Film Review: Despicable Me 2

by Sam Robinson

Rated PG. Starring the voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Steve Coogan

[Stars 4/5]

Minions. So many box office cash-making Minions.

At first glance, you might think this is all there is to Despicable Me 2. The DVD cover contains a basic white background with three of the yellow, tablet-shaped critters on the front. Clearly that’s what kids have embraced with this film series. But is there more to this film than Minions? Short answer: Yes.

Despicable Me 2 follows the 2010 original and amps things up to a new level. Carrell’s Gru has renounced his villainy, now looking after his three adopted girls in the suburbs, albeit with a basement packed with Minions. Soon enough, he is recruited to work alongside Agent Lucy Wilde (Wiig) on a mission to find and stop a bad guy with a serum capable of turning anything into a hungry monster of destruction.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Despicable Me, but this sequel had me glued. The screenplay is packed full of jokes and the animation is charming. Unsurprisingly, the Minions steal the show. Instead of solely being colourful child-pleasing content; they are these endearing, manic, gibberish-speaking troublemakers. I’ve rarely seen cartoon slapstick done well, but that is what the Minions are all about. And it’s not just the Minions in on the slapstick. There’s a marvelous cartoony scene with an irritating girl Gru dates, who is knocked unconscious. You’ll know what I mean when you see it.

The plot meanders as the film goes on, without a defined aim. I’m sure this is due to the creators wanting to spend more time on Minions than say, Gru’s girls. Aside from this, this is a family flick and still manages to please young and old alike. There’s no doubt that Universal are doing it right in releasing a Minions origins film in 2015… although I wonder if there will be subtitles?

Throughout the course of Despicable Me 2, I picked up on this big theme of transformation. Gru is no longer a moon-stealing, scheming villain – he’s one of the good guys and parts ways with his old counterpart, Dr. Nefario. The Minions get hit by the serum and turn into evil purple freaks with a major underbite. Our assumptions of the heroes and villains in these films are turned upside down. There is transformation of character.

I was recently reading about the way that we are transformed when we trust in Jesus. Due to God’s grace he saves us from our evil nature and we are made faultless before God. Colossians 1:21-23a says:

And you were once alienated and hostile in mind because of your evil actions. But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him – if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith, and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard.

God reaches into our situation and reconciles us to himself. He changes our character by Jesus’ death and continues to transform us each and every day as we continue in the faith taught by the apostles. We might not have looked like little purple monsters, but due to our sin we were Minions of hostility towards God in need of being made right again. We need to live out the new life he has so graciously given us.

Despicable Me 2 is a highly-entertaining comedy. I’m giving it four stars out of five.

Despicable Me 2 is out now on DVD, Blu-Ray and streaming on Quickflix.

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