Despicable Me 2, 2013
Directed by: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, Ken Jeong
The big sequel to 2010’s Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2 builds on from the ending of the first, as Gru (Steve Carell) is now a former-supervillain-turned-full-time-father. In their former lab they’re working on jams and jellies (much to Dr Nefario’s (Russell Brand) annoyance). After a new supervillain emerges themselves, the AVL (The Anti-Villain League) recruit Gru to work with Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig, mother!), an AVL field agent. Their assignment is to run a bakery store while searching for the mall-shop owner who is secretly a supervillain.
This film essentially had two major plots: stopping the bad guys, and love. Despicable Me 2 tries setting Gru up with a wife, while Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) is also dating (Gru even tries to sabotage that relationship by claiming Margo’s new boyfriend, Antonio (Moises Arias), and his father, Eduardo Perez (Benjamin Bratt), are the secret supervillains. Unfortunately the inclusion of romance didn’t add too much comedy elements to the film, it felt more like they had to include it so they did. Another slight disappointment with regards to the love elements is how little they focused on Gru’s background. We get a flashback from when Gru tried to confess his love as a teenager only to be humiliated, but there was nothing else. In Despicable Me there were more than one flashback building up to why he wanted to steal the moon, but his stance on not dating was simply relegated to one flashback.
That aside, it’s easy to spot watching this film that the Minions were popular from the first: they had much more screen time and played a much more important role in the plot. A serum is turning the Minions purple and making them indestructible, and this is the secret supervillain’s grand scheme to take over the world. And about the secret-supervillain; it’s not a major surprise when it’s revealed as by then there’s only really two established suspects and only one of them gets a bit of screen time, which is a bit disappointing.
One major plus on this film was its comedic elements: building on from the first, this film was just as funny and maintained the same comedy style as the first with some recurring characters and recurring jokes. It’s just unfortunate that it doesn’t build on character developments as well as the first did.
But, the film is still a joy to watch. A new plot expanding on the first, with an introduction to new characters and a new lease on life for Gru; his character arc from the start of the first is also very well done and this film helps his character along. Funny and charming, just as the first was, it just unfortunately focused too little on what needed focus, and too much on what could have been left out.
Overall Rating: * * *