2013-07-02

Despicable Me 2 – Has Gru Lost His Edge?

by Yo Snyder

When I heard they were making a sequel for Despicable Me and that Megamind, the other “villain becomes a
good guy” movie that came out in 2010, wasn’t getting one, I was rather
disappointed. I certainly enjoyed Despicable
Me
, but personally I thought that the Megamind
was the better of the two. However, after seeing Despicable Me 2, I was reminded that not everything needs to have a
sequel, and in fact, sometimes it’s probably best for a film not to have one.
That’s definitely the case with Despicable
Me 2
. I mean, let’s be honest, at the end of the first film, what was there
really left for that cast to do? Scratching your head on that one? Well, it
seems that the sequel wasn’t quite sure how to answer that question either.
Now, that isn’t to say that Despicable Me
2
isn’t an enjoyable or funny movie, because it is, but that’s more a
testament to the immense appeal of these characters than anything else. This
movie is the very definition of the unnecessary sequel. It has not reason to
exist, and that shows.

What made Despicable
Me
so enjoyable and unique was the fact that the bad guy was the start, and
yet even though he was the bad guy, we still liked him. Gru was a super villain
with super villain aspirations, but those got turned upside down when he
discovered that there might be some things in life that are even better than be
the greatest villain in the world; like being the greatest father in the world.
This premise gave that film a snarky comedic tone and also gave it a lot of
heart; and that’s what’s missing from the sequel. Here, Gru is happy being a
dad and a good guy. There’s a brief moment where I thought he might be tempted
by the “good ol’ days” of being the world’s most notorious super villain, and
in truth a film where Gru struggles with those desires while also trying to
stop another super villain from down all the things Gru used to do and love,
since after all he’s the good guy now, would have been a pretty great film. But
this movie doesn’t go there (it’s doesn’t anywhere at all, really). This is all
good and sweet and happy and nice…which isn’t bad, but it’s not what made
Despicable Me special.

Sadly, the sequel is also missing the heart of the first
movie. Again, it could have developed that as the girls struggle with not
having a mom, and the introduction of Kristen Wigg’s character Lucy could have
led to those same sweet, tender moments from the first movie, but the sequel
never takes any time to develop any sort of meaningful relations with the girls
and their potential new mothers. In fact, it doesn’t seem quite sure what to do
with the girls at all (but then, it’s not quite sure what to do with anything).
They’re quickly introduced to each other, spend no time with each other, and by
the end they all live happily ever after as a big happy family. Nice. But still
misses what made Despicable Me special.

So, Despicable Me 2
isn’t quite sure what to do with Gru, or his girls, or most of the new
characters introduced (some of whom just sort of disappear as the film
progresses). There are some good ideas here and there which could have made
this a really good sequel that built upon the unique nature of the first movie,
but instead it plays things rather safe and just plows ahead by putting
characters in amusing situations for no other reason than it gives them
something to do that’s amusing. About the only thing this movie does know what
to do with is the minions. Once again, they steal the show every time they’re
on screen. I’m still not convinced they can carry an entire movie on their own,
but they’re as delightfully entertaining here as ever. It almost feels like Gru
and the rest of the gang were obligated to come along just so the minions could
be in another movie, which obviously isn’t true since next year they’ll have a
movie all their own. In any event, at least the minions get an interesting and
fun storyline as they basically end up becoming versions of the Rabbids from
Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids series of video games. It’s extremely entertaining and
probably one of the best ideas in the film, but it’s pretty much just thrown in
the mix with everything else and like all the rest, is an idea that isn’t
really developed as much as it could have been.

However, as I said, that doesn’t mean this movie isn’t fun
and entertaining. Again, that’s mostly because these characters are just so
endearing and enjoyable. Gru and company may have lost some of their edge, but
they’re still fun to hang around with even when they aren’t entirely sure what
they’re supposed to do. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, and like
the best family films, there’s just as much to make adults laugh as there is to
tickle the funny bones of the kids. Despicable
Me 2
, especially when compared to its superior predecessor, is a bland but
still entertaining sequel, and while it’s fun to see these characters again,
you just sort of wish they actually had something to do. It’s fun to see Gru
struggle a bit as a father (another element lacking any good development) as
the girls start to get older and get interested in new things…like boys.
However, it would have also have been great fun to see him miss being a super
villain. If you’re looking for some laughs, want to spend some time with the
family, want to get out of the heat and into the cool atmosphere of a theater,
and you’ve already seen the far superior Monsters
University
, then Despicable Me 2
is a fine summer distraction. However, it’s also a film that demonstrates the
fact that some movies, no matter how good they are, just don’t need to have a
sequel. Sometimes a good idea is just that; one good idea that should just be
left alone. Kind of like Megamind.

Score: 5 of 7 – The characters
are so enjoyable and endearing, even when they don’t really have much to do,
they’re still entertaining. This is the type of sweeting entertaining film that’s
perfect for summer family entertainment, and more than that, even the 3D is
kind of fun. Like the first film, Despicable
Me 2
know it’s a gimmick, and it has fun with it.