Despicable Me 2

Besides a string of jokes, both adult and juvenile, the best moments in Despicable me 2 are when we get to see minions indulge in screwball mischief.

Whenever a sequel is announced, it is safe to assume that filmmakers are coming after your money in an attempt to milk the success of the original film. From a movie patron’s perspective, there is always a risk of being victimized should pre-ordained expectations go south. This risk is amplified when returning viewers expect an equal or greater experience in comparison. While not quite as unique as the 2010 original, I am happy to report that Despicable Me 2 is an equally entertaining encore, just as long as your expectations are tethered to a stick of Acme dynamite. Yes; dynamite.

Returning directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud have brought along few tricks that are seamlessly blended into the visual quality of this animation. And of course, the use of 3D is one of them. That being said, the real treats come from returning screenwriters Ken Daurio and Cino Paul, by injecting the story with heavy doses of the most likable aspects from the predecessor — adorability and hilarity. The story is also altered where Gru (Steve Carell) is now a fervent father to his three adopted girls Margo, Edith, and Agnes, having abandoned his villainous ways of the past. But when new super-villain El Macho (Benjamin Bratt) threatens to turn Gru’s lovable minions into aggressive monsters, the latter is recruited by the “Anti-Villain League”, a secret agency whose only purpose is detecting and eliminating super-villains. All of a sudden, Gru is back to juggling again — this time as a hero and an overprotective father, while actually falling for AVL colleague and sidekick Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig).

For a spy-spoof animation, the story does not do much to hide its high level of predictability. Instead, the screenwriters have clearly focused on slapstick gags that are well written for viewers of all ages. There are several references to heist and spy movies that adults will mentally tick off to, while kids and toddlers are more than likely to get off to a rollicking ride from the start. Making this possible are zany new characters that add extra pizzazz with plenty of loony-toon moments. One such character is Bratt’s El Macho, a two faced super-villain with a psychotic chicken for a side-kick and a son that steals Margo’s heart from right under Gru’s nose. And while Carell’s Gru takes a backseat as a reformed villain, Wiig’s Lucy brings out a wacky side of Gru that is straight out of the Acme crate I had mentioned earlier. But amongst the various characters and voice talents at work, nothing can prepare you for the incredibly adorable Agnes (Elsie Fisher). Also returning from her debut role in Despicable Me, Fisher’s voice acting is the essence of cuteness each and every time her character is on screen.

Besides a string of jokes, both adult and juvenile, the best moments in the film are when we get to see Gru’s minions indulge in screwball mischief, including singing pop music with a French twist. These are also the moments when 3D is at its intentional best, so stick around for the end credits where minions audition for their 2015 movie spin-off called The Minions. But before we get there, I recommend Despicable Me 2 for the loads of fun, joy and laughter it has in store. It is easily one of the funniest animated films of the year.

Rating: ★★★½☆

About Lloyd Bayer

Besides his passion for travelling, photography and scuba diving, Lloyd is a prolific film critic having contributed hundreds of film reviews to web and print journals, including IMDb and local daily Khaleej Times.