Despicable Me 2

despicable_me_two_ver7STARS4.5When we last saw Felonious Gru, former super-villain, he had adopted three adorable orphan girls: Margo, Edith, and Agnes.  They’ve formed their own surrogate family as he’s settled into a life of blissful domesticity.  However, when a secret laboratory somewhere near the Arctic Circle, is lifted and taken by a large flying magnet, The Anti-Villain League (AVL) calls Gru out of retirement so he may help solve the case by thinking like a criminal.  This is the basic outline of the tale, but Despicable Me 2 is a much more relaxed affair than its predecessor.  The storytelling isn’t centered on advancing plot but rather focused completely on earning laughs.  It’s almost Zen-like in its approach to humor.

The voice actors give the cast vigor pushing this from the enjoyable to the revelatory.  There’s a zippy exaggeration of their actions that make their performances even funnier.  Steve Carell is once again, compelling as the lead.  When Gru walks down the street with the confidence of a man in love, the musical interlude is as triumphant as John Travolta’s famous strut in Saturday Night Fever.  Kristen Wiig is back, but this time as Lucy Wilde, an AVL agent.  The actress’ real expressions and body movements can be seen in the animation.  Every raised eyebrow, awkward statement, and nervous gesture is there. Watching her behave is an absolute delight.  Her development from adversary to ally is bewitching.  It’s unusual that while she is competent, she’s not particularly beautiful, a rarity in a cartoon love interest.  The complete manifestation of the character is captivating.  The head of the AVL, Silas Sheepsbutt, oops I mean, Ramsbottom is played by Steve Coogan. (That was their joke, by the way)  He speaks with an affected sophistication.  Ken Jeong as a wig store proprietor and Benjamin Bratt as the owner of a Mexican restaurant, are possible suspects in Gru’s search.  They’re amusing editions that highlight great voice casting coupled with wonderful animation.

Where sequels often lazily retread Part 1, Despicable Me 2 aims higher.  Gru is now an entrepreneur with a new line of jams, tapped to aid in the capture of a mysterious evildoer.  In his personal life, he’s attempting to meet someone special.  The story unfolds with the focus of a gentle stroll and the production is the better for it.  The chronicle builds upon Gru’s character from the original as it explores the possibility of a girlfriend for him.  There’s a familiarity, a knowing sarcasm with the pitfalls of the dating world that infuses Gru’s journey.  This is especially true concerning Shannon, a gum-chewing blonde bimbo he goes on a date with.  She favors unnaturally orange tans and leopard print dresses.  You could say she comes across as a tad superficial.  “Your accent is so exotic,” she says in her Valley Girl patois.  “I know someone who can fix that for you.“

For all of Despicable Me 2’s speedy 98 minutes, it never ceases to be anything less than a snappy joy.  It is a gag-filled fun fest.  We hear a rumor that a past villain died while riding a shark into a volcano with 250 pounds of TNT strapped to his chest.  Then they proceed to show you what that might look like.  The atmosphere is steeped in the manic lunacy of animator Tex Avery’s MGM cartoons of the 40s and 50s.  This brings me to Gru’s minions which take on an even more pivotal role this time around.  Their nonsensical language is exploited for maximum giggles.  I can’t over-emphasize how wonderful they are here.  There’s a zaniness that children will adore, but there’s also an edge that adults will appreciate.

18 Responses to “Despicable Me 2”

  1. “It’s almost Zen-like in its approach to humor.”

    I love this line.

    You have me so excited for this one. I’m seeing Despicable Me 2 today.


  2. Good review Mark. I didn’t hate this flick, its just that it didn’t do much for me other than sort of bore me. Not to death, mind you. Just bored me to where I left and forgot about it right after.


    • Epic bored me as much as anything this year, animated or live action. This had too much energy, plus it was only 90 minutes. It just flew by. The minions had me rolling. Actually pretty much everyone had me rolling. 😀


  3. Glad you liked it Mark, I wish I could be as enthusiastic about it as you are. It is not bad at all but it is quite unimaginative and often boring.


    • It had one of the best debuts ever for an animated movie. I knew it would be popular, but I had no idea it would be that HUGE. Sorry you didn’t like it as much as everyone else.


  4. I agree with you about Epic, I found it to be horrible. I really like your take on Despicable Me 2. I just really wish I had liked the movie. I love the first one and had high expectations for the sequel due to its influx of positive reviews, I just struggled to see a coherent story or anything close to being despicable. I really wish I liked it though, I just didn’t. If you are interested here is the link to my review:


  5. Scott Hobin Says:

    My kids and I both truly enjoyed the movie as well, very cute


  6. Great review, Mark!! I’m really ecstatic that you liked it as much as I did. I’m looking forward to a Despicable Me marathon on rainy days after this comes out on Blu-Ray. It’s a real delight. Eduardo felt like every Mexican stereotype packed into one character, but like you said, despite the film’s flaws, I was laughing way too hard to care. The Minions’ rendition of All 4 One’s “I Swear” is worth the price of admission alone.


    • Eduardo could’ve been any ethnicity. I’ll just celebrate that the cast was multi-cultural.

      Oh yeah that was a wonderful musical interlude. They could be bigger than The Chipmunks!


      • Haha, that’s a very positive way to look at it, Mark. One thing’s for sure, I liked them singing a lot more than I did the chipmunks in Chipwrecked! Lol


  7. Brian Daubach Says:

    Great Review. I would also rate it a 4.5/5 and an A-. While I didn’t think it was as great as the original and I didn’t LOVE it as much as I thought I would, I still thought the film was very funny. I especially found it to be really heartwarming — even through the end credits that included those extra scenes with those crazy little minions.

    It’s a movie that made me even say “Aww…That was cute.” I’m 16 years old (almost 17) and I’m using a word like CUTE. LOL

    Have a great day!!!
    Your movie pal,
    Brian Daubach


  8. Great review! I absolutely loved this. Glad it seems that you did too. 🙂


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