Editor’s Note: Since there have been so many genre films being released lately, we thought we’d give you a double dose today. Enjoy both reviews!
Despicable Me 2 is the sequel to the hilarious Despicable Me from 2010. Steve Carrell reprises his role as the former super villain, Gru, and the lovable and wacky minions play a larger role this time.
Gru has just settled into the routine of caring for his three adopted daughters when he is approached by Lucy (played by Kristen Wiig) about helping the Anti-Villain League. Gru initially refuses, only to recant and accept when he finds out his new career of selling bottled jellies isn’t working so well.
Gru is sent undercover to the local shopping mall, where AVL agents have found traces of PX-41, a nefarious substance which changes any living creature into an unstoppable purple killing machine. After his oldest daughter, Margo, is charmed by the son of the owner of Salsa y Salsa, a Mexican restaurant (and because Gru suspects the owner of the restaurant is the super villain El Macho, who is thought to be dead), Gru makes it his mission to take down the restaurant and its owner.
The animation in this series continues to be excellent. While the character designs are not all that realistic (which is fine; I actually really like the character designs in this series), the animation work itself is top-notch. The details put into hair and fur, as well as the textures of various objects, continues to amaze me. The animators at Illumination Entertainment definitely know how to use their tools.
The plot ran quite smoothly, as well. The main story, in addition to a couple subplots involving Margo’s coming of age and Gru falling in love, worked well with the main plot and never slowed it down. The minions continued to be interesting characters, and the musical number they do near the end of the film was hilarious (especially if you’re familiar with the original song).
The only thing missing from the film was what really made the first film stand out: Gru having second thoughts as a super villain. In this one, he is an excellent father and is determined to make an honest living. While this film was still excellent, the lack of inner conflict made it not quite as good as the first.
Despicable Me 2 was a worthy sequel to the first film, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It had me (and the audience I was in) laughing out loud multiple times all through the film. I hope the all-minion spinoff film in December 2014 is able to keep that spark of originality without giving us too much of a good thing. Despicable Me 2 is definitely worth your time and worth adding to your collection.
Release Date: July 3, 2013 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Language: 1 (very mild stuff like “sheep’s butt”)
Violence: 2 (some spy-fi violence, slapstick violence, el pollo loco)