Despicable Me 2 should be a treat to anyone who was a fan of the first movie in the series. It shares the same sense of humor and fun that made the original so enjoyable. It does try to aim a little higher with its plot, and admittedly it doesn’t always hit the mark. But when it does miss, it at least lands right back to the levels of its predecessor, never lower.
Despicable Me 2 begins with Gru (Steve Carrel) , now a former supervillain, trying to adjust to being a family man. His life of crime is in his past, now his adopted daughters Margo, Edith and Agnes are his priority, and even his army of Minions spend their time helping Gru with his parenting. Gru’s henchman, Dr. Nefario, begins to miss working for a supervillain, so he and Gru part ways so that Nefario can find work elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Gru is reluctantly recruited into joining the Anti-Villain League, who seek his help as a former villain to uncover a mysterious plot. He is joined by fellow AVL agent Lucy Wilde (Kristin Wiig), a quirky and eccentric woman who serves as a great foil to the more cantankerous Gru.
Like its predecessor, Despicable Me 2 isn’t a groundbreaking animated feature by any means, but it does try to tell a bigger a story. It plays up many of the popular aspects of the original, with the Minions in particular getting a more prominent role in the plot (and somehow never feeling like they’re just taking time away from the main characters). This film’s villain, El Macho (Benjamin Bratt), is more fun than the baddies of the first film. Best of all, the humor and slapstick remains, and maintains all the energy and enthusiasm of the original.
The downsides to Despicable Me 2 are the side stories, which seem underdeveloped for many parts of the film, and capped off with abrupt conclusions. Dr. Nefario seems to switch his moral allegiances whenever it’s convenient for the plot, Margo gets a crush on El Macho’s son in a subplot that seems written off without any real resolution, and Gru forms a romance with Lucy that, while not without its sweet moments, feels a bit fragmented with everything else going on in the plot.
The subplots prove that Despicable Me 2 is perhaps working with more than it knows what to do with, but it never falls completely on its face. It’s fun and funny enough to make you not care much about its missteps.
Like its predecessor, Despicable Me 2 isn’t trying trying to be anything more than it is. It may not always know what to do with all its pieces, but it tinkers around with them in fun ways, and ties them all together with colorful animation, a good sense of humor, and all those wonderful Minions.