Last weekend, while hanging out at my wife’s parents’ house, we decided to watch Despicable Me 2. I remember liking the original just fine and Lu seemed to dig what she saw on TV not long ago, so it seemed like a good call. And it was!
While the first film focused on evil scientist Gru moving from the dark side to the light while also governing a huge number of tiny little monsters known as Minions and adopting three sisters named Margo, Edith, and Agnes. In this new film, Gru gets recruited by The Anti-Villain League, an organization along the lines of Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. that focuses solely on acts of large scale villainy like stealing monuments and the like. Gru gets teamed up with Agent Lucy Wilde and goes undercover in a mall to find out which of the shop owners is also a villain who stole a mutagen that turns things crazy and purple. Along the way, Gru and Lucy fall for each other, Margo falls for a boy she meets at the mall and the storylines collide when that boy’s dad turns out to be one of the suspects. Hilarity and action ensue.
I won’t get too much more into the plot. I think if you liked the first film, you’ll like this one, though I will warn that it gets a bit dark and scary at times. See, the mutagen serum gets used on the Minions and turns them into crazy purple things. Our daughter didn’t seem to mind these slobbering maniacs while watching the movie, but did say things like, “You’re not turning purple?” as she went to bed. It’s been a few days since we saw the movie and she hasn’t brought it back up, so I’m hoping the idea of her mother and I turning into crazy monsters has left her tiny brain.
In addition to the fun and action I found myself really enjoying how the female characters were handled in the movie. The three girls offer a great variety of characteristics and even though they’re not necessarily the focal point of the story, they do have some great scenes. Margot specifically goes through her first heartbreak which I thought was handled well without getting too serious for this kind of movie. I was also a big fan of Lucy Wilde and not just because I like her name. She’s a pretty great spy who’s also pretty goofy. This is a refreshing change from the badass hero trope that we tend to see in characters like that. The fact that she gets kidnapped and has to be saved by Gru at the end might be considered problematic, but it seemed more a function of the story than relying on the old damsel in distress trope.
All in all I give this movie a big ol’ thumbs up and think it’s great for all kids, especially little girls who are looking for potential role models out there.