After super-villain Megamind (Will Ferrell) defeats nice-guy nemesis, Metro Man (Brad Pitt), he grows bored without a worthwhile opponent to fight. When he genetically engineers a new foe, however, his new creation sets out to destroy Metro City, positioning Megamind to save the day for the first time in his life. Refreshingly cynical, very funny and even a little poignant, Megamind has laughs, depth, wit and world-beating animation.
If your kids still labour under the delusion that their lives are going to be fulfilling and worthwhile, then a dose of Megamind should lower their expectations to more manageable levels.
Produced by DreamWorks animation, Megamind lampoons the pomposity of the superhero genre in much the same way that the studio's Shrek series sucked all the sugar and schmaltz out of the fairy tale.
A fantastic intro sequence details how our protagonist Megamind (Ferrell) and his future nemesis Metro Man (Pitt) were sent to Earth by their respective parents just before their alien world was destroyed.
While Metro Man is raised by a loving family, Megamind lands in a prison and is brought up by cons, focussing his remarkable intellect on doing bad deeds.
Lonely and misunderstood, with only his fish-headed alien friend Minion (David Cross) for company, Megamind develops an all-consuming rivalry with the goody two-shoes Metro Man.
After countless attempts to kill the lantern-jawed superhero, Megamind is just as surprised as anybody when a kidnap plot involving Metro Man's crush - reporter Roxanne Ritchi (Fey) - leads to the caped avenger's defeat.
Having finally got what he wanted, Megamind finds ruling over Metro City to be unfulfilling, leading him to create a new nemesis whose destructive behaviour gives the blue-headed boffin a chance at redemption.
With whizz bang visuals and a sharp script, Megamind has more than enough going for it to avoid comparisons to the similarly-themed Despicable Me.
World weary and full of surprises, like the best animated films, this bittersweet tale can be appreciated on a number of levels.
As such, the pessimistic tone that underlies the film is likely to go right over tots heads, and while they may laugh at Megamind's clumsy attempts to romance Roxanne, adults may well feel a deeper pang of empathy for the hapless baddie.
More than ten years after Mike Myers unleashed Dr Evil on the world, the idea of a villain with sympathetic foibles is hardly a new one, but Megamind is zingy enough to make the concept feel fresh.
Although Ferrell's performance is sometimes a little overclocked, his not-so-evil genius is strangely charming and heart-achingly vulnerable, while the supporting cast, particularly Fey and Cross, are less showy yet equally impressive.
Gleefully subverting the standard good vs evil hokum, while delivering an eye-popping adventure with characters you can really root for, Megamind is simply super.