Pixar has Woody, Dreamworks has Shrek and now it’s safe to safe Gru is the face of the franchise (along with the Minions if you’re into that) for Illumination Entertainment. Everyone’s favorite villain turned Father of the Year should be considered the founding father Universal’s blossoming animation studio. Despicable Me was the first project to kick off a string of hits from Illumination Entertainment that included Despicable Me 2, The Secret Life of Pets and Minions who took in over a billion dollars globally without the help of their master Gru. Now the evil mastermind who started it all is back with his wife, the girls, the minions and his twin brother fittingly named Dru in Despicable Me 3.
This new installment in the Despicable Me franchise drops the dating game angle from the last go around with the Gru gang getting back to its roots with a story about family. While battling a new villain named Balthazar Bratt (South Park‘s Trey Parker), Gru (Steve Carell) finds out he has a bizarro twin brother with golden hair and an affinity for the color white. Dru (Also voiced by Carell) and Gru decide to take on Bratt together which leads to some Looney Tunes type action with some harmless cartoon violence and a few Minion montages along the way.
Despicable Me 3 improves upon the last few installments by keeping things simple this time around and tapping into parents’ 1980s nostalgia that dominates the film thanks to Gru’s new nemesis Bratt who is completely stuck in that decade. The Minions are much cuter in small doses and there are a few sweet scenes with Gru and the girls. The main problem this sequel suffers from is what has plagued the franchise since the end of the first film.
Gru is better as the villain trying to be a good Dad rather than the hero trying not to be evil. The first movie was such a good time seeing the bad guy manage three little girls and we just haven’t seen that enough in the franchise since. The series will never be on the same level as Pixar in terms of quality, but Despicable Me 3 still has some enjoyable moments and is harmless summer family fun at the movies.
Overall, I give Despicable Me 3 the rating of 2.75 out of 4 stars.
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