Despicable Me 2
You would never think that an anti-villain would be the kind of main focus in an animated-children’s movie. But for something like Gru in Despicable Me, he is actually a very fun character to follow. He’s not the kind of villain who will kidnap somebody for money. In fact, I’m not even sure if he’s ever done anything for cash. He takes the job of a bad guy, just so he can have the reputation of one. It’s nothing personal, he’s just having fun with it. Like Snidely Whiplash in the Dudley Do-Right cartoons, Gru is more or less playing a game of cowboys & Indians against the world.
In the first film, Gru was trying to become the greatest villain by steeling the moon. In his planning, he adopts three girls to use in his mission. He eventually grows to love them as his own and he learns about becoming a loving father. I really liked the first Despicable Me. It was very funny, the characters were lovable, and the animation really bloomed with bright colors as our world got some new cartoons that are now in the ranks of Yogi Bear and The Flintstones. It certainly made a lot of money, so it came no surprise when Universal Pictures wanted a sequel. Cut to now when we get to see these people again in Despicable Me 2.
Sometime after the first movie (it has to not be too long, as the Gru’s girls have not aged), Gru (played by Steve Carell) has settled in to his role as a stay at home dad, He’s not even a villain anymore. By reusing his old lab equipment, his assistant Dr. Nefario (played by Russell Brand), and his large group of minions (the same crazy yellow creatures from the first movie), he is trying to go into a new business of making jams and jellies.
After celebrating his youngest child’s birthday, he is taken by agent Lucy Wilde (played by Kristien Wiig) to a submarine that is the home of the AVL (Anti-Villain League). Given Gru’s previous experience from trying to steel the moon, they ask him to help catch another villain who has adducted some top-secret potion that turns living things into indestructible killing machines. Though reluctant at first, he later changes his mind when he sees that his first set of jellies are awful. Gru and Lucy work together and even develop a possible romance as they go after this unknown villain who may also be taking some of the minions.
I was certainly nervous for this movie as the original Despicable Me was creative, fun, and even heartwarming. I really assumed that they might have pulled their best trick out of hat too soon. But that is certainly not the case here. Gru may have evolved into a father, but he is still the same lovable grump. By bringing Lucy into his life, he is now confronted with another dilemma…romance. Lucy might as well be the perfect woman for him, as she is very ditzy, yet committed to her profession of a spy. Kristien Wiig has hit another home run in her comedy.
I will say that Despicable Me 2 uses the minions much more. If you didn’t like them in the first movie, it’s likely that their not going to persuade you here either. I happen to think that they are a very funny bunch of creatures, pulling off some very funny physical comedy. The only thing that seems to missing is the same heartwarming feelings from the first movie. The romance and the kids are cute, but just not as fresh as the first one. Would I like to see Gru and his girls again? Maybe.
I’ll give this four freeze ray guns out of five. This is a nice family film that makes for a good double feature to see after Monsters University. For the adults, I implore you to give this movie a chance. Even the surliest of grinches can find something to like about Despicable Me 2.