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Movie Review: As good as the first one, ‘Despicable Me 2’ is a joyful ride.

despicable me 2

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Despicable Me 2 (2013) Dir: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud. Rated PG for rude humor and mild action.

Steve Carell is back in good form in 'Despicable Me 2'
Steve Carell is back in good form in 'Despicable Me 2'
Illumination Entertainment

This film is currently playing in theaters everywhere.

Sam Carell returns as the voice of Gru, the “supervillain” from the first animated film, Despicable Me. Gru is now an honest, ex-supervillain who is trying to raise his three girls, Margo, Edith, and Agnes. Having given up villainy, he is trying his hand at inventing a new type of jelly. Meanwhile, the Anti-Villain League wants to recruit him to investigate a stolen, powerful serum. Things get heavy for Gru when he is partnered up with the overachieving, taser-happy AVL agent Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig).

If you enjoyed the first film, you will most likely enjoy this one. That is pretty much all you need to know to decide if this is a film for you. If you haven’t seen it, you will still enjoy this one. This film is a fun, full-on cartoon made of 3D stuff, but well done. Despite the presence of bunch of kids in the film, this one should please the older crowd as well. You see, this one is also a bit of a romantic comedy, with plenty of humor that adults (who have ever been on dates) will appreciate. Some of the funnier scenes involve his neighbor trying to fix him up with some of her loony, single female friends.

The characters are ultimately what drive this film, and they are intricate and fully-realized. The main character, Gru, is as good as one can ever get in an animated film. I love the character design and his movements. Steve Carell almost effortlessly brings life to this character. It’s pretty much like how I’ve felt about Woody and Buzz in the Toy Story series. Just like the first film, the kids in the film, Margo, Edith, and Agnes, genuinely behave like real kids. Kristen Wiig is excellent as the wacky, loony, but quite capable Lucy Wilde, who partners up with Gru in his mission. The yellow, blobby Minions from the first film are also back—and provide much of the slapstick.

Admittedly, the villain in this film isn’t as outrageous nor as memorable as Vector (Jason Segel had done an amazing job, equally as good as Carell) from the first film, but this film isn’t so much about that competitive dynamic anyway. The story is really more about Gru. The subtleties of facial expressions, underlying humor, and complex human behavior are all still here. There’s also broad humor, some cheesy ones, and some genuine, emotional moments. I enjoyed how this sequel simply builds on the character arc of Gru instead of just revisiting the same idea but just making it bigger. And, I love that. For the third installment, one can see that there could be plenty of directions this series could go.

Thematically, like the first one, this one is not super-deep. It’s entertaining, action-packed, has plenty of slapstick, and wacky humor. It’s not existentialist and philosophical like a Pixar film. This film entertains, and does that quite well. The characters are what stand out in this film—they are the kind that you wouldn’t mind revisiting again and again.

My Rating: *** ½ out of **** stars.

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