Despicable Me 2 Reviews
This time Gru (still voiced by Steve Carell) has given up his life of evil deeds (thereby negating the title) and opened his own business making jams and jellies. He's also a full-time dad. As the movie opens, he's suffering two hardships that every parent must eventually endure: First, the fairy princess that he hired won't show up for the kid's birthday party. Second, the oldest girl is beginning to take a healthy interest in boys.
Gru's kids, it can be happily reported, are only a sideline in this sequel. The main plot involves Gru being called upon by the Anti-Villain League to help to figure out why an Arctic Research Station was pulled off its foundation and has gone missing. Gru thinks that the villain might be the nefarious El Macho (voiced by Benjamin Bratt), a Mexican villain who is so tough that he once jumped out of the back of a plane while riding a shark strapped with dynamite. This has to be seen to be believed.
The plot is a lot of fun mainly because the writers have decided this time around to stick heavily to the gags and pull back on the emotional stuff. They've also given a lot room in the plot Gru's little yellow minions, whose babbling speech and funny dress-ups have become so popular that they are getting their own origin story called "Minions" next Christmas.
The minions are cute, but the most joyous element to "Despicable Me 2" is the presence of AVL agent Lucy Wilde, a high-energy, skinny redhead whose bright personality gives this movie its legs. Voiced by Kristen Wiig and looking a little big like Carol Burnett, Lucy is so much fun, she could have a movie of her own. Yes, a romance develops between she and Gru, but it there isn't a predictable straight-line to get there.
The movie has individual moments that not just amusing, but very funny and inventive. The best is a date that Gru is force on with a dimwitted neighbor. What comes of the date won't be spoiled here, sufficed to stay it is the stuff of great slapstick.
The sequel works better than the original simply because the energy level has been cranked up. Animated comedies these days lose their comic fortitude by getting too sappy and dreary. This has been the downfall of "Megamind," "ParaNorman," and the Ice Age sequels; all of which got so emotional that they forgot the laughs. "Despicable Me 2" never loses its comic zeal. Even the love story has a certain momentum. Let's put it this way: A meet-cute here involves Lucy trying to stuff an unconscious Gru into her trunk. This is funny stuff.
With the talented cast returning with a few new additions, Despicable Me 2 builds significantly from its predecessor.
EDIT: Now that I've seen the darn thing, my opinion has only lowered. While the minions proved to be dependable, everything else is far inferior to the original. The humor and pathos is gone, replaced by slight sexism and racism. Although that said, I did like Lucy quite a bit, finding her to have a good design and voice acting, as well as finding El Macho to be the best part of the movie (that death scene. So much the kewl. Tres wow.).
My former opinion still stands, however. Was it so wrong to have a single-father family?
Long live the nuclear dream.
After the events of "Despicable Me", Gru is now learning how to be a good father. Eventually he is contacted by the "Anti Villain League" in order to stop an unknown enemy who threatens the safety of the world.
With some much room for improvement, you will think that Illumination would try to correct the mistakes of their feature length debut but unfortunately (thanks to the pop culture) they decided to go the other way and not only repeat those mistakes but make them bigger. "Despicable Me 2" has cliché and predictable premise, the colorful world is so overstuffed, the new characters are nothing more than one dimensional cartons who lack a good design, it lacks style as it only tries too hard to recapture what made its predecessor a hit, the decision of giving the minions more screen time and ultimately making the whole story about them is just absurd and a blatantly desperate move from the studio, a forgettable villain, it lacks any emotional impact (at least the last film had that "Gru needs to connect with these girls" storyline, here is just a laughable love story and a throwaway "arc" for two of the girls), the Looney Toons comedy is taken to a point of becoming embarrassing, it also only targets the younger audience and leaves nothing for adults, the entertaining value is extraordinarily weak, and this sequel doesn't even try to make a dramatic story, it is only an over the top slapstick comedy that won't stop throwing minion humor every 5 minutes (I get it, minions are cute but please, they are so unnecessarily overused).
"Despicable Me 2" is another forgettable animated sequel. It embraces the flaws of its predecessor and makes them bigger in addition of a never-ending minion humor, this is ultimately a movie about them, Gru and the three likeable girls are lost along the way. If you liked the last film, you will undeniably love this sequel but if you though "Despicable Me" was an average animated film (like I did) then you should be warned that this sequel is inferior.