To continue on with my weekend of movie reviews I give you: Despicable Me 2.
I am a fan of cute movies. Well, that's not entirely accurate. I am, let's say, obsessed with cute movies. Yeah, that's more like it. As a general rule the Pixar movies are my favorites but every now and again Dreamworks or Universal will come out with some serious contenders. And that's what they did in 2010 when they unveiled Despicable Me- a movie so cute it permanently stole my heart away.
If you haven't seen Despicable Me I'm going to have to request that you go watch it. Now. Seriously- stop reading this, hop on Netflix or wherever you get your movies from and go watch it. I'll wait.
We all on the same page now? Cutest damned movie in the history of cute movies, right? Even cuter than WALL-E which I didn't think anything could be. But it is.
It isn't just the minions though they are, by far, the biggest selling point of this franchise. It's the love story between a hardened master criminal and a trio of orphaned girls. All seeking the acceptance and love that they've been denied and finding it within each other. And it helps that Agnes is the cutest little girl ever. (Though Boo is a close second.)
At any rate, my point in going on and on about the first movie is simply to say that everything that is good about the 2nd movie is what is good about the first. The minions are still the big draw and their assorted misadventures dominate the funny moments. When they start getting abducted a little ways in the stakes for our favorite yellow GMOs get raised even higher and an ending where Gru has to rescue them from the new master criminal is the most exciting thing going on here. They were, are and will remain the heart of these movies.
The other main source of my love for Despicable Me is, as I said, the relationships between Gru and his daughters. And that's still the best love story in this movie. Now a semi-regular dad Gru is doing his best to keep his girls happy and whether that means dressing up as a fairy princess for Agnes (who is still the cutest), dodging Edith's sword while she's playing ninja or trying not to kill Margo's new crush he's going to do it. The love that this man shares with his three daughters is still what pulls on your heartstrings here, though it's not the focus.
No, the focus is his new crush: secret agent in training Lucy Wilde (voiced by the impeccable Kristen Wiig) who recruits him to help solve the mystery of a missing top secret research laboratory. It's no surprise that the bumbling, insecure and terribly self-critical Gru was not a hit with the ladies whilst growing up and that the pressure his daughters give him to start dating is met with anxiety and dismissal.
But Lucy is not like other girls and she's pretty bumbling herself so when a spark starts between these two the ending is written well before the story really begins. I have to say this love story fell a little flat for me in comparison, but when was a sequel ever as good the first movie? Lucy is still great for laughs and Agnes' poem to her at the end is the biggest "Awwww" of the film. (And the minion rendition of All 4 One's "I Swear" is sheer brilliance.)
Before I end I must mention the villain: El Macho. He's tough, he's smart and he's stolen away Gru's greatest assets without him even realizing it. And, as if all that weren't enough, he's got a killer guard chicken. He's a formidable foe and deserves all the screen time he gets. Plus, any fan of Mexican wrestling has gotta love the costume!
In the end, Despicable Me 2 is a great follow up in the franchise filled with all the humor, heart warming moments and adorableness that made the first one so great. As many things as there were about it that didn't work as well as in the first one I can't really take issue with any of them because at the end of the day it's another movie. Sort of like a second bowl of ice cream can't possibly be a bad thing even if it's not as amazing as the first. Which is why it goes without saying that when the minion movie comes out next year I will be eagerly awaiting its arrival.