Megamind (Will Ferrell: The Other Guys) is the brainiac supervillain of Metro City. He terrorizes the town in his repetitive quest to defeat superpowered arch nemesis and golden boy Metro Man (Brad Pitt: Inglourious Basterds). That is, until the villain finally knocks the hero out of the picture. Finally, Megamind owns the town, but without a rival to challenge him the fun is gone. So Megamind creates Tighten (Jonah Hill: Get Him to the Greek) as a new super-powered foil to recharge villainy’s verve. But the new guy’s no hero, and when Tighten lashes out against the city, it strangely falls to Megamind to save the day.

Go figure.

At first blush, the villain gone good is reminiscent of the summer charmer, Despicable Me. But that one essentially boiled down to thawing out a heart within the context of dueling Wile E. Coyotes. Megamind, on the other hand, wakens a conscience in the context of the classic superbrawn vs. superscience rivalry of Superman.

Upended perspective on that clichéd rivalry makes for a pretty fun story, testing convention within an epic nurture-versus-nature struggle as Megamind wrestles his own legacy and discovers he can’t just create a hero. The telling is smartly done, building off a cute back story and exploring the amusing what-if scenario of villainy’s victory. The pivot point of his transformation, and Tighten’s rage, is his crush on Lois Lane-styled reporter (and frequent hostage) Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey: Date Night). The quick romance is a little sudden, strange and awkward — yet it works.

The movie’s pretty reliable for a laugh. Megamind entertains with over-the-top showmanship, and Minion (David Cross: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel) makes for a fun sidekick. The movie’s full of easy jabs at comic book heroics, but quick wit and snarky attitude, combined with sharp supervillain showmanship, punch up predictable jokes, brighten the tone and keep the comic edge sharp.

It’s a good-looking movie, too — though it probably doesn’t merit shelling out for the 3D experience. A couple gags are thrown in for kicks, and the graphics get some added depth, but the movie doesn’t do much to capitalize on the 3D format.

All told, this one’s good fun. Families and animation fans should enjoy.

Good animated comedy • PG • 96 mins.�