Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review 182: "Despicable Me 2"

"I really hate that chicken."

The Calm Before the Spin-off

      Another week. Another sequel to an animated film. Surprisingly not a lot of those this year. Despicable Me wasn't necessarily a movie that needed a sequel, but a sequel was going to happen and there are far worse films to get a sequel. No, I'm not referencing anything in particularGrown-Ups 2. So, all in all, Despicable Me 2 seemed like a fine idea. Returning to direct is Pierre Coffin and Chris Renuld, while Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul return to write. This time around, Gru (Steve Carell) teams up with the Anti-Villain League to stop El Macho (Benjamin Bratt) from creating an army of evil mutants. Along side new partner Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) and new boss Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan), Gru, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher) and the Minions (Pierre Coffin and Chris Renuld) team up to save the world.

It makes sense in context. Mostly.
Flip Flop

      There is actually a fairly interesting trend with Despicable Me 2. It seems as if everything I liked in the first movie doesn't quite work here and everything that didn't quite work in the first movie I liked here. Unfortunately, this time around, Gru isn't as interesting as he was in the first movie. It seems as if being a parent has taken the edge off him. The film lacks a lot of the dark humor that made the first one funnier than this one. Gru seems to have been neutered a little to be more kid-friendly. He's still likable, but he isn't as funny. And,unfortunately, neither are the Minions. Here, they are a little bit overexposed, but again, they aren't as funny because they are really allowed to get as wild or crazy as they did in the first movie. And that does not particularly bode well for the sin-off movie.

Flop Flip

      However, this time around there still are thinks I liked quite a bit. Here, the girls cuteness is cut down and they are given more of a personality. They are a lot more fun and they get more laughs then they did in the first movie. Plus, they get more to do, so that's always a plus. On top of that, the villain this time around is a lot of fun. Bratt does great for  having to do his lines in about 6 weeks after Al Pacino left the project and he does a great job. El Macho's claims of machoness are hilarious and stand out, animation-wise. And the supporting cast is great too. Wiig is a great addition, making Lucy a welcome addition to the Despicable ME family. Overall, the film is still funny, just for different reasons this time.

The Verdict

      Not bad for a sequel. Despicable Me 2 is about on par with the original. It's not particularly memorable, but it is fun and great for kids. This time around, Gru and the Minions are the disappointing weak links, while the villain, girls and supporting cast really stand out and keep the movie funny. Add to that a strong story and Despicable Me 2 is a fun trip to the movies. Despicable Me 2 gets 4 and a half stars out of 6.

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