Gru has a family meeting with Margo, Edith and Agnes.
Despicable Me was memorable for providing laugh-out-loud moments for people of all ages; its sequel continues the tradition.
Two of the most memorable elements of the first movie were the whimsical wackiness of the minions and the uber cuteness of little Agnes; Despicable Me 2 (DM2) exploits these two – in a good way.
Like its predecessor, DM2 presents the colorful and cheerful visual animation and caricature depiction of its characters, buoyed by bubbly tunes along the way.
The movie reintroduces Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) embracing his reformed life as father to adopted daughters Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and little Agnes (Elsie Fisher), turning his evil gadgets into instant decorative tools and a whole villainous operation into a jelly and jam factory.
His dark past, however, quickly catches up with him as he is unwillingly recruited by the top-secret Anti-Villain League to help investigate a new criminal that use a giant electromagnet in major heists.
The league has tracked down the criminal to a mall and assigned Gru to partner with Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) in an undercover mission at a cupcake shop.
Gru agrees to the job after his sidekick and overseer of his research and development division, Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand), tells the former that he misses the dark side and has been offered evil employment elsewhere. Dr. Nefario departs from Gru’s lair with a salute from the reformed villain and his minions.
On his mission, Gru’s immediately set eyes on Mexican restaurant owner Eduardo (Benjamin Bratt), who shares a physical resemblance to El Macho, a notorious villain from Gru’s villainous past who was believed to have died after mysteriously jumping into a volcano with 250 pounds of TNT strapped to his chest on a shark.
Eduardo’s son, Don Juan wannabe Antonio (Moises Arias), takes an instant liking to Gru’s eldest daughter Margo, who reciprocates immediately.
The attention Margo pays to Antonio, much to the dismay of her father, only fuels Gru’s suspicion of Eduardo.
Minions are back.
On the sweeter side – a more clichéd one – is Agnes fantasizing about Lucy becoming her new mother, winning support from her sibling to pressure Gru into dating her.
Meanwhile, Gru’s legion of carefree, accident-inducing, yet obedient minions is kidnapped, apparently by the mysterious criminal.
The minions are enlisted into the enemy’s force of destructive furry purple monsters through a serum injection.
DM2 is made by the same team from the first movie: directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud and screenwriters Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul. They have successfully continued the lively and bouncy feel of the franchise.
Members of the voice cast have lent their talents to give soul to the characters, most notably Fisher as the ever-adorable unicorn-obsessed Agnes, Brand as the dry aging Dr. Nefario and Bratt as the gregarious and over-the-top El Macho.
With their uniform color and suits, the minions are hard to tell one from the other. However, the mischief masters really steal the show by wreaking havoc and reaping laughs with slapstick moments.
Even with unintelligible gibberish, they manage to slip wit into their looney scenes.
The minions have apparently gained adoration from viewers, so much so that they have made a movie of their own. DM2 may also serve as an extended trailer to the spin-off Minion, which is set to be released late next year.
DM2 can be criticized for having no substantial plot line – or worse, for halting character development. But if the franchise’s aim is to provide laugh-out-loud times for the whole family, then it certainly succeeds and deserves applause.
Despicable Me 2
(98 minutes, Universal)
Directors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Screenwriters: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio
Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, Ken Jeong
Producers: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy
— Photos courtesy of Universal