When I heard they were making a sequel for Despicable Me and that Megamind, the other “villain becomes a good guy” movie that came out in 2010, wasn’t getting one, I was rather disappointed. I certainly enjoyed Despicable Me, but personally, I thought that Megamind was the better of the two. However, after seeing Despicable Me 2, I was reminded that not everything needs to have a sequel, and in fact, sometimes it’s probably best for a film not to have one. That’s definitely the case with Despicable Me 2. I mean, let’s be honest, at the end of the first film, what was there really left for that cast to do? Scratching your head on that one? Well, it seems that the sequel wasn’t quite sure how to answer that question either. Now, that isn’t to say that Despicable Me 2 isn’t an enjoyable or funny movie, because it is, but that’s more a testament to the immense appeal of these characters than anything else. This movie is the very definition of the unnecessary sequel. It has no reason to exist, and that shows.
What made Despicable Me so enjoyable and unique was the fact that the bad guy was the start, and yet even though he was the bad guy, we still liked him. Gru was a super villain, with super villain aspirations, but those got turned upside down when he discovered that there might be some things in life that are even better than be the greatest villain in the world; like being the greatest father in the world. This premise gave that film a snarky comedic tone and gave it a lot of heart; and that’s what’s missing from the sequel. Here, Gru is happy being a dad and a good guy. There’s a brief moment where I thought he might be tempted by the “good ol’ days” of being the world’s most notorious super villain. A film where Gru struggles with those desires, while also trying to stop another super villain from down all the things Gru used to do and love, since after all he’s the good guy now, would have been a great film. But this movie doesn’t go there (it’s doesn’t anywhere at all, really). This is all good and sweet and happy and nice…which isn’t bad, but it’s not what made Despicable Me special.
Sadly, the sequel is also missing the heart of the first movie. Again, it could have developed that as the girls struggle with not having a mom, and the introduction of Kristen Wigg’s character, Lucy could have led to those same sweet, tender moments from the first movie, but the sequel never takes any time to develop any sort of meaningful relations with the girls and their potential new mothers. In fact, it doesn’t seem quite sure what to do with the girls at all (but then, it’s not quite sure what to do with anything). They’re quickly introduced to each other, spend no time with each other, and by the end, they all live happily ever after as a big happy family. Nice. Still misses what made Despicable Me special.
So, Despicable Me 2 isn’t quite sure what to do with Gru, or his girls, or most of the new characters introduced (some of whom just sort of disappear as the film progresses). There are some good ideas here and there which could have made this a really good sequel that built upon the unique nature of the first movie, but instead it plays things rather safe and just plows ahead by putting characters in amusing situations for no other reason than it gives them something to do that’s amusing. About the only thing this movie does know what to do with is the minions. Once again, they steal the show every time they’re on screen. I’m still not convinced they can carry an entire movie on their own, but they’re as delightfully entertaining here as ever. It almost feels like Gru and the rest of the gang were obligated to come along just so the minions could be in another movie, which obviously isn’t true since next year they’ll have a movie all their own. In any event, at least the minions get an interesting and fun storyline as they end up becoming versions of the Rabbids from Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids series of video games. It’s extremely entertaining and probably one of the best ideas in the film, but it’s pretty much just thrown in the mix with everything else, and like all the rest, is an idea that isn’t really developed as much as it could have been.
However, as I said, that doesn’t mean this movie isn’t fun and entertaining. Again, that’s mostly because these characters are just so endearing and enjoyable. Gru and company may have lost some of their edge, but they’re still fun to hang around with, even when they aren’t entirely sure what they’re supposed to do. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, and like the best family films, there’s just as much to make adults laugh, as there is to tickle the funny bones of the kids. Despicable Me 2, especially when compared to its superior predecessor, is a bland but still entertaining sequel, and while it’s fun to see these characters again, you just sort of wish they actually had something to do. It’s fun to see Gru struggle a bit as a father (another element lacking any good development) as the girls start to get older and get interested in new things…like boys. However, it would have also have been great fun to see him miss being a super villain. If you’re looking for some laughs, want to spend some time with the family, want to get out of the heat and into the cool atmosphere of a theater, and you’ve already seen the far superior Monsters University, then Despicable Me 2 is a fine summer distraction. However, it’s also a film that demonstrates the fact that some movies, no matter how good they are, just don’t need to have a sequel. Sometimes a good idea is just that; one good idea that should just be left alone. Kind of like Megamind.
The characters are so enjoyable and endearing, even when they don’t really have much to do, they’re still entertaining. This is the type of sweeting entertaining film that’s perfect for summer family entertainment, and more than that, even the 3D is kind of fun. Like the first film, Despicable Me 2 knows it’s a gimmick, and it has fun with it.
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