Despicable Me 2 (2013)

Director:  Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud
Cast:  Steve CarellKristen WiigMiranda Cosgrove, Ken Jeong, Russell Brand
Plot:  Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help deal with a powerful new super criminal.

Genre:  Animation / Comedy 
Awards:  Nom. for 2 Oscars - Best Animated Feature, Best Original Song.
Runtime:  98min
Rating:  G for rude humor and mild action. 

The film was reviewed in the 3D format.

“Are you really gonna save the world?”

The Minions are back!  And in top form, if I may add.  Those cute, consistently hilarious motley bunch of yellowthings continue to draw intense giggles and fierce laughter from audiences in this sequel to Despicable Me (2010).  I won't be surprised to see a third film, and possibly a Minion-inspired spinoff feature in the next five years. 

What came as a surprise though was the astounding popular success of the first feature, its popularity banked by the endearing yellowthings, rather than the main character Gru, as voiced by a foreign-accented Steve Carell whom to his credit serves his character well. 

Illumination Entertainment knew what would sell, and shrewdly opted to market the franchise with a giddy explosion of Minions.  In Despicable Me 2, most of the Minions turn into purple monsters with hair after being injected with a serum developed by a scheming villain. 

In one sequence, they chase after the protagonists like the frenzied zombies in 28 Days Later (2002) and World War Z (2013).  But look out for how Gru’s girls take revenge in the most gleefully anti-violent of ways... ironically by using guns.  In this line of thought, Despicable Me 2 can be seen as a perfect example of the re-imagination of violence from the perspective of a child, one that does not reek of savageness.

Very much a standard good versus evil storyline with elements of a spy-thriller, Despicable Me 2 works best as a comedy for families who appreciate the healing properties that come from seeing sheer cuteness on the big screen.  They will be satisfied – both parents and kids… a promise fulfilled by the film’s marketing efforts.

Despicable Me 2 is largely entertaining, but what's most impressive is the filmmakers' ability to milk as much character development as possible from a host of subplots that are deftly balanced and contribute un-superfluously to the overall narrative. 

In particular, Gru evolves from an awkward man with a pointed nose who is occasionally maniacal, to someone who might possibly find love, and hopefully, some sanity.  But of course, everyone is bound to go mental when the Minions are in the house. 

Verdict:  Largely entertaining and works best if you can appreciate the healing properties of seeing sheer cuteness on the big screen.

GRADE: B (7.5/10 or 3.5 stars)

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