2 August 2013

Despicable Me 2 Review

At the start of the year I wasn't really looking forward to Despicable Me 2. I hadn't seen the first film and the first few trailers for this one made it look like a film unappealing to me. However, a lot of critics I trust have given very positive reviews to the film so I decided to check the film out and it's pretty good, although there are a lot of problems with the film.
The plot of the film concerns Gru, a reformed supervillian recruited by the Anti Villain League to take down a new villain who has stolen a top secret mutation serum and is teamed up with a pretty eccentric agent who Gru ends up falling in love with. I really like all the character development that this film gives to Gru in terms of finding out who he is after giving up being a supervillain and discovering someone who loves him aside from his adopted daughters but that's as far as I can go in praising the plot. Simply put, it is incredibly predictable. You know who the villain is as soon as you see him and you know how the film will end. Some of the subplots in the film also turn out to be pretty pointless. A big deal is made out of one of Gru's daughters (Margo) falling in love for the first time but by the end of the film, there is no significant character development for anyone and it ultimately has no bearing on the plot as a whole the more that I think about it.

The cast is really good in the film and all of them get time to shine. Steve Carrel goes all in with his portrayal of Gru, his Lugosi-esque accent and deadpan jokes work really well for the character whilst also making the character extremely likable and Carrel's portrayal of Gru is what makes a lot of the humour for adults work. Kristen Wiig is also great as Agent Wilde, she is incredibly energetic in the role with her voice perfectly fitting with the animation and the mix of Wiig and Carrel is brilliant. Benjamin Bratt does a great job as Eduardo, coming across as really likable, but with some threat behind him, although I wonder what the role would have been like if Al Pacino had stayed on board. Miranda Cosgrove, Elsie Fisher and Dana Gaier are pretty good as Gru's daughters, although Gaier doesn't really get a lot to do, with Fisher's Agnes stealing every scene she's in. Some of the cast members are wasted though. Whilst I don't mind Ken Jeong not getting a lot to do, the filmmakers do not give Steve Coogan a lot to do which is a massive shame considering that Coogan is one of the best British comedic actors working today, and all he does is the stereotypical posh Brit and the same applies to Russell Brand who, whilst given a greater role than Coogan, isn't given that many comedic scenes, largely being the straight man to Carrel whenever their characters are on screen.

The real stars of the film though are the Minions. These are some of the funniest comedic creations of the past few years and the mix of physical comedy and gibberish language really reminded me of the old Warner Bros. cartoons, with the physical comedy of the Minions being some of the funniest slapstick comedy I've seen in years. The music choices for the Minions are brilliant as well with one at the end sending me in fits of laughter. There's going to be a spin-off for the Minions next year and, whilst it'll be great to see more of the Minions, I don't think they're suited for a film, they are much better suited to short films so that they do not become annoying through over-exposure.

The animation of the film is also excellent. It is very energetic and colourful, creating a very vibrant world for the film. As I said earlier, the animation brilliantly matches the voice acting, giving all the characters great energy throughout the film. This energetic animation works brilliantly for all the action scenes near the end of the film, in particular all the stuff involving the Minions and scenes involving a volcano.

Overall, the film is pretty good. The animation, the cast and especially the Minions are excellent but the incredibly predictable plot and pointless sub-plots along with the wasting of Steve Coogan don't make the film work as a whole.

My Rating: 3/5

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