Yes, Gru is back, but more importantly, so are his Minions, because they're the real money maker in this franchise, the most annoying plentiful, popular secondary characters since Rayman's Rabbids. Shudder.
Gru (Steve Carell) and his girls are living the good life now that he has given up villainy to focus on being a father. While searching for legitimate business options, he is abruptly pulled into the headquarters of the Anti-Villain League by secret agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig). A dangerous serum is on the loose, and the League need the help of a man who can think like a villain. Will Gru accept the task and become a true hero?
Well, of course, there wouldn't be much of a movie if he didn't. But for some reason we're then treated to a large segment of the movie taking place in a mall, among various other set pieces that appear to be there for no other reason than to inflate the flimsy plot. Of course, there are segments containing Minions doing their funny slapstick stuff at regular intervals, enough to distract away from the lack of substance the rest of the movie has, and for the most part the Minions don't do a bad job of creating comedy. They were certainly getting some big laughs in the cinema. It just seems like Despicable Me 2 is completely saturated in them, when I was really looking forward to seeing our hero and the girls in action.
But it was not to be. Character development is very thin on the ground. Gru's turn from bad to good in the first instalment was wonderfully done, but now he's taken on the daddy role everything feels quite comfortable. There's certainly a new dynamic in the introduction of Lucy, but a lot of the time Gru is just wandering around stressing out about the kids, which also has no real bearing on the main story. Don't get me wrong, the performances are all fantastic. Carell brings great life to the role as before, and Wiig is fantastic, especially as she seems to be pretty much playing herself. It's just that these actors really don't have much to work with, most of the time only squeezing in a few lines before the next Minion sequence.
Still, Despicable Me 2 is certainly not awful. It looks good, and there are some genuinely funny slapstick moments and some nice action sequences that pull it all together. It just lacks the heart of the first one, and seems a lot more like a shameless cash in to sell more Minion shaped merchandise. Hey, it could be worse, they could just make a movie all about the Minions. Oh, wait...
My rating: 3/5