Even minion-haters should admit that the “Despicable Me” trilogy is a consistent one. And that is quite an achievement.
I didn’t watch “Despicable Me 3” entirely of my own free will. I honestly hate the idea of franchising things that should ended somewhere on the way. Therefore, I believed that after “Minions”, which lacked both its own audience and shape, this franchise came to its natural end.
Bearing this in mind, “Despicable Me 3” comes a kind of revival.
In the third installment of the “Gru saga”, the criminal mastermind comes back to its roots. As he learns about his twin-brother Dru – an extremely cheesy and cheerful persona – Gru’s will to once again claim the crown of the bad becomes strong. When his brother invites him to finally meet, they both need to face Balthazar Bratt – an extremely jealous criminal, who also wants to reclaim his fame.
“Despicable Me” was indeed an immensely successful animation, but the reasons for it were understandable. The plot was very witty, the premise as well, the arch of the protagonist worked perfectly, whilst the minions guaranteed the silly comedy bits.
Then, it got copied in the second film and – as a matter of fact – in the third too. Gru is still a likeable character. He matures and grows with each film and this constitutes the most praiseworthy aspect of “Despicable Me 3”. His somehow idiotic brother is only a button. When it’s pushed, it triggers new traits in the complex character of Gru. With Gru in the spotlight, it is safe to assume that it will not be a disaster.
With the third installment, we start to understand him better. However, he seems to be the only character, which changes. Lucy, Gru’s noisy, female partner is nothing close to his complexity. Her efforts to create a bond with Gru’s little angels are predictable and didn’t add much to the story.
Dru, on the other hand, bears the weight of the comedy. He is the wet rag of the film that Gru needs to come to terms with, a kind of Leslie Nielsen-type character. And, of course, there are minions. Fortunately, the authors learned their mistakes – the minions are funny, when they constitute only a colorful addition, a kind of side and not the main dish. Hence, going back to the roots was a smart move. The bits in the jail are funny, with the minion-crafted zeppelin being the absolute peak of the film.
Finally, there is Balthazar Bratt. The spoiled never-matured latex-lover is a nostalgic reference to good ol’ VHS times. He is over-the-top, a caricature of stuff like “Power Rangers” or “Godzilla” – especially when he jumps into this gigantic robot replica of himself. Yet, I found Bratt a bit off, as if the creators wanted to make a bridge with the previous film – the bad “Minions” from 2015. He belongs to this world of chainsaw clowns and other weird figures. And although his presence worked, I can’t say he was the best that could happen in the film.
“Despicable Me 3” is not a failure I suspected it to be. It offers fun for both parents and children, with jokes ranging from Looney Tunes to sexual innuendos. The comeback of the characters is obviously the biggest marketing mechanism here, but I dare to say there are far more worthless franchises than this one. Eventually, once we had the sweet eyes of the Puss in Boots, now we have Agnes – her innocent look can stop an outflow of any hater – even me.
Despicable Me 3 (2017)
Dir. Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin
Cast: Steve Carrell, Kristen Wiig
Hate Grade: 5/10