“Despicable Me 2” Enjoyable, Silly Sequel

Updated 4 years ago By Jeff Beck
“Despicable Me 2” Enjoyable, Silly Sequel

2010’s “Despicable Me” was one of the surprise hits of its year, providing an even bigger surprise for me given that I hadn’t heard much about it at all prior to the screening. However, this little unknown film ended up packing a wallop of emotion into 90 short minutes as we watched its main character turn from one of the world’s most dastardly criminals into a loving father of three young girls.

It’s rare for an animated film to play upon the heartstrings like that, which makes one appreciate it all the more when such a film comes about. From its success, a sequel was pretty much inevitable, and now, three years later, we finally get to see the fruits of the filmmakers’ labor.

Picking up not long after the original film, we find Gru (Voice of Steve Carell) living happily with the three girls he adopted, Margo (Voice of Miranda Cosgrove), Agnes (Voice of Elsie Fisher), and Edith (Voice of Dana Gaier). All of a sudden, Gru finds himself kidnapped by Lucy (Voice of Kristen Wiig), an agent of the Anti-Villain League. This organization wishes to recruit him in hopes that he can help them find a villain that has stolen a dangerous serum. At first, Gru is reluctant to help, but he eventually comes around to accepting the offer.

Finding himself paired with Lucy, it becomes their job to go through the suspects of a shopping mall where it is believed the culprit works. Chief among the suspects are Eduardo (Voice of Benjamin Bratt), the owner of the Mexican restaurant, whom Gru believes to be a villain from years past, and Floyd (Voice of Ken Jeong), the mysterious wig shop owner. Meanwhile, as Gru continues to work with Lucy, he finds himself becoming more and more fond of her, to the point where he even considers going on a date, a prospect that he’s normally very much against. Could love be in the air for one of the world’s greatest former villains?

“Despicable Me 2” has quite a reputation to live up to due to its predecessor, and while it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the previous film, this is still a very enjoyable and silly sequel that is a welcome return to the characters we’ve come to know and love. What perhaps holds this one back from that greatness is that there’s not quite as much heart to be found this time around. Gru underwent a remarkable transformation in the first film. Another change of such emotional magnitude would be hard to come by.

The film does try however, this time by having his views on finding a companion changed ever so slowly as he discovers that Lucy just might be the perfect woman for him. The thing is, it’s not quite as big a surprise this time when we discover that he has room in his heart for her. If he had enough space for his three adopted daughters, a wife isn’t going to be that big of a step for him. His journey to acceptance is still an enjoyable one though, giving us the emotional attachment that is vital to a story like this.

Another vital element that had made the original such a success was its magnificent sense of humor. True, some of the puns were really bad, but that didn’t make them any less amusing. There was also its simple silliness that made it such a delightful experience. This holds true for the sequel as well, giving us more goofy moments with the adorable minions, more zinging one-liners, and yes, the return of the fart guns. It’s also something of a rarity to find an animated film that adults will find just as funny as the kids in the audience, and yet, these films have succeeded at it twice in a row.

Once again we get a top-notch voice cast, many of whom are returning from the original film, including Steve Carell and Russell Brand, as well as newcomers Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Steve Coogan, and Ken Jeong. Carell and Brand’s chemistry was another important factor of the original’s success, and while they don’t get as much time together here, the few moments they do get are fantastic. Wiig becomes the standout from the new cast members, showing that her comic timing is right up there with Carell’s, and that their chemistry together is equally as good.

I get the feeling that this is not the last we’ll be seeing of these characters, and I certainly hope that it’s not. These films have provided some of the more memorable animated experiences of the past few years, especially with Pixar struggling to come up with good ideas lately. With the way things are left at the end of this film, another sequel could easily emerge. If it should take another three years for the filmmakers to develop another worthwhile idea, then I’m more than willing to wait. 3/4 stars.
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