After reading so many movie reviews that simply wrote Roxanne off as a "Lois Lane ripoff" and giving no further input on her character, I decided to write an essay exploring just how much character Roxanne had, using scenes from the movie to back me up. As I was compiling my evidence, though, I soon discovered just how MUCH of the movie I'd need to reference to make my case, and thus changed tactics.
What was originally a straight character study essay became a retelling of the film itself from Roxanne's point of view, inserting her thoughts into each scene to illustrate precisely how her character progressed throughout the story and what her driving motivations must have been. Therefore, I now present... Roxanne's side of the story.
Chapter 1: Destined for... what?
Here's my day so far: Got kidnapped, alienated most of my friends, and was nearly crushed by the same building twice. Things really couldn't get much worse.
Oh, that's right. I'm about to be pulverized by a superpowered madman. Guess they can...
How did it all come to this? My story starts at the beginning. The very-
No, actually, the very beginning is probably completely irrelevant to most of what's going on. I had a fairly standard childhood, and I mean that in the least facetious of terms. Went to school, got decent grades, and lived with my parents until I went off to college. I couldn't decide on a major my freshman year, but after joining friends in a number of extracurricular activities such as the student newspaper and the ham radio club, I finally decided to pursue a degree in journalism. It wasn't fate or destiny or anything, I simply chose a path that fit my interests. Like I said, standard. Normal.
Upon graduating college, I landed an internship at KMCP News, which really didn't involve much "journalism" and instead consisted mostly of clerical work. It was through this that I came to see a distinct pattern in the headlines plastered over the reports that graced my "to file" box.
"Metro Man vs. Megamind". "Metro Man Victorious". "Megamind Defeated Again". "Metro Man: Continuing Defender of Metro City". Metro Man wins, Megamind loses, lather, rinse, repeat. It seemed like this headline cycle should eventually get old, that the public would grow bored of it. It was predictable. Inevitable. Like running a top story of "Moon Fails to Strike Earth". That's a relief and all, but was there any expectation otherwise?
Life went on like this for longer than I care to admit. But I was fine with that, really. Metro Man always defeated Megamind, and that was a good thing. Maybe the repetitive headlines were just a way to remind people to count their blessings. I certainly did. I had a job - not necessarily the job I'd dreamed of when I graduated, but it allowed me an adequate living. A life I could live as I pleased thanks to the city's defender. A normal life.
I can point to the exact moment all of that changed. It started with my boss pointing at me and declaring, "Rachel, I need you!"
"Roxanne..." I corrected. He wasn't paying attention to me, and instead shoved a handheld camcorder into my hands, then pointed sternly at the building's exit.
"Megamind has disrupted all wireless communication in the city. The televisions, radios, cellphones, and wifi are all down, so we have no way to gather reports on Metro Man's or Megamind's whereabouts." He hurriedly pushed me towards the door, continuing, "We can't miss this story, so we need every eye we've got on the sky to make sure we've got something to show for it when we go back on the air!" It was telling that he said "when" we go back on the air. He knew as well as I did what the outcome of this would be even if none of it got on tape.
I was grateful for the opportunity, though. If I managed to be the one to snag some footage, it would finally get me some recognition at the station. My boss might even learn my name. With that incentive, I mulled over what I knew of the Metro Man/Megamind rivalry from the multitude of news reports that had crossed my hands and used that information to choose my location.
The steps of City Hall. Yeah, it was obvious and I'd probably have quite a bit of competition for space, but at least I'd have a good shot at getting-
Wait, no one? Really? Was City Hall too obvious or something and none of the other KMCP staff wanted to bother with it? Or was I barking up completely the wrong tree here? After seeing so much of the same, I figured I knew those two...
Boom. Not twenty feet in front of me, an impossibly-muscular white-clad man with even more impossibly perfect hair landed on the steps. From his hand dangled a much smaller person, blue-skinned in tight black leather. Metro Man and Megamind. I could recognize those two blindfolded, that's how often their images had graced my reports. Yet this was my first time seeing them in person.
I quickly fumbled with my camcorder and began filming just as Metro Man demanded, "All right, Megamind. You've lost, so tell me what you've done to the city's communications."
"Oh, have I lost?" sneered Megamind from his limply swaying position. "I believe there has been some miscommunication, considering you have yet to figure out my grand scheme with your feeble... meat-headed... mind," his head cocking and his lips curling further with each word. "Metrocity is mine so long as I control its airwaves."
"Well I don't think the populace will be very receptive to that," Metro Man taunted back. "Time to pull the plug on your operation."
"Your threats are all white noise to me," Megamind responded, waving his hands mockingly by his ears. Seriously, my battery was going to run out if they kept this up for much longer. Megamind examined the back of his hand confidently and added, "You will never discover how I managed to infect every communication device in the city with my eeeevil."
Metro Man balled his free fist in frustration and dramatically announced, "Curses, how far do your dark powers reach? To be able to tamper with every device in the city...!"
I pulled my eye from the viewfinder and blinked in confusion for a moment. Did he... honestly not know? I suppose that was the result of my being in ham radio in college, as my constant exposure to techies caused me to just take for granted that everyone knew this stuff. I honestly didn't know what course material was required for a BA in Superhero.
"He doesn't have to disable all the devices individually," I called over to them. "He just has to broadcast a strong enough signal on their carrier frequencies to disrupt their ability to communicate."
Metro Man looked over at me - directly at me, and I suddenly felt very small. Megamind flailed in his grip and shouted, "No, no, she's just a girl with a camera! What does she know? This plan involves tinkering, so much tinkering! Tiny wrenches and screws, inserting evil microchips into every person's tee-vee, radio, and phone!"
I shook my head. "No, he'd just need a large antenna. Something tall, metallic..."
"You stay out of this, strangely-educated random bystander!" Megamind demanded, pointing at me. However, neither Metro Man nor I were paying attention to him, both of us instead gazing at the same object.
"Metro Tower..." we said in unison. Metro Man narrowed his eyes as if in deep concentration, then announced, "I can't hear any static coming from Metro Tower."
"You see?" Megamind announced triumphantly. "Don't pay any attention to her and focus on the millions of evil microchips that I have..."
"Radio waves aren't sound, they're light," I interrupted.
Megamind threw his arms in the air. "Would you stop that?" He quickly shrugged his shoulders and added, "I mean, honestly, radio is something you listen to. How can it be light if you can't see it? That's just silly!" Megamind then lowered his eyebrows in a menacing glare and discreetly jabbed a black-gloved finger in my direction, subtly shaking his head.
"No, don't say it!"
"-the light is-"
I took a deep breath and finished in annoyance, "-at a wavelength invisible to the human eye."
Metro Man squinted back in the direction of Metro Tower as Megamind pleaded, "Don't listen to her, she's talking about invisible things now! Can you honestly-"
"I can see it!" Metro Man interrupted. "My Super Vision allows me to see beyond the spectrum normally visible to humans. There are red waves coming off Metro Tower's antenna!"
"How can they be red if they're invisibleeeee...!" Megamind yelled as he was carted away into the sky. I pulled out my cellphone and checked its signal, and not thirty seconds later, it was back to full bars.
Thus ended yet another Metro Man/Megamind confrontation on a generally predictable note. Though I felt a bit proud of myself that not only did I assist in Metro Man's latest victory, I had it recorded to boot. Maybe this would finally get me noticed at the station.
This ended up being a case of "careful what you wish for". Not only was the station manager thrilled about me landing an "interview" with both Metro Man and Megamind, he let me know that Metro Man had never been so forthcoming to the reporters before, and therefore I must have some sort of special gift. Suddenly my journalism degree was more than just a pretty piece of paper, and I was promoted to an on-camera position.
So overwhelmed with joy over my sudden good fortune, during my first real broadcast I couldn't help but give a nod to the man who made it possible: "I just wanted to give a heartfelt 'thank you' to Metro Man, defender of Metro City. You are an inspiration to us all, and our lives are infinitely better thanks to your guidance. You have a special place in the city's heart, and mine as well."
There were a few things wrong with this. One, which I didn't realize until I watched a later taping, was that I had been billed as "Roseanne Rich" in the segment's caption. I'd have to talk to my boss about that. Two, yeah, it was probably a bit presumptuous for a rookie to go into a personal speech her first day on the job. And three... Ohhhhhh, and three...
I only realized I'd been knocked unconscious when I slowly began to come to, only to realize that everything was still dark and smelled of... potatoes. The last thing I remembered was fumbling for my keys at the front door to my apartment complex. Had I... been assaulted? Mugged? Or worse...? Was I dead? Left in a dumpster? Was I bleeding anywhere? I tried to move, only to find my arms and legs were restrained. In a panic, I began to scream for help.
Suddenly, the potato-smelling sack was lifted from my head, and I found myself face-to-face with...
"Megamind?" I gasped in shock. Really, it was a shock. I'd filed hundreds of news stories on him, and I had never once run across one about him resorting to kidnapping or something as mundane as a mugging. He always went for the grand, flashy schemes that seemed more for the sake of drowning the city in his ego than actually hurting anyone. What did he want with me? I didn't even know the guy personally, but I just had the gut feeling that a personal assault of a non-Metro Man citizen simply wasn't his MO.
"Yes, scream, Miss Ritchi. Scream for your beloved Metro Mahn. I'm afraid no one will be coming to your rescue today," Megamind crooned, sticking his chin haughtily in the air.
For some reason, the thing that struck me the most about that statement was, "Wait... how did you know my name?"
"Ohhh, you thought you could be tricky, could you? Using a pseudonym for your broadcasts?" he accused, strangely pronouncing the "p". "You will have to do more than that to fool this criminal genius."
"Roxanne Ritchi..." came another voice behind me that gave me a jump. He had backup? None of the reports mentioned Megamind having a minion. I couldn't turn around to look, but I heard typing at a keyboard as the voice continued, "Age twenty-five, graduated with honors from Metro State University with a degree in journalism, chief editor of the Metro State Sentinel, member of the Broadcasting Club, and voted by her peers as 'Most likely to get abducted by an alien'."
"Hooray, I'm glad I didn't let them down," I cheered dryly. I was simultaneously flattered and appalled that the only person in the entire city who had taken the time to get to know me was the city's resident supervillain.
Megamind slowly wheeled his chair around me, looking me over intently. I was a little creeped out, but I noticed that his eyes lacked any predatory glint. His examination of me seemed more... curious in nature. Like he'd never seen a woman up close before or something. Still, I didn't appreciate his attentions and sighed, "Is there a reason you kidnapped me, or am I just here to be your new decoration?"
He snapped back to attention, seemingly shocked at himself that he'd even lost it. Lacing his fingers together, he intoned, "Er, yes. There is certainly a reason. An evil, sinister reason, the likes of which you cannot possibly comprehend!"
He pulled a giant lever, whose effect was apparently just to turn on a moderate-sized television screen in front of me. The screen fizzled for a moment, then a clip from my camcorder recording began playing. "My Super Vision allows me to see beyond the spectrum normally visible to humans," came Metro Man's low-quality audio voice from the aged television.
Megamind slapped his hand down on the top of the set, either turning it off or breaking it, I wasn't sure. "It appears that Metro Man trusts you with the secrets of his power." He glared at me and pointed menacingly, "You will tell me all you know. If you don't comply, I will torture it out of you."
"All I know?" I replied in exasperation. "'All I know' is what you just showed me on the screen! That's the first - and last - time I've ever spoken to him! KMCP sensationalized it, yes, I know! But believe me, I'm sure you know more about him than I do!"
"Lies!" he retorted hitting the TV again, which somehow caused it to flash back to life with video of my first professional broadcast.
"You have a special place in the city's heart, and mine as well," I heard my own voice say, though I glared flatly at the "Roseanne Rich" plastered under my face. Now that I saw it again, the whole thing was pretty ridiculous.
Megamind leaned heavily on the giant lever that controlled the television set, finally getting it to switch off, but not before the recording of my segment ended and was replaced by a few seconds of an episode of "Pinky and the Brain". He sauntered back in my direction with long, sweeping strides, hands lightly clasped behind his back. "You can deny it all you wish, Miss Ritchi, but the evidence clearly shows that there is more in play between the two of you than a mere chahnce meeting." He gripped the back of the chair I was tied to and leered in my face menacingly, accusing, "It is perfectly clear to me that you and Metro Man are..."
Are...? We sat staring at each other in silence for several seconds. I had no suitable word with which to complete that sentence, and from the look in his eyes, he didn't seem to know what term he was prompting me for, either.
"In love?" suggested the chipper voice from the shadows. I let out a snort, which caused Megamind to recoil backwards. In love? From just that? What sort of twisted opinion of love did these people have if they thought that-
Suddenly, the roof above us exploded, showering timber and insulation onto our heads. Metro Man descended into the lair, landing heavily enough to disturb the dust on the floor. Pulling himself up straight, he slowly surveyed the surroundings, cracking his knuckle into his palm. "Megamind... I'd never thought even you would resort to something as low as kidnapping a helpless woman."
Megamind jumped back and fumbled at the holster at his hip, drawing some kind of firearm and pointing it at my head. I recoiled as far as I could in my bound position, squeezing my eyes shut in fear. Megamind had only ever racked up lifetime prison sentences... he didn't kill people, he didn't kill people, I was going to be okay...
"Oh... come to rescue her, have you?" As an aside, Megamind harshly whispered to his minion, "How did he even find out about this?"
"You forget my Super Hearing," Metro Man announced to him, pointing at his ears. "And it was really quite simple. I wanted to thank Miss Rich for helping me the other day-"
"Ritchi," both Megamind and I corrected.
"- and found that she had apparently not returned home from work in a timely manner," he continued without pausing. "I feared Megamind may have been plotting some sort of sinister revenge, so I used my Super X-ray Vision to locate-"
"Ha HA!" Megamind interrupted. He turned back and shouted, "Minion, are you getting all this?"
"Super Hearing, Super X-ray Vision... logged and accounted-for in future plans, sir."
"Now hold on a sec..." Metro Man said, advancing forward, but Megamind pressed the barrel of his whatever-it-was harder into my temple, causing him to stop.
"Oh! The great Metro Maahn can't take one step so long as I have the lovely Miss Ritchi in my clutches, I see! Minion, are you logging this?" he shouted excitedly, turning around again.
"Weakness for Miss Ritchi... logged and accounted-for in future plans, sir." ... Why did I not like the sound of that?
However, when Megamind turned back around to face Metro Man, Metro Man was a whole lot closer than he'd been before. In fact, he was so close that Megamind was hoisted in the air by the front of his shirt, his strange-looking gun effortlessly knocked from his hand. Metro Man shook his head in disapproval, clicking his tongue and chastising, "I don't believe you... tormenting an innocent citizen like this just to get to me..."
"Um, supervillain?" Megamind reminded, pointing at himself. "It's part of the job description."
And once again, yet another encounter with Megamind ended on an ultimately predictable note, though all the papers and news programs the next day were plastered with images of Metro Man holding Megamind in one hand, me in the other. News quickly spread that I was Metro Man's love interest - news which only served to solidify Megamind's interest in me even more.
I was apparently destined to be the damsel in distress. The die had been cast, and thus began a lifelong career of kidnappings, rescues, and sensationalizing in the media.
And I soon grew sick of it.
The kidnappings quickly got more elaborate. Tie me to some railroad tracks here, dangle me from the muzzle of a rampaging mech there... the sets may have changed, but the plot was always essentially the same. The headlines were sometimes "Metro Man's Victory". Other times they were "Megamind's Defeat". But all the while, my role in the matter drew increasingly little coverage, aside from my new job description. One had the name Metro Man. The other Megamind. I was branded something a little more humble:
Roxanne Ritchi: KMCP News Anchor and Professional Damsel in Distress.