Despicable Me 2

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

A secret laboratory near the Arctic Circle is stolen by a mysterious vehicle using a giant magnet. The Anti-Villain League (AVL) tries to recruit former super-villain Gru, now a devoted father to Margo, Edith and Agnes, to find out which evil person stole the lab, which contained a powerful mutagen known as PX-41 which can make indestructible and extremely aggressive monsters out of living organisms. They asked Gru because he, being an ex-villain, knows how villains work. But Gru refuses to help, saying he is a legitimate businessman now. Then Gru learns that Dr. Nefario, his friend and assistant, has decided to leave him for new employment, because he “missed being evil.” Gru reluctantly partners with undercover AVL agent Lucy Wilde, and together they search The Paradise Shopping Mall, where they are given a bakery called “Bake My Day” as their headquarters. Gru suspects Mexican restaurant owner Eduardo Perez of being a super-villain called “El Macho”, a bad guy who supposedly died after being TNT-laden, skysurfing a shark into the center of an active volcano. Gru and Lucy break into Eduardo’s restaurant at night, but only find a jar of secret-recipe salsa and nothing to prove that Eduardo is the culprit. Meanwhile, Agnes expresses her wish of having a mother someday and suspects that Gru will fall in love with Lucy. Gru tells her that his relationship with Lucy is strictly professional.

Gru and Lucy investigate wig merchant Floyd Eagle-san, but Gru is still suspicious of Eduardo. After the investigation, Gru is set up on a horrible dinner date with a woman named Shannon, who notices Gru’s wig and threatens to humiliate him. Luckily, Lucy bumps into them and rescues him from the date by shooting Shannon with a mild moose tranquilizer dart. They take Shannon home, and after they say good night, Gru realizes that Agnes was right: he has fallen in love with Lucy.

The next day, the AVL arrests Floyd Eagle-san (who claims that he was framed) because an almost-empty mutagen jar was found in his shop. The investigation is closed, and Lucy is reassigned to Australia. Before leaving, Lucy gives Gru her lipstick taser to remind him of her. This leaves Gru heartbroken because he loves her, but he cannot find the courage to ask her out on a date. Instead he brings the girls to Eduardo’s Cinco de Mayo party and finds proof that the Mexican restaurateur is in fact the super-villain El Macho. Gru discovers that he (and his helper, who turns out to be Dr. Nefario) have captured and mutated a large number of Gru’s minions using the PX-41, turning them into insane, savage purple-furred monsters. El Macho plans to send rockets full of mutated Minions to major cities and achieve world domination. El Macho emphasizes that he and Gru could team up and they would become evil again followed by ruling the city, but Gru avoids answering and leaves with his daughter Margo, who in the meantime has broken up with Eduardo’s two-timing son, Antonio, who had left Margo for another girl. In his vengeance, Gru uses his freeze-ray to freeze Antonio in a block of ice.

On her flight to Australia, Lucy realizes she has feelings for Gru, so she jumps out of the plane and hang-glides down to the party. She is captured by El Macho, who finds out she is an AVL agent after Pollito, his pet chicken, retrieves her AVL ID badge from her purse. Fortunately Dr. Nefario lets Gru know what is happening. In order to rescue Lucy, Gru visits El Macho along with two minions covered in purple paint, pretending he was captured by two of the mutant creatures. Fighting alongside his daughters and Dr. Nefario, Gru and his team spray all of the mutated minions with jelly containing a powerful antidote that Dr. Nefario made, whereupon they revert to their friendly yellow state. El Macho then takes the mutagen himself, but Gru and Dr. Nefario overcome him using a fart gun and Lucy’s lipstick-taser.

Lucy is, however, already strapped to a TNT-loaded shark rocket. Gru starts to untie her, but the rocket-launch remote button is pressed by Pollito. The rocket flies towards the same lava-spewing volcano where El Macho had previously faked his death. Lucy accepts Gru’s invitation for a date, and the pair dives into the safety of the ocean seconds before the rocket enters the volcano.

147 dates later, Gru and Lucy are married and Margo, Edith and Agnes finally have a mother. The minions close with a rendition of “I Swear” and “Y.M.C.A” while the whole family dances happily.

REVIEW:

So, it would appear that today is sequel day. This afternoon, I watched Kick-Ass 2 and now it is time for Despicable Me 2. Why do I suddenly want a box of Twinkies? This is a film that critics and fans were raving about, and it nearly shattered the box office during the summer, staying in the top 5 for way longer than it was supposed to. That means this has to have been an awesome movie, right?

What is this about?

Arch-villain Gru and his three orphan girls return for more shady exploits in this wacky animated feature voiced by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. The story features new and eccentric characters and a plot to abduct Gru’s team of minions.

What did I like?

Emphasis. There are a couple of minor storylines that are touched on, such as the oldest of Gru’s girls having her first boyfriend or the obvious (dare I say obvious) hookup of Gru and Lucy, as well as some other lesser subplots. However, none of these take center stage, as the film makes sure to not stray too far from the central plot. Sure, it is nice to show Gru is a caring father for his girls and that he wants to be loved, but that isn’t what this is about. I applaud the filmmakers for staying on target, as many films of this nature are known to go off in totally different directions and never get back to what the films are really about.

Minions. If you know anything about this franchise, then you are more than aware that it is the minions that are the real selling point. The filmmakers know where their bread and butter is coming from and, aside from the forthcoming Minions movie (which they plugged in the end credits), this is their movie. Everyone else is just supporting cast while they do the kind of stuff we used to see in cartoons of yesteryear and every Saturday morning growing up.

Animation. There are some gorgeous scenes in the film, especially when the minions are relaxing before being taken to be mutated. The mall is also pretty impressive. What really struck me, though, was how that the characters seem, at least to me, to look more lifelike than before, while still maintaining their animated feel.

What didn’t I like?

Telegraph. Maybe it was just me, but I felt as if everything in this film was either predictable, or in the case of Dr. Nefario, telegraphed. For a kid’s film this works, but there are some adults watching that perhaps want a little more suspense, if you will. Perhaps if the Anti-Villain League would have been in cahoots with El Macho and they turned on Gru for leaving villainy, that would have been an avenue that could have been pursued and not have been so obvious.

Bailar. AAAARRRGGGHHHH!!! Another dance and the end of an animated film. Wait, hold on…this is a wedding, so it makes a little bit of sense, and the Minions singing “I Swear” by All-4-One (complete in 90s clothes) was nice, but I think it is long past the time when we put this tired gimmick to rest. What purpose does it really serve, other than to fill out a few minutes at the end of the film? Sure, it makes the kids happy and all, but so do silly scenes during the credits. Don’t even get me started on that “Happy” montage!

Matchmaker, matchmaker, find me a match. I realize that Gru’s interaction with his matchmaking neighbor was just to provide some comedic moments and also show that he is just a normal guy in the neighborhood, but I didn’t care for it. Granted, I’m not a particularly a fan of annoying neighbors and/or matchmakers, so there is a bit of bias there, but this woman is everything that I would never want coming anywhere near me or trying to fix me up with anything she knows (unless it was Nasim Pedrad, who voices her).

It would have been perfect timing if Red 2 would have come the same day as Despicable Me 2. The original films came the same day, so why couldn’t the sequels follow suit? Admittedly, I don’t recall Despicable Me that well, for whatever reason, but I do remember liking it. The plague of sequelitis has not his this film, as it is fresh, fun and enjoyable. I highly recommend it as a must-see for the whole family!

5 out of 5 stars

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One Response to “Despicable Me 2”

  1. Mystery Man Says:

    Reblogged this on Mr Movie Fiend's Movie Blog.

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