I get to listen to a lot of my kids’ movies more than I get to see them. A.) I’m not really into TV and neither are they, so if it’s on, it’s background noise. B.) That little DVD player in the van is a lifesaver sometimes, but again, it’s background noise. That means that if my kids have a favorite movie, I’m likely able to recite lines from characters whose faces I’ve barely seen. That being said, it also gives me a pretty big advantage in breaking down the content of dialogue without the context of it within the scene, and that means I discover some pretty heavy stuff in these supposed children’s movies. Enter: DreamWorks Megamind, the story of good versus evil, Metro Man versus Megamind.
Can we just talk about the character Metro Man from the movie Megamind for a minute? I feel like he is one of the healthiest characters in the entire movie. You know why? After listening to him talk about all the pressure he’s under all the time to conform to others’ expectations of him and never having a choice, I can’t blame him for wanting to find himself and do something that genuinely makes him happy.
Ok, but what about that Spider Man thing: with great power comes great responsibility? What about his responsibilities as the hero, man?! That’s all well and good. If you can help, you should. But, let’s consider the fact that every person who is not born with super powers has the freedom to choose what’s best for him or herself. Remember that Metro Man was born into his powers and his expectations. He had no choice. Let that sink in for a moment. That’s pretty heavy.
This man, for every day of his entire life he has been expected to save everyone from their problems because he can. This in itself is a problem. Ever heard of codependency? I digress…
Not only does Metro Man realize that he’s unhappy always pandering to the needs of the citizens he’s expected to protect, but he leaves and stays gone. And after being confronted by Megamind and Roxy, he refuses to come back and fight, even though there is a very real danger threatening Metro City. And you know what? I support him on that. It isn’t fair for everyone to constantly take from him. He was unhappy (who knows, maybe even depressed). Perhaps he had to leave to save his own life.
Ok, ok. Maybe that’s taking it a bit too far, but think of the relief you felt the first time you saw the movie and Metro Man heroically returned to drive off Titan at the last second. Yes! He did the right thing. He came back and did the responsible thing. Only, seconds later, you discover it was really Megamind in disguise, and you think: what a selfish jerk; Metro Man didn’t come back after all.
But, why? By the end of the movie, Titan is defeated, the day is saved, a new hero has risen. So, the job got done, even though Metro Man didn’t do it. Doesn’t this prove that him choosing himself and his happiness over the neediness of the masses didn’t result in the end of the world? Why be so salty?
I think it speaks volumes about our culture that we (and I mean me, too, initially) react this way to Metro Man’s decision and his unwillingness to cave the way we – as viewers with nothing at stake – expect him to. Even though Megamind becomes the stereotypical hero of the movie, stepping out of his expected role to do what needed done (and trust me, he is a hero), I think Metro Man becomes a different kind of hero in his own right.
In a fantasy setting, saving the citizens from the evil villain makes you a hero, but in real life, and I think all of us as adults can attest to this, being a hero isn’t always so cut-and-dry. Metro Man is the unsung hero of adulthood, the one who goes on his own quest to fight his inner insecurities and answer his own existential questions to emerge as a whole person instead of a sterotype. And he does it responsibly.
He makes a cameo at the end of the movie to secretly congratulate Megamind on his success, because he realized before any of us did (because, honestly, we were all sort of wondering how the hell Megamind was going to get out of that one), that there were other people out there capable of doing what he’d been doing for all those years. He didn’t want to shoulder the burden alone anymore because he knew others could do it if they were only put in a position to have to do it on their own.
Maybe this isn’t the case in real life all the time. It could have been a disaster in the movie. Sometimes in real life, it is. I’m not arguing that everyone who depends on someone is lazy or codependent. What I’m simply saying is, in this movie, Metro Man is an unsung hero for being a responsible, healthy adult, and a whole person. Is it possible he’ll help other people again at some point in his life? Sure. He’s not a jerk; he cares for others (heck, he stuck around to the end of the movie to check in on his “little buddy” didn’t he?), but if he never does, does that make him a bad person? I don’t think so.
In real life, like I said, if you have the ability to help, you should, but when it gets to be unbalanced and you’re giving more than you need to be, you could take a cue from Metro Man and decide to step aside and let another hero emerge.
Did anyone else get that, or am I completely in left field right now? What about you? Have you ever been in a similar position?
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