Despicable Me 2
Supervillain Gru is back, but after the events in Despicable Me things have changed quite a bit. Instead of grand schemes like stealing the moon, Gru has become a better person and now tries to take care of his foster kids Margo, Edith and Agnes as good as possible, something that isn’t always as simple as it may sound. To get some money in the bank, he’s put his minions as well as Dr. Nefario on a new industry branch: making jelly!
Dr. Nefario, however, misses being evil and decides to leave Gru and revert to his old life again. Gru equally feels out of place by leading the life of a good person but when he gets contacted by the Anti-Villain League his hearts starts pounding a bit faster again. A criminal mastermind has used a super magnet to steal and entire laboratory on the North Pole and Gru has to help the AVL to find out who’s responsible. Having been a super villain himself, the AVL is convinced he’s the perfect profiler to find others like him and after receiving a tip that the villain is hiding in a shopping mall, Gru together with AVL-agent Lucy is sent out under cover as shop keepers.
Once there, Gru meets Eduardo, a Mexican restaurant keeper who according to Gru is none other than the infamous super villain El Macho of who everyone thought he died years ago in a vulcano. The evidence, however, points towards another shop keeper, and that Eduardo’s son Antonio has his eyes on Margo results in Gru going a bit berserk, making the AVL question anything Gru has to say about Eduardo.
Meanwhile it appears that the stolen lab had developed a new nerve gas called PX-47 which living animals into purple monsters and since Gru is working in the mall for the AVL, he doesn’t realise someone is kidnapping all his minions. Someone is clearly planning to create an army of evil purple minion-monsters, but to what purpose?
Despicable Me was a success but it may be said: this wasn’t so much by the characters or the story as it was thanks to the jokes surrounding the minions. Despicable Me 2 therefore couldn’t decrease the exposure to the yellow men and that’s exactly what was done, this time we even get to see them in a purple variation! Whether this made Despicable Me 2 a better movie, however, is a different question.
On all levels this sequel seems to be created from a blueprint for part 1. The story may be new, and we already have some background on the characters while there’s also some new ones being introduced (like Lucy and El Macho) but the weight of these doesn’t add up to the impact the minions have. And this is where things go wrong a bit. The jokes with the little yellow men are mainly the same as in the first movie, and the purple version doesn’t add much.
Despicable Me 2 may not be better than part 1, it isn’t worse either. There are some really fun things present, like Gru getting forced to date or the scene under water that immediately reminds of the Lotus Esprit from “The Spy Who Loved Me” (James Bond), that make the parts without minions more than enjoyable.
All in all Despicable Me 2 isn’t better or worse than its predecessor. The story and characters may not be much more than a hook to hang the jokes of the minions on, the makers do try to keep things entertaining and up to a certain level succeed in that. No real classic in its genre, but definitely enjoyable for the larger audience so to speak.
The movie may not be top of its class, the image and sound definitely are. Perfect contrast, bright and flashy colors, a total absence of compression errors, sound that truly pounds through the surrounds whenever necessary, dialogues that constantly come forth crystal clear… there’s truly nothing bad to be said about the technical achievements of this release.
The most important extras we find back on this release are no doubt the three mini-movies in which the makers of the minions go full steam ahead and give us a taste of what can be expected of an upcoming Minions movie (yes, they’re filming it at the time of writing). Next to that there’s of course an audio commentary, and we also get a six minute feature on how the international work was done for the three mini-movies. Next to a deleted and extended scene there are also five short features, each between 3 and 6 minutes, that cover several subjects from the movie.