Sweet hearted and funny, Despicable Me 2 is that rare sequel that continues the vibrant, witty energy of its predecessor with a tale of love, family and scheming super-villains.
The love lives of super-villains are rarely seen in the movies. Sure you have your objects of obsession (Count Dracula and his Mia) and your twisted attractions (Hannibal Lector and Clarice Starling), yet rare is the sight of love-a-blooming amongst the bad guy set.
Despicable Me 2 is the closest in breaking that streak. Where its lead protagonist Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) was once a super-villain of clout, he is now a reformed family man assisting a secret government agency in tracking down an elusive villain, while dealing with his adopted daughters pleads that he enter the big bad world of dating and snag a wife.
It’s nice to see a film – any film- place such an emphasis on the traditional family dynamic. While it’s clear that Gru loves his three adopted girls Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) Edith (Dana Gaie) and cute as bunches Agnes (Eisie Kate Fisher), missing is a piece to make this family whole, that no number of Minions (that’s Gru’s yellow skinned, jibberish spouting, mini-servants) could fill.
Plugging that void is enthusiastic super-agent Lucy Wilde, who is voiced by Kristen Wiig with an energetic enthusiasm that matches well with Carell’s eastern European heavy drawl. Good also is Benjamin Bratt as the suspicious Eduardo, Bratt stepping to the plate when original actor Al Pacino dropped out late in production.
The decision to bring back the majority of the creative team from Despicable Me was a wise one. Directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud know what works in this Looney Toons meets Pixar universe, with vibrant colours, memorable characters and slapstick comedy wonderfully meshing together.
Especially smart on Coffin and Renaud’s part is the extra screen time given to the Minions, who have taken over the penguins of Madagascar and Scrat from Ice Age as the best side characters in animated film today. Like a great bench player there increased presence adds to the central story rather than drown out the great interplay between Gru, his girls and his new lady friend.
By the time the Minions are wearing matching sweaters and belting out “I Swear” by All 4 One, a charming and fun time is made even funnier. The upcoming Minions spin-off film is much anticipated.