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The Case for Hal/Tighten

I was initially going to leave this as a comment to this - community.livejournal.com/megamind_movie/292733.html but it became a bit rambling, so I decided to make it it's own post. Many people have asked me about this anyways, so here's my little tell all.

You all make good points about Hal/Tighten being extraordinarily creepy. As anyone here knows, I am Hal/Tighten's greatest supporter, and am damn proud of that. I won't say however, that he doesn't creep me out. The first time I saw the movie, he literally sent a shiver over me when he first comes up behind Roxanne as Tighten. There was something so quietly threatening, MENACING in that single gesture, that I was sincerely unnerved by him. He was never anything but nice (in those first moments, anyways) but the alarms were blaring in my head for Roxanne to run the hell inside and get away. Do ANYTHING, just RUN.

At the same time, however, it was like a switch flipped in me and he became a VASTLY more interesting character than he had been, and I was irresistibly fascinated by him. The more times I watched the movie, the more that facination grew and grew (and honestly, still grows).

It's hard for me to jump into this without explaing a life story. People close to me who know the experiences I have been through in my life, they understand better why I'm so attracted to Hal. To sum it up briefly, there were experiences in my childhood that left me afraid of men for a very very long time (and to a degree, even today) As I grew older, however, I learned not to just fear men of this ilk but to also be wildly intrigued by them. It's turning what's scary into something enjoyable and non threatening.

I suspect, that at my basest level, this is why I love Hal/Tighten so much. I've always loved men that I can be just a bit afraid of. At least in media. As for my taste in real men, I do recognize that this could land me in a boat of trouble, and I veer away to guys that... you know, probably won't hide me under their floorboards one day xD

That explains me, but what about anyone else? I DO feel like there are reasons to like Hal, and if the comments on threequarterfox's post are any indication, then I DO think I'm right about one thing - Hal hits WAY too close to home for many of you to be comfortable with him. Hal is an everyguy - how can more people NOT relate to him? My own eccentricities aside, I find it rather impossible to not identify with him. I've loved someone I've had no chance with, I've lashed out at people, hurting them to justify my own pain. I've had an ego that was designed to hide how much I didn't like myself. Hal is like holding a mirror up to myself. Or at least, to the me I was a few years ago. I used to be quite the jerk, especially to those nearest to me, but all I really wanted to do was be nice - that is, until they'd set me off. Then it was the easiest thing in the world to be a bitch. I said and did things that I regretted, and I shut myself away inside of books and video games to numb it all.

How many people can say that they wouldn't do the same thing in his shoes? Really truly and honestly? Yes, there will be people who handle breakups with equanimity, but there's so many more people who internalize it, take it personally, and generally don't know how to deal with it. It's not a GOOD way to be, but the honest fact is that many people ARE that way. Hal reminds me of me, of people I've known, dated, and even loved. He's not perfect, but then, who is?

Another point, for all the Megs fans out there - Hal is, in so many ways, a parallel to our favorite blue skinned bad guy. Would you have more compassion for Hal if we saw what his childhood was like? It's hinted at that he was bullied, and generally wasn't liked. Yes, I certainly believe that some of that has been brought on by himself, but I was bullied as a kid, and I know the impact it has. Also, who hasn't occasionally dug their own grave and put their foot in their mouth?

As for his looks - I think it's suffice to say that most people aren't exactly supermodels. Personally, I think he's incredibly cute, even before the powers. And afterwards... Haha, well, you all know my thoughts on that. He manages to combine my two favorite male body types, this movie was absolute eye candy for me.

Anyways -Roxanne was right - Hal ISN'T a bad guy. He's immature, childish, self delusional and mislead - but that doesnt make him a monster. Even up to the end of the movie, you can still see the remorse in his face when he looks at her as she runs away from him. It's painfully obvious that he's trying (and to a degree succeeding) to steel himself.

My angle on this, is that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US has had moments where we've been like Hal. The difference between us is that I have no trouble admitting to it.


THIS is just as sad to me as Megamind in the rain. Even a 'troll' has feelings too.


( 56 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 18th, 2011 04:37 am (UTC)
I think, of all the characters, Hal ACTUALLY had it worst. That doesn't excuse his later actions towards Roxanne, but can be the basest reason behind them.

From the novel: No one ever told him they appreciated and were proud of him. Also actually uses Megamind's schtick on "well if all I am good at is being bad, I might as well live up to it."

I think Hal is histrionic and came from some kind of abusive or emotionally neglectful home that left him incapable of empathizing with other peoples' feelings or relating in a normal way. Even Megamind had Minion, and Metroman had his adoring public. You never see or hear Hal mention anybody in the novel or movie.

Points of support: Above snippets from novel, he readily accepts Spacedad and Space-Stepmom without really questioning it, is shown to be socially maladjusted, becomes dangerously obsessed with Roxanne (a woman who is relatively nice to him). In the novel he smarts off to Space-Stepmom, in the movie he defends 'her' honor. That's a toss-up there.

I can see the character being more interesting than just a superficial "hey, here is a creeper" type dude.

BUT, I don't think I've ever really been Hal though. Not like that.
Jan. 18th, 2011 04:39 am (UTC)
Also: Can you use an lj-cut please? :3
(no subject) - junosunderland - Jan. 18th, 2011 04:50 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - junosunderland - Jan. 18th, 2011 05:34 am (UTC) - Expand
thread highjack - driftwoodwings - Jan. 18th, 2011 07:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: thread highjack - threequarterfox - Jan. 18th, 2011 07:59 am (UTC) - Expand
Tentacles. (I HAD TO) - driftwoodwings - Jan. 18th, 2011 10:19 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Tentacles. (I HAD TO) - threequarterfox - Jan. 18th, 2011 11:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 18th, 2011 04:40 am (UTC)
Very moving.
[bows deeply to Junos utter eloquence] As I said to someone else in this fandom a few days ago, I am not worthy. I am so not worthy.

That, and Struth! Well done! Your arguments are right on the mark.
What fascinated me about Hal was how everyone (including myself) hated him (rare in any work of fiction). You have successfully explained to me why this is so, yet now I feel pity for him more than anthing else. Plus yes, I can remember being in Hals' situation, my dreams turned to ashes in my mouth. Yes.

You're fun!


Man, I wish I could watch this movie again with this new insightsesness.
Jan. 18th, 2011 05:06 am (UTC)
Re: Very moving.
Thank you very much! It honestly delights me, every person that I've... convinced Hal isn't a total monster. I'm not setting out to fight people, and by all means, I am a devoted member of the Blue Church ;) But I just think our fiery friend in red needs a little more appreciation than he gets.

I do agree with what you wrote - it IS fascinating that so many people would loathe him, when there are so many villain lovers like me out there. Oh Hal, such the enigma haha

I hope you get to watch it soon, and I hope that you do see every nuance in his expressions that all very implicitly say that Hal isn't a complete monster :)
Re: Very moving. - threequarterfox - Jan. 18th, 2011 05:43 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 18th, 2011 04:43 am (UTC)
I pretty much agree with everything you said, even though I don't feel the same about the character. To me, he is very interesting and I love analyzing him just like Megamind- they both have a lot stacked against them. I also think he's a hilarious character, and not meant to be a straight depiction of "that guy" but a huge exaggeration. That's why we get the bouncy house and wedding photographer, it's too insane to be real.

However, Hal strikes me as one of the "nice guys", the kind of guy who is self-centered and only acts nice out of hope that it will win him points at something. When he fails to make friends or impress the girl, he feels cheated and blames his looks and other people's prejudice for his lack of acceptance, which is easier than blaming his personality for driving people away. He feels hostile towards attractive women for not being attracted to him, even as he tries to win their approval. He doesn't understand that this is what makes him seem so creepy, and for some guys this turns into a real psychological problem.

Hal is unloved, poor and has a lot of bottled up anger, and there are a lot of people like that out there. Probably if you chose a random person off the street in Chicago you'd get a similar reaction. So I see him as intriguing not in a sexy way but in a sociological way- as speculation about what the average joe would really do if he was given godlike power.
Jan. 18th, 2011 05:11 am (UTC)
I agree completely - Hal is practically the textbook definition of 'Nice Guy'. He certainly has yet to learn that being nice to someone for an ulterior motive will definitely not earn you any brownie points, and will only breed comtempt and resentment when it inevitably falls down on you.

I've debating the bouncy house remark - where on earth would he fit it? A large part of me thinks it's just the movie over-the-top comedy, yet I don't want to entirely disregard it. It can be a bit difficult to pick out the exxagerations in a film like this.

But yes, totally - choose any random person and give them powers and I can guarantee you that there will be nothing but problems. Metroman himself didn't want the damn job, why would an average joe?
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 18th, 2011 05:30 am (UTC)
It's funny, I was reading Ann Rule last night (the famous crime novelist, on the off chance you're not familiar with her) and I happened to be reading her book 'Kiss Me Kill Me' which deals specifically with romance gone awry.

I like what she had to say about the difference in men and woman and how they react to break ups - Women usually beg for their lover back, through tears and sniffling, and men usually adopt the attitude 'If I can't have you, then no one can'. Very fitting for Hal. He obviously took it to a murderous extreme, but I don't think he would have if it weren't for the power. Indeed, without the power, he probably would have been more rational about it. In the beginning he was COMPLETELY normal. Very at ease, casually asking her if she'd like to grab a coffee, etc. Much more normal than some of the guys who have had crushes on me.

It's funny, my first serious boyfriend brought up marriage on the day he asked me out xD His literal words were 'Picture your name... with MY last name'. We were 15 XD I wish I'd have had Megamind then, I would have loved Hal because he would have reminded me of my boyfriend haha. I told him we wouldn't get married ANYtime soon, but that I didn't mind dating him to see where everything went (obviously we did NOT get married, lol)
Jan. 18th, 2011 05:51 am (UTC)
Long comment is going to be long. I was going to comment on the original post too, but my attempt to formulate a comment got too long and led to me getting distracted watching the movie again, so I never finished composing it. The really short version is that I felt sympathy for Hal in the beginning, and felt significantly less sympathy toward him as the movie went on. I don't HATE him, by any means (my fic is currently the only fic under his character filter on ff.net; I've got street cred, lol), but I do feel that he was significantly more villainous than Megamind based on malice, if nothing else.

I agree with a lot of what arrowtibbs already said concerning his possible upbringing/aloneness, so I'll skip that.

I can't go as far as to say that I agree with your blanket statement of "every single one of us" having moments like Hal, because it's too much of a generalization for me. As far as relate-ability goes, though, I think a big part of it is that a lot of us relate him not to ourselves, but to people in our lives who have given us similar problems as he gave Roxanne -- we don't relate to him in a good way. I know I certainly don't. I've had two Hal-types in my life, and my life is significantly better now that I've cut them out of it.

Having never been through a (romantic) break-up (or in love, or any of that fun stuff), I honestly couldn't tell you how I'd handle being in his shoes, personally. What I can say is that Hal has a very skewed perception of his and Roxanne's relationship. They are not a couple. Roxanne was absolutely correct when she said, "There is no US." That's not a breakup - that's reality (which is ironic, given how he lectures her later about how she needs to "wake up"). The other big difference is in the way he lashes out. Lashing out verbally, I can understand. Lashing out physically... not so much. Lashing out to the point of trying to KILL someone? Now we're getting into "unforgivable" territory. The guy needs some serious help at that point.

Basically: I like him as a character, but not as a person. I can appreciate that he had feelings, but not the ways in which he ultimately acted on them. I hope that post-movie, they get him some therapy in prison. Before he got the powers, he wasn't too far gone, I don't think. Toward the beginning of the movie, he just seemed like a nervous-babbler with a crush on his co-worker who wasn't quite sure how to go about wooing her. He admits himself that his line about dingoes was weird, and later, instead of asking her on a date, which would've been much less weird and much more to the point, he asks her to a "party" that he planned "just for them" (opinions vary on how much of the stuff he prepared for said party was just for humor's sake or for real). After he got the powers, though, everything went to pot. I like to hope that once the powers got taken away, he could be made to see the error of his ways.
Jan. 18th, 2011 05:59 am (UTC)
I agree with this comment. And have to second the not liking Hal as a person. Like Roxie says, you judge people by their actions.
(no subject) - junosunderland - Jan. 18th, 2011 07:17 am (UTC) - Expand
That's a very very good question. - threequarterfox - Jan. 18th, 2011 08:01 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - threequarterfox - Jan. 18th, 2011 08:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 18th, 2011 06:03 am (UTC)
In a lot of ways, most people are products of the way they are treated. So it is extremely likely that because of his physique/stature, his hair color, his tastes in entertainment, even his laziness, could have earned him some harsh treatment by peers both in his childhood and in his adult life.

You know, the people who have been bullied, people who have a sense of entitlement that they should have the things they don't, (I mean material things) they're the people who get older and snap and shoot up schools or kill the family of the person who broke their heart.

As the victim, one can feel sorry for them. Their plight. It's dreadful. And how they get to the point of snapping is very easy to see and understand. But after they reach that breaking point and do the horrible things they do to people not even deserving of their revenge, then they're even worse than their tormentors.

Hal is a very relateable character because many more of us have been the underdog than otherwise. And we can relate to him in that many of us have known people like Hal (usually someone who has creeped us out because of their social ineptitude, obsession with us, or flimsily covered threats). So I can't feel any real pleasant attachment for him. Tormented as he may possibly have been, people have to take responsibility for controlling, themselves, even if that means seeking help.
Jan. 18th, 2011 07:22 am (UTC)
I totally agree with you - that line is what seperates the these people from say, serial killers and etc.

Hal is relatable, and he isn't evil, but I never said he was very nice. For these reasons, I DO really admire Megamind - he was strong enough to overcome real barriers and be an adult (the same goes for Metroman) and take control of his own 'fate', a theme that I adore in the movie.

Perhaps in jail Hal will have his time to ruminate on what it is to be an adult and take control over your every action, no matter how hot headed and in the moment they are.
Jan. 18th, 2011 06:57 am (UTC)
I think that you hit on a lot of things in a general way that I agree with. Hal certainly doesn't seem to fit the bill of a monster... I don't know, but to me that definition is required more for things that are a bit more calculated and cold blooded. Hal is just too hot-headed and impulsive in his actions. I think that was a really strong point of the film; they made his situation and emotional responses things that most people can really relate to. It certainly makes for a more interesting villain than somebody who is a total sociopath.

But I guess while I think his TRAITS are pretty common and easy to identify with, his REACTIONS (in the big sense) seem really off to me. His choices are pretty horrific. People face disappointment and anger and heartbreak, but I doubt that most would go to the lengths he did. I mean, nobody has super powers, obviously, but there are plenty of people with access to pretty powerful things. While some people do completely freak out, it's definitely the exception and not the norm. I guess for me, the thing that keeps me from really pitying Hal consistently (since there are moments where I feel sorry for him) is the fact that from the way he talks about things he obviously understands the difference between right and wrong, he was given every opportunity to really make something of himself... and then he chooses to do the wrong thing nonetheless.

I give you kudos for bringing this all up. It just shows how well this movie did in creating its characters that people have such reactions to it. I really enjoyed reading your post and getting a different view on this :)
Jan. 18th, 2011 07:30 am (UTC)
Oh I know, Dreamworks created such a masterpiece! I'm so happy to be in a happy little hole picking this movie over x) I also love that everyone here has been very adult - there's a lot of strongly opposing views among the fans, and everyone's been very good about this.

Honestly, it makes me happy that people are even reading my rambling and taking the time to comment on it. This is truly the best fandom I've ever been in.

But yes, anyways haha, I definitely see where you're coming from with his traits being common, and his actions very far out of the ordinary. And I DO try to cover that any time I've been called upon for why I like him so much. I don't outright defend his worse actions - trying to kill Roxanne or anyone else who got in his way, etc. I just try to understand the reasons why he was in the first place. Obviously people should be wary around people like Hal - there've been guys like him that I've had to repeatedly turn down for the same reason. But there have also been guys like Hal that I've befriended and become close too. I feel like Hal teeters on that thin line very shakily, sometimes crossing over to one side or the other. Which I guess is why I lean much more towards giving him a chance.

I don't make any secret of me possibly being a bit deluded xD I wrote in my own post that I have a very definitive taste for men that are TERRIBLE for me - better that I let it out through fandom than end up in a ditch somewhere xD
It is an incredibly great fandom. - threequarterfox - Jan. 18th, 2011 08:06 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: It is an incredibly great fandom. - junosunderland - Jan. 18th, 2011 08:10 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: It is an incredibly great fandom. - threequarterfox - Jan. 18th, 2011 12:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 18th, 2011 07:20 am (UTC)
Something I thought about in the film is how Hal and Megamind both have some what similar backgrounds. Both were picked on, both have poor social skills/or no real socialization skills at all. I think (to me anyway). It was pointing out how you can be the kid who was picked on and go completely off the edge, or face your inner demons and not become a self fulfilling prophecy.

I don't hate Hal.. I saw pieces of people I knew/know in Hal. Its just how he flies off the edge and actually tried to KILL people (where Megamind seemed to never go that far) is what made me all.. "eh.. ._. dude I don't like you or really feel too bad for you because. Dude. No matter your past; that's no excuse for trying to KILL Roxanne and who knows who else in the cross-fire."

He reminds me of the kid I'd try and befriend out of the goodness of my heart in school because no one took the time to understand be silly and goofy with him. But the fact when given god like powers he tries to harm people; makes me afraid.. just for my own well being.

Balls for posting this, you do have. I understand your point and I'm kind of glad there is a small group that does like him this way. :3 While I agree with you, and I think the only points I can relate to him is burying myself in games/fiction/what have you when I had to handle rejection. idk D:;.. fft.
Jan. 18th, 2011 07:38 am (UTC)
I LOVE that theme in this movie - You are what YOU choose to be, only you can control your own destiny, life is all about the choices (and there are ALWAYS choices) etc etc etc Just genius, genius.

To that end (again, not justifying Hals bad actions here, just saying) Hal didn't CHOOSE to be Titan (and I do love how definitive that is, the name change, being what he was supposed to be as opposed to what he became). The choices he made led him to being Tighten, obviously, but this was all thrust upon him out of nowhere. I don't think things would have escalated the way they did had it not been for Megaminds interference.

If you antagonize an animal, obviously at some point it's going to lash out and bite you. I love Megamind to death, but I think he had it coming by taunting him, to be honest (Which I do like that about MM, he was childish in his own way). I think Hal would have been content to dwell in his apartment and geek out if it weren't for Megamind.

Hal did terrible things, but I don't think Megamind should get away TOTALLY scott free.

But yes, thank you xD I don't consider it too ballsy to post this, everyone's been very rational (I only worry a little bit about being lynched haha) and cool and adult. I'm just glad to have an outlet to preach the gospel of Tighten ramble on about my obsession with this excellent movie :D

(Also, I love the icon x) DWD FTW!)
Interesting. - threequarterfox - Jan. 18th, 2011 08:10 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Interesting. - junosunderland - Jan. 18th, 2011 08:18 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Interesting. - driftwoodwings - Jan. 18th, 2011 10:31 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Interesting. - threequarterfox - Jan. 18th, 2011 11:08 am (UTC) - Expand
I LOVE THIS FANDOM - driftwoodwings - Jan. 18th, 2011 10:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - 0o0f - Jan. 18th, 2011 01:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 18th, 2011 11:32 am (UTC)
THIS (God, you're so much made of awesome for this post).

You pointed all the reasons why I can't hate Hal, the same reason why I like him and I feel pity for him. He just suffered an incredible bad luck, and I wouldn't be surprised if he was bullied too in his chilhood. The screenshot that you posted was the moment when I knew that Hal has heart. He was just... devastated. Poor thing.

I can relate to him at some points, especially in my past... Once I had a boyfriend, when he left me I almost went all gangsta on him, using words as weapons. He hurted me and I hurted him. But, in the end, thanks to my best friend, we could fix our differences and start a new friendship. Maybe, in the future, Hal will do the same with Roxanne.

UNF. I just love this movie <3
Jan. 18th, 2011 11:48 am (UTC)
Time for a comment from moi! Now, surprisingly, I knew little to nothing about the story line regarding this movie. When I first heard about it I saw a simple trailer, which luckily for me didn't give anything of the plot away. I was pretty much taken by the art style and the humour I saw (there were no fart jokes in this ad, because if there were I would have had major doubts). So, when I first sat down to see this movie everything I experienced was new.

I had many mixed feelings towards the cameraman known as Hal. For one I felt sorry for him since he shared a name with a menacing computer from a Kubrick movie. Then I just felt sorry for him, too, at the beginning because I know I've been in his shoes, as liking a person who I knew didn't like me back. It's something almost everyone's experienced, unless you're like a super model or something or someone with a lot of money then everyone loves you. Even now, currently, I feel like a bit of a Hal. He was a little adorable at the beginning, a geek, and nervous around the girl he obviously liked but who, I thought, came across as a little too blunt with him.

Though I could not help but notice his fairly uncaring reaction to Metro Man's death. Even at the beginning of the movie, he is bored and annoyed by all this hero worship. But he lies, trying to make it sound like he cares, just to gain favor with the lovely Roxanne and even that back fires on him when he brings up her regular kidnappings by the blue bald guy. But look at him, once Megamind is making his broadcast from the steps of City Hall. Hal is simply chewing a wad of gum, with little to no emotion on his face unlike those around him who look genuinely lost, and scared at the 'death' of their hero and the raise of the villain. He could care less, and this showed to me just what kind of character he was straight off the bat.

He was only concerned with the things that really affect him. Metro Man never saved him; he was never in danger by Megamind. His only connection to either of them was Roxanne of whom he was projecting a lot onto. I mean for gosh sake, he has a poster of her in his room which has 'Night Hal <3' written on it. That's a little creepy, but at least it isn't hanging on his ceiling so he can... you know. Anyway, getting into kind of mentally scarring imagery for some people (not me personally we're all human and we all gotta enjoy ourselves am I right?). Back to my point, all he really did care about was himself, and to an extent, Roxanne but only when he was seeing something that wasn't there.

Hal went from an awkward nerd to a real danger when he first admitted to Space Dad that he did have his eye on one special lady; and it seemed to me he was using his new powers to actually peek in on what she was doing. Forgive me but I shuddered quite badly at that moment because the idea of Hal using his powers to simply watch Roxanne whenever he wanted is just damn disturbing. He had moved on from a boyish crush to almost stalkerish territory. I honestly did feel for Roxanne, and wished she knew just what was brewing upon her horizon.

But you cannot deny that maybe; just maybe, she had just a big a hand in Hal becoming who he was. From what we saw of their interactions in the movie, she was fairly 'eh' with him. She didn't seem to want to have anything to do with him outside his camera work which, I think, was a bit rude. Sure he was awkward and a little unsettling but he wasn't a threat to her then. What exactly was stopping her from, oh I don't know, going with him to a cafe or grabbing a burger from some joint to just talk about the days work? Instead after her filming of the 'Are you happy Megamind' clip she wants to stop for the day. Sure, bad example, since she was upset but she didn't really come across to me as the type of girl who would really 'mix' with somebody like Hal. There she is in her expensive dresses and coats, and there's Hal wearing geek t-shirts and chucks. If she had made maybe a little attempt to become something like a friend and not just a co-worker and little to nothing else, Hal might not have taken the path he decided to take when she woke him to reality.
Jan. 18th, 2011 11:48 am (UTC)
Which, I found, was painful to watch. That whole scene of him hovering up behind her, flying around her like a moth does a flame and how he literally put her life in danger in an attempt to woo her, just made me squirm in my seat. This was now officially dangerous for the girl, despite her inability to maybe having a slight change in it. Her way of breaking it to him was fairly harsh too you can't deny that fact. Maybe she could have handled it better. Hal could have seriously taken it better too. But he was by then far too disilliousoned by his grandeur, his powers, and his mind set that Roxanne was the type of girl who liked big strong men (once again, if she had spent some time with him outside of work that might have been different), the hero type. With Metro Man gone, Hal felt that he, Tighten, could be her new squeeze. His illusion is shattered and his reaction was painful to witness, even more so when we see him hovering outside the cafe, watching her 'making googly eyes at some intellectual dweeb'.

Which, by the way, I'm glad that they gave him a defeated/upset face rather then angry like the storyboards had previewed in the Art of Megamind book. He wasn't livid then, he was just hurt, and rejected.

His most drastic change though, obviously, comes through no one's fault but Megamind. Almost as mentally unhealthy as Hal with superficial relationships, Megamind wants a hero to fight again but Hal wants to become a bad guy to have more fun. You gotta admit, his first 'crimes' are almost cute. A bike. Cartoony blocks of gold. An ATM. That made me crack a smile. But Megamind, disillusioned by his label as the bad guy coaxes Hal. To Hal, there was no game, only emotions and his was in control. Let's face it, this guy was up for murdering people. Think of that poor truck driver in the tunnel which no doubt met a painful death at the hands of Hal who flew straight through that tanker unlike Megamind and his Brain Bots who flew to avoid it. He inflicts pain upon the mayor, and goes around destroying things just because he can, just because he's mad. It's like a little kid letting off steam, breaking his toys because he's mad, but later regretting it. Would Hal had regret what he was doing, later on? Possibly, since he did start out as a nice guy but at that point he was too far hurt to think of the future an what his actions might do to he city, or the people.

Let's face brass facts. Hal was going to kill Roxanne. Attempted murder is not something one can easily over look, and violence against women especially, is frowned upon. She was being the bigger person, confronting him and hoping that she could reason with him but as Hal said, she was too late. While she didn't think he was cool stuff, she was at least trying to talk to him; sadly, too little, too late. What was stopping her talking to him before he became a hero? How is it that in the time it took for Hal to train and become a 'hero' she never once noticed her cameraman was gone? I think Roxanne still has as much to do with Hal becoming the 'bad guy' as Megamind did.

Even when he believed he had killed Megamind, Hal wasn't upset. He seemed almost proud of himself for killing somebody, and was rightly ready to do Roxanne in too. Hal liked being the bully here, I can see that. No doubt all his life he was the one being put down, given wedgies (indicated in the training montage), swirlies, and who knows how many other horrid things by kids his age and or older. Maybe even younger. But the thrill out of this, for him, was that nobody could stop him. All these little people would be under his rule, and he would get even for all the women who spurned him, and for Megamind who lied and deceived him. All that is done away with when 'Metro Man' appears, for here is somebody that Hal knows can beat him, and probably quite easily. It wasn't that he was sorry for what he had done by then, he just didn't want to get hurt.
(no subject) - cgaussie - Jan. 18th, 2011 11:49 am (UTC) - Expand
Hoooooooooooooooooo. - threequarterfox - Jan. 18th, 2011 12:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 18th, 2011 12:18 pm (UTC)
mmm... I get the idea that Hal wasn't looking for friendship from Roxanne though. As in any friendly comments she made he would have re-interpreted for himself. She probably did try to befriend him a little, that's what started his "Nice Guy" infatuation craze in the first place.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 18th, 2011 02:04 pm (UTC)

I feel like this was a much-needed post. I don't have the time at all to actually contribute to the discussion, but I'm so glad someone's taken up the Hal banner and brought him to light like this. I do, absolutely, see the torment on his face even up to the very end, and it would be nice to see his character (especially his past) explored.

Anyway, yeah, you rock.
Jan. 18th, 2011 02:17 pm (UTC)
"Cool story bro" moments aside, Hal is an effective villain because he's so utterly, pathetically, painfully human. I also don't believe he starts out with bad intentions. In fact, he assumes, as Megamind does, that his life will change for the better because of his newfound powers/looks; Roxanne will love him because he's Metroman-esque, etc. When that doesn't happen, it drudges up the embittered part of his personality that has always laid simmering below the surface, at which point, he realizes that he has no interest in being a hero. Still, Hal's wants and needs are very human - unlike those of Metroman and Megamind, whose respective intentions are much loftier. Hal is off-putting because he's recognizable.

In reality, Hal/Tighten isn't all that different from any other character Jonah Hill has played (with the possible exception of Cyrus, who is an even creepier illustration of the Nice Guy complex); it's just that he's always remained a protagonist or goofy sidekick, which has allowed him to remain loveable, albeit almost completely emasculated. I found it fascinating that "MM" subverted the trope a bit.
Jan. 18th, 2011 03:17 pm (UTC)
What I thought was interesting it wasn't the fact that Megamind was Spacedad that really got him riled up. It was Megamind bragging about how he was kissing Roxanne. Once Megamind figured that was Hal's berserk button, he kept pressing it and pressing. It has a bit of a parallel with DHSAB. DHSAB, of course, doesn't limit itself because it's not a kid's movie. Captain Hammer slings an arm over Billy's shoulder, a guy who can barely tolerate human contact, and proceeds to tell him that he intends to have sex with Penny "just because you want her. And I get what you want."

Hal was content to just hide out in his man cave with his small collect of loot, playing games. Megamind pushed him into rage simply by finding an already pushed berserk button and pushing him beyond that. There's only so far a person can be pushed before the last little thing shoves them over into rage.
Jan. 18th, 2011 08:34 pm (UTC)
Oh Ooooh yes I so agree with you about Dr Horrible. "I get what you want" is pretty much a good motivation to change the status quo once and for all, and end this last nuisance.

At least in Megamind he successfully saves The Girl. Sigh.
(no subject) - bacon_fiend - Jan. 18th, 2011 11:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - threequarterfox - Jan. 19th, 2011 02:42 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 19th, 2011 12:13 am (UTC)
It's funny that these posts cropped up recently because I was JUST actually thinking a lot about Hal like, for the past few days.

I don't hate Hal. I don't necessarily like him either, but he is a fascinating character. :3

He was definitely Very Real and Very Creepy. I have dealt with many a Hal. I went to an art school that was full of the kinds of guys who had the mindset of "Oh she was polite to/smiled at me, that must mean that we're boyfriend and girlfriend now."

And while I've only had to deal with one overly creepy guy, Hal reminded me of that stereotype. I feel like one of the reasons he became so obsessed with Roxanne, besides the fact that he was her cameraman, was because she was nice to him. She smiles at him when he's being silly and he tried SO HARD. He just didn't realize that the problem wasn't his lack of powers, or anything, she just wasn't interested in him like that.

Hal is also like, not only that Every Guy, he's also Human Nature.

You know, if Megamind had gone in as Space Dad to pep talk him, I'll bet Hal would have gone back to the hero thing and may have become a slightly better person. XD

I did feel bad for him, seeing his face in the window at the restaurant (And then really creeped out because the way he floats away is so creepy) but you know. You have to give him character kudos for him NOT busting in there and trying to beat the shit out of "Bernard".

Also, his face when Roxanne runs from him, that broke me too. When he kicks the bus at her, I don't think he's really even realizing what he's doing. If he had actually managed to kill Roxanne, I think he would have broken down and cried.

XD I lost my train of thought, so I'll just sum up that a) you make very good points and b) Hal isn't a monster. He's a poor geeky little kid that really really liked a girl, got super powers which he thought would make girl finally like him back, girl doesn't want him, he is upset, Megamind pushes on buttons out of his own upset and embarrassment, and Hal just snaps. It's a gradual progression. He was trying really hard, and just failed and then Human Nature kicked in and he got pissed, enraged, jealous, murderous (probably only happened because he got powers. little geek Hal wouldn't have ever thought of pounding Megamind into the ground or smooshing Roxanne with Metro City Tower.)

But yeah. so. I agree with you. :) Hal isn't a monster. He's just very much a human being who makes really poor choices. XD
Jan. 19th, 2011 12:55 am (UTC)
I also really love how you stick up for Hal. I didn't think about him a lot after the movie, I was kinda stuck on Megamind, but you make some REALLY good points and I have respect for everything you say. I felt so sorry for Hal in the beginning, because I know someone like him. Nice, but kinda creepy, and you wouldn't mind being friends with him, but he's not satisfied with that...and you wanna let him down easy, but it breaks his heart and you can't help but to feel like a terrible person and aaaahhhhh....FAILTOWN all around.

I was thinking about this a while back, though, and I thought that Megamind had a specified role as EVIL and Metro Man had a specified role as GOOD and they fit into the plot really well together. But then there's Hal, who's just a normal guy that people don't take seriously. He's just kind of in that gray area that makes you look right over his head at first, and he does deserve more than that.

Roxanne could've been gentler with him, like, maybe until she was off the roof and her life wasn't in his hands? That was pretty stupid, I mean, doesn't she watch TV? But then the whole, "There will NEVER be an US!" (sorry if I'm mis-quoting) which was pretty harsh. That would've hurt anyone and I couldn't help but to feel sorry for him. Then when he does turn evil, he's even worse than Megamind was at first. He's REALLY evil, but he feels genuinely justified in it. He's kind of just a powerdrunk teenager, which is never a good thing...I don't know if he IS a teenager, that's just how he struck me ahaha. Maybe twenties? But definitely younger than Roxanne, I think.

The entire movie makes me think that maybe there IS NO good and evil; there is only perspective. Maybe that was the point they were trying to make? There are no specified roles at all. It all depends on how you look at things. Sorry if anyone's already said any of this...I didn't read through all the previous comments 'cause of tons of homework...so disregard if I'm repeating anyone ahaha.
Jan. 19th, 2011 02:47 am (UTC)
"There IS NO good and evil;"
I don't think anyone has questioned good and evil in this delicious collection of rants before now. And you're right. I mean, from the start, Megamind was not out to kill people. He was damaging the city, but really it took fighting Tighten for him to realise what evil really was, and to fight against it. And even THAT definition of evil can be questioned, as people have been doing here.

Hal was a product of his upbringing, everyone has decided this (and given proof, such as the "it doesn't hurt" wedgie comment and his obvious lack of funds) and the other characters appear to be products of their upbring also. They define good and evil, and what they do in the world, by their own values, and everyone is defining good and evil in their own way. Or that's how I see it.

Then again, I'm being what Megamind would object to, and judging people by their actions here... [grin]
Jan. 19th, 2011 04:12 am (UTC)
I have a hard time finding much sympathy for Hal, because I've known way too many people like him in real life. Hanging around in comic circles and D&D games gave me lots of experience with his type of character...

*Everyone* has experienced rejection and unrequited love. The difference between most people and people like Hal is that instead of turning it inward and blaming themselves, they turn it outward and blame others. They hit on women who are way out of their league (because all nerds think they deserve a perfect supermodel), and when she turns him down, no matter how nice and polite and gentle she is, he convinces himself that she's a nasty bitch. In his mind, all women are evil whores who sneer at poor sweet "nice guys" like him.

As a character in a movie, this is okay...in real life, not so much. In real life, the worst cases end up gunning down Amish schoolgirls or murdering toddlers in a daycare in an attempt to "punish" women. (Yes, those things actually happened.)

Lots of people are lonely. Lots of people get rejected. Lots of people love someone who doesn't love them back. Lots of people feel like crap about themselves. It doesn't give anyone the excuse to slaughter people.
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