Despicable Me 3 Review: The Definition of Family Fun.
Despicable Me 3: In the third entry in the popular Illumination franchise, Gru (Steve Carell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) spring into action once again to stop an evil 80’s child star named Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) from destroying Hollywood. After failing to capture Bratt, Gru and Lucy are kicked out of the Anti-Villain League (AVL) by the new director Valerie Da Vinci (Jenny Slate). Feeling defeated and lost, Gru and Lucy return home to the girls and share the unfortunate news. As Gru begins to think about what he should do next, a mysterious man shows up and informs him that his twin brother wants Lucy, the girls, and Gru to visit.
Unaware of his brother’s existence, Gru visits his mother to seek out the truth. Gru’s mother explains that after she divorced his father, they parted ways and agreed to each keep one child. Excited by this news, Gru, Lucy, and the girls make it a vacation and head to Dru’s mansion. While at his brother’s mansion, Gru learns that his father was once the world’s greatest supervillain. Dru attempts to convince Gru that he should return to a life a crime so that he can follow in the footsteps of his father’s legacy. Unwilling to do so, Gru tricks Dru into working together to find Brett and steal back a precious diamond before Bratt uses it to power his robot and destroy Hollywood.
In 2010, Despicable Me broke box office records and set the bar for fun and entertaining animated family films that weren’t made by Pixar or Disney. After a pretty sizable step down with the Minions Movie in 2015, I am happy to report that Despicable Me 3 is a return to form with the same spirit that made the original so great. The Despicable Me franchise has been extremely popular with both children and adults because it is just a fun series with likable and memorable characters. Children love the Minions and the adults like the inside jokes that go over their children’s heads.
It’s so rare nowadays to find a family film that is just fun and entertaining without having some sort of deep and meaningful story behind it. I always appreciate family films that feature well-crafted stories and important underlying themes but sometimes I just want to have fun and be entertained when I watch a movie. Despicable Me 3 is the very definition of family fun. It is a 90-minute animated adventure that just embraces its silliness and has a wonderful balance of humor and heart.
It is always interesting to see how writers attempt to keep franchises feeling fresh and different. Despicable Me 3 introduces two great new characters, Gru’s brother Dru and Balthazar Bratt as the film’s villain. While I did enjoy the second film, I must admit that I found El Macho to be a pretty lame and uninteresting villain. I also struggled with whether I liked Lucy as a character because while I get that she played the love interest, I always enjoyed Gru being the sarcastic jerk that hated being around people.
This sequel made me like and appreciate Lucy more as a character. I felt like she actually had something to do and wasn’t just there to be the love interest. She grew as a character. Most of her screen time is spent trying to bond with Margo, Edith, and Agnes. The was a great way to show Lucy making the effort to become a mom by building a relationship with girls.
Speaking of characters that I liked more than in previous entries, I really loved the Minions in this one. My big problem with the Minions Movie was that the minions aren’t entertaining enough to be main characters. They work well as supporting characters because they are entertaining to watch in smaller doses. I can honestly say that the minions’ scenes in Despicable Me 3 are a new series high. The scene where the Minions break into a television studio and appear on an American Idol-like show was just hilarious. The song the minions sang during this scene reminded me of the various songs from Animaniacs.
The introduction to the character of Dru is great because he is the polar opposite of Gru. Watching these two brothers play off each other is often hilarious especially when Gru begins to let his guard down and has a good time hanging out with Dru. There is this scene where the two brothers swap clothing and pretend to be each other at the dinner table. It’s so stupid that you can’t help but smile and be entertained by it. I love the fact that these characters are both voiced by Steve Carell and yet still manage to be funny and entertaining. It just goes to show how talented Carell is with everything from voice work to dramatic Oscar nominated roles.
The best thing about the film without question is Trey Parker as Balthazar Bratt. I love South Park and I love Trey Parker and Matt Stone in everything like even their campy movies like Orgazmo and Cannibal: The Musical. Parker is older now and has a kid so it is interesting to see him go from hard-R content to playing a PG cartoon villain that loves to dance fight. Parker was the perfect choice for this character especially when you think of the character’s backstory which revolves around an 80s child star whose tv show gets canceled after hitting puberty. It’s hilarious and all the 80s references are so spot on from the cheesy dialogue to the toy commercials. I absolutely adored this character and thought it was an absolute riot.
Despicable Me 3 is the best family film of the summer movie season. It is everything that you could want from a family-friendly animated film and will entertain children and adults alike. Despicable Me 3 knows exactly what it is and embraces it. This is a good old fashion fun time at the movies. Take the kids, buy a big popcorn, and just have a blast!
Scott “Movie Man” Menzel’s rating for Despicable Me 3 is a 8 out of 10.