Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Film Review: Despicable Me 2

"Duuuude, I am so stoned right now"

Released in 2010, Despicable Me was something of a surprise success when it roared through the box-office and raked in $540 million. The villainous antics of 'evil mastermind' Gru and his three adoptive kids Margo, Edith and Agnes resonated with kids and adults alike. As a result, a sequel was near-enough inevitable and here it is; Despicable Me 2.

I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't the biggest fan of the original Despicable Me; the offbeat humour was a little bit too childish for my liking and it didn't have the depth that Dreamworks and Pixar films do. Whilst it was good fun, there wasn't much else below the surface to work with.

The same can kind of said for Despicable Me 2. Whilst the second edition of this popular franchise was a lot more enjoyable and entertaining than the first, I found that some elements of the film were too centred around things only kids find funny (like fart jokes etc:). I also found that it still lacks that key message or heart that makes any kids animation film a classic.

The premise is a solid one; Gru (Steve Carell) is contacted by the AVL (Anti-Villain League) to catch a super villain with unknown motives. What follows is 90 minutes of slick, colourful and wacky 'spy antics' inter-spaced with family issues and two blossoming romances. As a children;'s film, there are lots of tangents that see the central narrative fade into the background in favour of silly skits and sight gags. This isn't a problem as kid's won't care so long as it is funny.

"You've got something on your face - just there"
Good thing that Despicable Me 2 is very funny then. Like I said, I wrote the first film off as being too silly but this second film won me over a little bit more. I wouldn't say that it's as good as Pixar's latest effort Monsters University (or even Dreamwork's The Croods) but I had a good time despite being sober.

I did like that the film threw in some clever jokes that only older teens or adults would get - a shark crash lands in a sushi bar to whoops and cheers and Gru gets all 'protective dad' over Margo's boyfriend. These jokes that appeal to all ages manage to counterbalance the sometimes overly childish fart jokes that are thrown in; adults will enjoy Despicable Me 2 so long as they understand this is mostly all about the kids. 

With an all-star cast (Steve Carell, Miranda Cosgrove, Kristen Wiig, Steve Coogan), Despicable Me 2 certainly boasts an impressive array or voice talent. It is hard to fault Steve Carell's voice acting as the loveable lead Gru; his accent (I'm sure it's supposed to be Russian, but I can't be sure) is very endearing and entertaining. Likewise, Kristen Wiig is good as Lucy, the agent Gru is partnered with  on his spy adventure.

Once again, the trio of kids that Gru fathers are likeable and entertaining (let's be honest though, we all love Agnes the most) but the real stars of the show are the wacky yellow 'minions'. For me, the minions are funny but only in small doses, which is why they start to grate a little across a whole 98 minute movie. At the end of the day however, kids will lap it up and that's why this film is golden for the summer holidays.

On the whole, Despicable Me 2 was a solid sequel which kids will have no trouble understanding. For anyone over the age of 16, it might have felt a little too silly or generic but so long as you don't go in expecting something as clever and heartfelt as Toy Story or How To Train Your Dragon, you'll have a good time.

I give Despicable Me 2: 5/10


  1. Solid review. However, there is another point that rubbed me. I found that the entire film essentially reasserted the traditional family unit. Somehow hollywood could not afford to have a single dad, and kept stressing that the lack of a female was bad for children, thus reinforcing traditional gender roles. Ie, woman = good with children, man = not as good with children and/or domestic tasks

    1. Ahh, nice call, I didn't pick up on that. Now I think about it, that was the case in this film. I wonder if they realised that as they were writing the film. Thanks for commenting!



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