Review: Despicable Me 2

In 2010, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Studios struck gold with Despicable Me, as they produced an animated feature every bit as entertaining at those produced by Pixar or Dreamworks. The massive success of course would lead to a sequel which we get with the aptly named Despicable Me 2. While this film is entertaining, it also plays things incredibly safe and by the numbers, and doesn't quite measure up as a result.

Despicable Me 2 finds Gru, our reformed super-villain hero from the first film, living his quiet life in Suburbia with his three young daughters Margo, Edith, and Agnes. In the midst of a birthday party for Agnes, Gru is swept away by the Anti-Villain League, or AVL for short, to identify and stop a super-criminal who stole an entire arctic research facility. Along the way Gru must balance his new job, which includes getting along with his AVL assistant Lucy, as well as managing the rigors of parenthood as he attempts to unravel the evil plot.

If the premise sounds familiar, it's because it borrows very heavily from the first film. The movie certainly caters to its audience (aka children), and manages to entertain despite it being entirely predictable. As in the first film, the Minions are probably the most entertaining entity in the movie from scene to scene. The voice work is well done as you would expect with Steve Carell's Gru and Kristen Wiig's Lucy being the best of the bunch. It's a shame though that, unlike the Toy Story movies or Up for example, Despicable Me 2 can't find a balance between being entertaining for kids while still engaging adults looking for something to engage and entertain them intellectually. The only thing that caught my attention in Despicable Me 2 was the few spy movie references sprinkled in.

Despicable Me 2 does what it set out to do: be an entertaining movie that kids will drag their parents to see and rake in a ton of money no doubt. If it was willing to take a chance or two though, it could have stood a chance to be as memorable or good as the first entry in the series. Instead, you have a competent, but in the end entirely forgettable, film that still will probably pull in the necessary funds to greenlight a third entry in the series in 2016.

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