While the animated story of a criminal mastermind who stumbles off the beaten track and onto the path of heroic fame and glory (and for the chance to win the love of a woman) might seem a bit familiar to audiences — Despicable Me appeared only a couple of months ago — Megamind devotes more time to turning the Superman mythos on its ear to hilarious effect. Thanks, in part, goes to the vocal efforts of Will Ferrell, David Cross, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill and the unexpected behind-the-scenes consultancy of Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy) and Justin Theroux (Iron Man, Tropic Thunder).

Megamind (Ferrell) along with his trusty amphibian sidekick (Cross) and Metro Man (Brad Pitt) get jettisoned as babies from their respective dying planets by their parents and they land on Earth in diametrically opposed situations: Megamind in a prison for criminal geniuses, Metro Man in a wealthy home with oblivious but well-meaning parents.

They engage in the typical good-versus-bad fun and games until Megamind finds himself alone at the top of the heap, only to realize that he needs the yin to his yang, so he decides to re-create an arch-foe (Hill) who ends up challenging him for the affections of Metro City’s star reporter (Fey).

The whole affair is too dangerously blasphemous for the Superman creative team to appropriate for that franchise’s latest reboot, but in this animated context it has the smart jazzy swing of the first Shrek that dazzled and charmed both children and parents, which could signal the arrival of a brand new kind of hero. Grade: A-