull off a diabolical scheme with the help of their minions.
Despite Despicable Me coming out on top at the box office, spawning a host of sequels, spinoffs, and a cultural wave of brand and merchandising deals, many film fans largely consider Megamind to be the better film. In fact, the latest reports have stated that the hit movie is slated to get a legacy sequel in the form of a Peacock original film sometime in 2024.
Megamind was produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures, from a screenplay written by the writing duo of Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons. The film is the first credited screenplay by Schoolcraft and Simons, though the pair would go on to collaborate once again for DreamWorks’ 2014 film Penguins of Madagascar. The film was directed by The Boss Baby and Madagascar filmmaker Tom McGrath.
Megamind also packs one of the most massive ensemble casts of A-list actors and comedians in any DreamWorks film. The film touts a cast that consists of Will Ferrell, David Cross, Tina Fey, Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill, Justin Theroux, JK Simmons, and Brad Pitt, who reportedly insisted on recording all of his dialogue with a portable mic while pacing and wandering around the recording studio.
The film features a number of humorous references to classic comic book superheroes, most notably Superman, which serves as a clear inspiration for both Metro Man and the backstory of Megamind.
Brad Pitt gives an incredible performance in Megamind as Metro Man, a parody of Superman.
The film centers on the titular villain, Will Ferrell’s Megamind, a tall, thin, blue-skinned alien with a bulbous head and a terrible disposition. He and Brad Pitt’s Metro Man share a back story, as they were both sent to Earth in their infancy from a distant, far-off planet that a black hole has since devoured.
Though the pair each come from outer space and land within the same popular urban neighborhood, Metro City, Metro Man has the dumb luck to land in a lavish mansion, while Megamind has the displeasure of arriving in an overcrowded prison.
As a result, the two are given completely different upbringings, with Metro Man growing up to be a cool, popular, heroic figurehead for the city and Megamind enduring intense bullying all his life, turning to a life of crime. In adulthood, Megamind, who is aided by his friend Minion, frequently fails to concoct successful schemes to disable Metro Man and take control of the city.
That is, at least, until one day when Megamind accidentally manages to overpower Metro Man through the chance-based discovery of his weakness to copper.
With Metro Man dispatched, Megamind goes on a rampage through the city before eventually realizing that his game of cat and mouse with the local hero brings him more joy than actual dominance. As a result, Megamind resolves to create a new hero using DNA harvested from Metro Man.
Megamind made $332 million at the box office, which is impressive, but it lost to Despicable Me (and those cursed Minions), which earned $543 million.
Unfortunately, the newly created ‘hero’ Jonah Hill’s Titan (quickly confused as Tighten) rapidly goes mad with power, threatening to be an even greater danger to the city than Megamind ever was.
Armed with a newfound set of principles and a found family of supporters, Megamind resolves to destroy his creation before it’s too late in a massive battle that threatens to leave the entire city cratered.
Though the film managed to turn a massive profit for the studio, amassing nearly $332 million at the worldwide box office against an estimated production budget of $130 million, the film was still marked as one of DreamWorks’ least successful outings of the 2010s.
Despite the studio writing the film off due to this performance, critics seemed to universally praise the film for its innovation of superhero storytelling, high-quality comedy, and excellent vocal performances. If you haven’t yet had the chance to see it, be sure to catch Megamind, which is currently available to stream on Netflix.