Despicable Me 3 is the somewhat unexpected sequel in the franchise and continues the story of Gru as he adjusts to life with his new family. Unfortunately, the sequel offers little charm and falls short in terms of humour for both children and adults.
The story follows Gru (Steve Carell) who, after losing his job at the Anti-Villain League thanks to the criminal Balthazar Bratt, finds out he has a long-lost twin brother by the name of Dru (also Carell). After a family reunion, which reveals to Gru his family’s villainous past, the twins decide to team up and steal the world’s largest diamond from Bratt, in order to better Dru’s criminal expertise and regain Gru’s job. However, they have to do this without the help of the minions who revolt against Gru after becoming fed up with his failures.
In terms of its positives, the film has some great animation with all of the characters and environments looking sharper and more vibrant than in previous films. The designs for many of the new characters as well are great with Bratt’s very eighties shoulder pads and awful mullet giving the criminal a distinctive look. The voice acting is also good, with Carell, of course, being the stand out as, despite them having essentially the same voice and accent, he is able to make a good enough distinction between the criminal twins.
Other than that, though, Despicable Me 3 is a very average kids film. It doesn’t bring much new to the table in terms of character development and we’re instead given a very mediocre story that, until the final act, fails to excite. There is a lot of exposition for the first forty-five minutes or so, with a lot of forced humour that is caught somewhere in the middle of being aimed at kids and adults; so much so, in fact, that younger audiences might not understand the jokes and older viewers just won’t find them funny.
This weak humour also plays its way into the film’s structure. The general layout of the film consists of a couple of relevant story scenes, with Gru or Lucy (Kirsten Wigg), followed by a completely out of place minions sequence which, despite being inconsequential to the plot, remains in the film purely to prop up the otherwise very slow first two acts. The minions are made to feel like a selling point more than ever in this movie and its shame that their usual strong involvement is sacrificed for a series of weak solo scenes.
The film also struggles to go as deep into its themes as its predecessors. There are a couple of subplots that, had they been explored, could have given the film more of a meaning. For example, Lucy tries throughout the movie to connect with her new daughters but instead of showing her struggle with motherhood, the film instead plays her inexperience off as a source of humour, which unfortunately doesn’t work. The same can be said for Gru and Dru’s relationship with their parents. It is mentioned more than once in the film that the brothers were a “disappointment” to those that raised them, but again this theme is used as a joke rather than as a chance for some character development.
Despicable Me 3 is an unnecessary sequel that does very little to add to the franchise. It’s a fine watch for kids as the animation looks great and the on-screen action does pick up towards the final act, but overall it won’t live long in the memory.
Verdict: A disappointing sequel that, whilst looking great, offers very little to audiences both young and old.
5 out of 10 cigars
Despicable Me 3, directed by Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin and Eric Guillon, is distributed in the UK by Universal, Certificate U