I hate the phrase “family film”. Whenever a film is described as a “family film”, it means that the film is SUITABLE for the whole family, i.e, the kids. Very rarely does a family film actually ENTERTAIN the whole family. Despicable Me 2 is one of these rarities.
I needn’t say anything more than the variety of people in the audience. Being able to fill a cinema with people aged from 5 to 55 really takes some doing, and for that, we can congratulate the first film. Being a huge success, audiences (including me) expected big things from the sequel. It didn’t disappoint. I was entertained. My 20 year old sister was entertained. The kids at the front were entertained. The elderly folks at the back were entertained. My dear mother actually cried at the end! But what is it that makes it so good?
First off, the story is great. Steve Carrell returns as Gru: ex-super-villain turned father of three young girls. When a secret base housing a dangerous, experimental chemical is stolen, Gru is employed to find the culprit and bring him to justice. This teams him up with the extremely excitable Agent Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig), and together they work to find the villain, recover the chemical and save the world. Sure it’s generic, but it’s done well, and the development of Gru and Lucy’s relationship throughout really helps to add something for the older members of the audience.
Alongside Gru and Lucy, we have Margo, Edith, and Agnes, the three girls Gru adopted. They play a larger role in the sequel – Margo has a romantic interest, they play a part in the tear-jerking (albeit rather predictable) ending, and even participating in the final attack on the base of the villain.
Unfortunately, despite their increase in role, some of their character seems to have been dialled back. Particularly Agnes, the youngest, who provided a personal highlight in the first film with her “IT’S SO FLUFFY I’M GONNA DIE!” reaction to a unicorn toy. Her crazy attitude and incredibly cute sweetness made her a favourite character for me. However, most of this is gone in DM 2. She has no more moments of pure insanity that I so loved, and now just has the cute factor. Her desire for a mother figure is somewhat adorable, but she has been knocked from the top spot by the Minions.
Oh the Minions. I challenge anyone to maintain a straight face when those lovable little characters take the screen. As with the girls, they play a much larger role in this than in the first. Aside from being essential to the main plot, they have maintained their craziness that made them so fun to watch, and some have even been given names and personalities. This made them seem more like true characters rather than just humorous devices, and I am not complaining. I’d happily pay to watch a spin-off film starring just the Minions.
For a film to entertain young children, yet have features that make older audiences tear up takes something pretty special. Despicable Me 2 is a film where I can recommend it to anyone, and pretty much guarantee that you will find something that you’ll like. This is a well-written film, that is delivered well by a great cast, supported by Russell Brand and Steve Coogan, and is one that I heartily recommend to everyone. So what are you waiting for? Off you go! Now!