After the huge success of Despicable Me, both box office and content, I was so excited to see the second one. I watched it less than 24 hours after I’d seen the first so my review is probably a little biased as I was still riding high after the first one (note the over-use of ‘perfect’ and ‘flawless’).
As with any sequel it’s best not to have high expectations. It’s kind of film law. The second film is a direct continuation of the first, Gru is happily playing dad to his three adorable girls, but he gets sucked back into the world of villainy by acting as an undercover agent for the AVL (Anti-Villain League) by Silas Ramsbottom (hehehehe…BOTTOM!) and love interest Lucy Wilde. They need to find out whole stole a powerful mutagen known as PX-41 which turns living creatures into aggressive monsters. Alongside all this the girls are growing up, Margo takes an interest in a boy and Agnes pesters Gru to settle down so she can have a mum.
So is Despicable Me 2 as good as the first one? No. But only just falling short in the smallest, pettiest way. I don’t think the plot of Despicable Me 2 is as good as the first one, it’s a bit all over the place, but not in a ‘this doesn’t make any sense’ kind of way, more of a ‘this could be a lot tighter’ kind of way, and that’s my only real criticism. There is a lot going on in the story, but it does all eventually come full circle, there aren’t any loose ends or plotholes, everything comes together nicely in a pretty good musical finale, it’s just that there is a lot of it.
The casting once again is superb. Steve Carrell excels as Gru, bringing the right amount of comedy, but the real star I think is Kristen Wiig as Lucy. She has such a good comical voice, and it means the Lucy isn’t just another ‘woman on screen to fill the quota’. Lucy’s character is primarily though, there as Gru’s love interest, and actually you do end up wanting them to get together. Their relationship develops in a really lovely innocent way, and their finale (wont spoil it) is really good. Not cheesy, and overly romantic, but really fits in with the tone of the film.
There is more screen time for the minions which, I think I speak for the world when I say that is what audiences wanted. They are sillier and funnier than the first movie. They’ve managed to make a kids film which is suitable for all ages, without having to have ‘adult private jokes’. Their humour, primarily comes from their high-pitched nonsense language has its roots in early slapstick cinema, Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin type humour, and it’s lovely to see this in modern cinema, particularly in films for children.
Despicable Me 2 is absolutely brilliant if a little scattered, and with a minions spin-off prequel and a third instalment in the pipeline, I’m really looking forward to what Universal will bring us next! I hope they are made with the respect that they deserve, and not made too complex, it has a ‘episodic’ quality to it, so a brand new story will work better than a continuation. I whole heartedly recommend the Despicable Me franchise, it’s one of my favourite animations in recent years.