‘Despicable Me 2′ Review

Published 1 year ago by , Updated August 30th, 2014 at 1:30 am,

despicable me 2 review Despicable Me 2 Review

In Despicable Me 2, we see that former super-villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) has settled into the routine of fatherhood, which includes throwing princess-themed parties for his three adopted daughters – Agnes (Elsie Fisher), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) – and having Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) and Gru’s army of Minions spend their time making a new brand of jam, rather than weapons or gadgets for nefarious purposes.

Gru winds up being kidnapped by Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig), who is an agent for the Anti-Villain League: a secret global organization that specializes in stopping master criminals who are bent on world domination, as presided over by the snooty Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan). At first, Gru refuses their request to help track down a mysterious figure who is responsible for stealing a dangerous mutating chemical compound (by using a giant magnet). Old habits die hard, though, and soon Gru’s back in the game – only this time, he’s saving the world.

despicable me 2 gru daughters Despicable Me 2 Review

Gru and his daughters in ‘Despicable Me 2′

As suggested by the film’s Minion-centric trailers, Despicable Me 2 unfolds as part sequel to the original 3D animated hit Despicable Me, part extended prologue to the Minions spinoff arriving in theaters next year. The final result is a sequel that lacks the clever storyline – an examination of the line between villains and do-gooders from a different perspective – and has a weaker emotional core than its predecessor, but keeps all the inspired lunacy and cartoonish energy cranked up to the same level. Overall, though, there is enough heart and humor included to make the movie a breezy and charming viewing experience.

Despicable Me 2 was developed by the same team of people that collaborated on the first movie, which includes co-writers Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul along with co-directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud (everyone but Coffin also worked on The Lorax). This film allows those creative minds – who reside at Illumination Entertainment – to continue and position themselves as the modern equivalent of Chuck Jones, with their brand of Looney Tunes-esque satirical jokes, expressive slapstick and vibrant animation that makes proper use of cartoon physics and logic. That lets Despicable Me 2 appeal as much to adults as younger moviegoers, even though the sequel is (as a whole) geared more towards kids in the audience than the first movie.

despicable me 2 lucy wiig Despicable Me 2 Review

Kristen Wiig as Agent Lucy Wilde in ‘Despicable Me 2′

Script-wise, Daurio and Paul fail to provide Gru with a character arc that’s equally-touching as his personal journey from self-involvement to paternal nurturing in the first movie. Nevertheless, there is some fun to be had watching Gru in the sequel, as he navigate the treacherous waters of single fatherhood (which requires him to jump back into the dating pool and ward off unreciprocated interest from available suburban moms). Carell, as in the first Despicable Me, proves to be an excellent match for the voice-acting medium, with his amusingly undefined accent and lively vocal mannerisms as Gru.

In the film, Agnes and Margo once again represent different parenting challenges for Gru – Agnes unknowingly yearns for a maternal presence in her life, while the budding adolescent Margo has formed an interest in the opposite sex – and the results are touching and funny in equal measure; unfortunately, though, tomboyish Edith doesn’t have much to do. Meanwhile, Kristen Wiig voiced Miss Hattie in the first Despicable Me, but in the sequel the role of Agent Wilde proves to be a better match for her sense of anxious comedic timing. Indeed, Wiig’s vocal quirks are synced perfectly with her animated counterpart’s on-screen action and help make the flirtations between Gru and Lucy enjoyable to watch.

despicable me 2 eduardo gru Despicable Me 2 Review

Eduardo (Benjamin Bratt) and Gru (Steve Carell) in ‘Despicable Me 2′

Notable voice additions in the sequel include Coogan as the chinless Ramsbottom, Benjamin Bratt as the macho Mexican restaurant owner Eduardo Perez, and Moisés Arias as Eduardo’s hipster son, Antonio. Their vocal tendencies are a solid fit for the stylized and caricature-like physical designs of their respective cartoon alter-egos, but the same cannot be said for Ken Jeong in a minor role as the peculiar wig store owner named Floyd Eagle-san. (Jeong, for the record, also voiced a talk show host in the first movie; his character in the sequel is perhaps even less memorable.)

Of course, there’s no way to properly talk about Despicable Me 2 without touching on the expanded role that the Minions play in the film’s madcap proceedings. The diminutive yellow critters may have their own (semi-)indecipherable language, but their brand of humor is essentially a throwback to silent film comedy, between the over-the-top physical gags, pantomime-style bits, frequent costume changes, and even a Minion fantasy sequence. Problem is, so much of the sequel is devoted to concocting scenarios where the Minions riff on and lampoon just about every social and/or pop cultural trend you can imagine (often to very funny effect), it makes the main storyline and character sub-plots feel like an afterthought at times.

despicable me 2 minions gru Despicable Me 2 Review

Gru and the Minions in ‘Despicable Me 2′

Despicable Me 2, in other words, suffers because the filmmakers seemingly went too far by over-emphasizing the side elements that audiences loved about the first movie. Fortunately, unlike when, say, Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow was upgraded to a larger role in the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, the Minions have yet to be watered down to the point where they lose the idiosyncratic spark that made them memorable in the first place (there’s even an in-joke about that, with regard to the disgusting jam mass-produced by the Minions). That’s good to know, considering what lies ahead in the future of the Despicable Me franchise (as teased in the film’s mid-credits scene).

Similarly, there’s enough inventiveness present in the film’s visual design and use of the 3D computer-animation medium to elevate Despicable Me 2 far enough so that the film manages to overcome shortcomings in its basic storytelling approach. Those who adore the Minions – and want to spend more time having some light-hearted fun in the zany Despicable Me universe – should get what they are looking for in the sequel (which, if you enjoyed the first movie’s usage of 3D, is worth the higher ticket price for a 3D screening).

If you’re still undecided, then check out the trailer for Despicable Me 2:

517717825 c 620 439 Despicable Me 2 Review

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Despicable Me 2 is 98 minutes long and Rated PG for rude humor and mild action. Now playing in theaters.

Our Rating:

3 out of 5
(Good)

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TAGS: despicable me, despicable me 2

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  1. That was one of my few gripes with Lorax. They bears were shoved in everyone’s face for cuteness and comedic relief, it got old within 5 minutes.

    • *The

  2. So my feelings on this film are definitely leaning towards “rental” then since that’s two reviews now that have said that this film is funnier than the original thanks to the minions being increased in screen time due to popular demand.

    I saw the first one for the first time ever a few weeks ago and didn’t think it was that good so hopefully this one works for me.

  3. Minions FTW!!!! Everybody should love them. I can’t get enough of them. They are so stupid and cute. Makes me laugh every time. lol xD

  4. This was supposed to be a kids movie, but there is a troubling amount of gun violence in it. I don’t care if they what they shoot is jelly goo, such noises should not be heard in a kids movie. There were cries and screams from younger ones in the audience. At times, way too noisy. I am wondering if these people have lost touch with reality and can’t tell what is appropriate anymore, or if they willingly want to brainwash kids into thinking that violence is how you solve life’s issues.

    • Ahh, one of THOSE types of parent then huh? Commendable in a way. Although I have to let you know that I had a few friends with parents who never let them play with toy guns and watch stuff with gunplay in them and they grew up watching videos on websites that showed suicides and murders. One even showed me a beheading a decade ago for a laugh without telling me in advance what I was watching.

      Just saying, don’t be too tight with the apron strings as far as violence or they’ll seek it out later. It’s best if they know from an early age that it’s wrong but without it being taken away from them in the form of banning animated stuff and constant reinforcement that violence is evil.

      Sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, I just don’t like the thought of people being stopped from doing something and then becoming what their parents feared because of it.

      • Human nature…. nothing more tempting than the forbidden fruit.

        Educate, not isolate.

    • I am a bleeding heart liberal but I totally didn’t get the gun violence vibe. There wasn’t a bullet in the film.

  5. Well, UK box office figures are in and guess what?

    Despicable Me 2′s opening weekend box office is £3.6million more than Man Of Steel’s opening weekend box office takings.

    That’s pretty good and if more territories react that way then a third movie should be greenlit any minute now.

  6. Wasn’t Al Pacino supposed to be in it originally? Where the heck did he go?

    • Thought the same thing.

    • I saw this in a preview weekend and Al Pacino’s name appeared in the credits. Apparently he was replaced 6 weeks before the film opened citing creative differences

  7. It was a good movie, but the increased screentime for the minions was to much for me, they get their movie next you… this film was more about minions than gru. The films succeeded when gru interacts with the girls. I felt the heart was gone for this film

  8. Saw it here in the UK last Sunday and was a bit disappointed. It’s nowhere near as good as the original.

    Agree with Trey, the lack of involvement with the girls really hurts the movie. Yes everyone was talking about the minions after the 1st one but all your quotes and references comes from the girls, mainly Agnes.

    The number of “It’s so fluffy” ring tones and text alerts are testament to that.

    The plot is thin and doesn’t really hold the attention in between minons slapstick.

    It’s still very watchable but I had a case of the what if’s as there is much more scope than was shown

    3*

  9. I thought the movie is entertaining and fun. Jeese. I enjoyed it. My six year old loved it (who by the way the movie is actually made for). I mean come on guys. WTF? God forbid studios to make movies for more than one demographic. I don’t want a movie/film to do anything else but entertain me. And this movie entertains. You guys (including the “reviewer”) take yourselves wayyyyy too seriously. It’s a MOVIE, not a potential cure for cancer. WOW!

    • *was entertaining and fun.

  10. If they were more interested in the minions they should have thought of making a minions film in the first place. This movie sucks, I don’t know about other countries, but for instance in Mexico they hired “TV stars and a singer” to dub the film. The studio didn’t employ professional dubbing actors which kills the story entirely. That’s when I knew the story was flat and the studio tried to cover the fiasco by hiring “important people”. Another good example was entangled.

  11. Have watched the movie… and all I can say is… the movie is not even near the original… Not much of focus to the main characters like Gru… They focused more on the minions (which they shoul’ve just made the title of the movie as Minions)… and they did a weak plot of the story like for instance Dr. Nefario became a villain helping El macho to convert the minions to become purple minions (evil one’s) then suddenly after a minute Dr. Nefario comes back and Helps Gru to change the purple minions (evil one’s) back to its normal state by giving the antidote… Which confused me in the end… Though the minions did really a good job in entertaining the people…

    • Woah there Spoily McPlotter. Some people might be a little upset at that comment.

  12. I laughed so hard during this movie I sounded like Muttley.

  13. saw it loved it a good movie to watch when you are feeling low or sick

  14. You guys might want to check into this because there is a synopsis for the Minions movie that involves Gru and have already casted Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm for the voices of the super villains.

    “Gru is recruited by an organization to stop Scarlet Overkill, a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world.”

  15. It’s not often that a hit animated film’s sequel surpasses the original film. Despicable Me 2 is one of those rare cases. From the moment it appears on the screen to the end of the film, Despicable Me 2 is a fast paced, fun film that never ceases to be entertaining.

    This film has you laughing quite often, contains humour that both kids and adults can appreciate, and had at least one moment that was worthy of clapping out loud to.

    The character development is to be praised, as is the warmth and soul that Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud put into this film.

    This film leaves you feeling joyful and satisfied and happy for the characters and the new direction their lives are taking.

    This film is not to be missed and I can’t recommend it enough.

    • Really? I hope someone is paying you to write this!

  16. Lucy= jar jar binks. I’m watching the first one now and having flashbacks of seeing 2 in the theater … If I had soft rotten peaches to throw at the screen! My 3 year old niece loved it but I could not control my disgust!

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