Despicable Me 2 Review
Seeing an Old Friend
In 2010, Universal introduced us to Gru, a super villain plotting to steal the moon. His plans got turned upside down when he was forced to become the father of three little girls. After turning over a new leaf, Gru has become an honest business man. In Despicable Me 2, all of your favorite characters are back to party and save the world. Gru, the girls, Dr. Nefario, and of course, the Minions. Only this time, it's up to Gru to stop an evil mastermind from spreading terror.
The AVL Needs Gru
Gru is now a straight-laced father who is trying to make it buy creating his own line of jams and jellies. He has gotten so far away from the path of evil that he is even dressing up a fairy princess for little Agnes' birthday party. But when a secret agent named, Lucy Wilde shows up and captures him, he is thrust back into the world of gadgets and villains. Lucy works for the AVL, the Anti-Villain League and they need Gru to find the man behind a new chemical that turns animals into indestructible monsters.
Gru wants no part of this initially and just wants to be a father. His normal routine leads to many laughs, especially when the girls, Margo, Edith, and Agnes, try to set Gru up with online dating. There are plenty of jokes at Gru's expense when it comes to the subject of dating and finding a girlfriend. As a matter of fact, the whole topic of finding love is a beautiful theme running under the riotous plot. Gru agrees to finally get back in the game and teams with Lucy to run a cupcake shop in a glorious mall full of potential suspects. Quickly they meet a man Gru believes to be an old super-villain thought to be dead.
Gru and Lucy explore the mall and constantly get into trouble. Anything that can go wrong with these two teaming up does go wrong. With Dr. Nefario leaving Gru to go do something more evil, he is all alone to face off against the new threat. All of this while trying to stop Margo from falling for a hip, young boy she meets in the mall. The subject of family and being a complete unit continues to push the story and adds a sweet payoff to many of the plot-lines.
These characters have never been funnier. Nearly every scene has a moment where you will be holding your sides from laughter. Gru and Lucy make from an awesome team as they are so opposite from one another. Every action they take seems to have a reverse impact on the other leading to knee-slapping physical comedy. Agnes continues to be the cutest and funniest little girl in animated films. Her moments are both heart-warming and hysterical. She's the perfect daughter to teach Gru the lessons he needs to be a normal person. Edith has ramped up a bit and become a ninja, in her own eyes. She has plenty of small moments of acting tough that will slay you. And Margo is growing up, perhaps too fast for Gru, and starting to notice boys more.
Minions, of course
What evil villain worth their salt doesn't have Minions? The Minions are back and even funnier. There is literally not a single scene they're involved in that doesn't end in laughter. They steal the movie at several times. They have a wonderful music video type scene singing and classic song that will make your jaws hurt. Also, seeing the Minions having an ice cream party is perhaps the best animated sequence of the year.
It even greater that the Minions actually factor into the plot heavily that allow them to not feel tacked on. One of my worries was that their popularity following the first film would mean they would be shoehorned in without influence. But that fear is quelled. The Minions serve a purpose to the overall story and have hysterical consequence.
Steve Carell returns as Gru once again. He embodies this characters and seems to get lost in voicing the ex-super-villain. He has subtle moments of delivery that are perfect for the comedic tone of the film. Kristen Wiig stars as Lucy and is great in the role. I'm not typically a fan of her work, but she has the right voice to match the eccentric Lucy Wilde. Miranda Cosgrove and Dana Gaier are good as Margo and Edith respectively. They are not the focus as much this time around and are fine for what's needed. Elsie Fisher is great once again as Agnes. Her voice fits the animated image of Agnes perfectly.
As for other characters, Russell Brand returns as Dr. Nefario and does fine in the little screen time the characters has. Benjamin Bratt vices Eduardo, the mall restaurant owner that Gru suspects is the evil mastermind. He brings a charm to the overweight and over-protective hispanic salsa creator. His character is fun and uniquely complex. He develops over the course of the film into a character you want to see fail to Gru.
The film looks great in 3D. Most animated films are where the device really shines, but like the first film, 3D adds to the experience. During the scene where Gru is forced to go on a date and when Gru and Lucy are racing through the mall at night shows off how much fun 3D can be.
The lush colors of the film stand out and shine as you are taken on this journey through the air, underwater, and even into the mouth of a raging volcano. The animation department out did themselves with some of the moments. The Minions ice cream party or the birthday party for Agnes all show off how in-depth they got with detail. Every frame is rendered with absolute beauty.
Be sure to stick around during the end credits for an additional 3D segment featuring the Minions that will have you reaching from your seat at bubbles and flies floating right in front of you.
Despicable Me 2 is a sequel that lives up to the original film. It lacks a certain bit of charm the original had, however, it doesn't trade that off for less laughs. The film still has heart-warming moments and these characters are still the ones we love. It's a 3D thrill-ride the entire family can enjoy. The kids will be rolling over laughing and even adults may find themselves struggling to hold in the chuckles at the Minions and Gru.
It's a summer film will all the excitement of a big blockbuster and the feel-good of a kids picture. Definitely worth going to see at the local cinema. Despicable Me 2 is an animated film for everyone and shows why you shouldn't overlook something just because it's a cartoon.