Despicable Me 3

Year: 2017
Director(s): Kyle Balda, Peter Coffin
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Jenny Slate

Written by Andrew Garrison

Whilst I enjoyed the previous two ‘Despicable Me’ films, 2015’s the ‘Minions’ movie was a bit of a disappointment, being tolerable at best film. Following that, my anticipation for this movie had dropped considerably, however I was hopeful that bringing Gru and the gang back would elevate the film over the previous.  Thankfully, it did, but not nearly as much as I’d prefer.

Despicable Me 3′ tells the story of Gru (Carell) who is now working as an agent for the Anti Villain League alongside his wife, Lucy (Wiig), and this time ex-childhood TV star of the 80s, Balthazar Bratt, is the one being a nuisance. Lucy and Gru end up getting get sacked from their jobs, resulting in Gru suffering a personal loss of purpose. It is then discovered that Gru has a long-lost brother named Dru (also voiced by Carell). The two siblings reconnect and quickly devise a complicated heist that is ripe with ulterior motives.

Whilst ‘Despicable Me 3’ wasn’t a complete disaster, it did have several issues worth noting.  Of the three films, I felt the writing in this one was the weakest. In past films, the humour hit its mark often, and there were also moments that pulled at your heartstrings.  In this third installment however, the heart is missing. There are a couple of moments that rise to the right level, but plenty do not, and you will leave this movie with dry eyes.

As for the humour, there are several very funny moments in the film, however, there are also many jokes that were weak and missed their mark because of poor timing, delivery, and overall substance. The first act was quite hilarious, but the jokes diminished drastically in the latter two-thirds of the film. As a result, the first act is the strongest, but the movie drags in the middle. You wind up with a few laughs, a little bit of heart, and then a ton of downtime.  Perhaps the biggest issue here is the film touched on a subject that could have delivered the greatest amount of heart, allowing us to grow closer to these characters, but this was never fully developed. 

The humour saves this movie from being dismal.  When the jokes hit right, they were hilarious, and this was mostly thanks to Trey Parker as Balthazar Bratt; a 1980’s childhood star turned evil. The sight gags, sheer energy of the character, and 1980’s references are thoroughly entertaining.

Gru, Lucy, and the minions had personal story arcs that needed to be fulfilled.  Whilst Gru and his relationship with Dru carries the film, Lucy has her own issues to work out as she is filling a very unfamiliar motherhood role. This story arc showed promise, but I just wish it was explored more, however overall I was satisfied with the conclusion. 

Like many, I prefer when the minions are used sparingly, their story here is entertaining, but it did not have me longing for more.  It works well enough for the construct of this movie and there certainly were some humourous minion moments. Let’s be honest, if not for the minion madness that has spread across the globe, these little guys would still be hilarious in small doses.

Finally, the connection between Gru and Dru and their brotherly dynamic is interesting; both have expectations of the other and both have to make adjustments accordingly.  Although much of the best potential is wasted, there is enjoyment to be had in seeing these two bond as brothers.  In the end, I like the lessons that Gru learns about his purpose in life, and whilst his character doesn’t alter as much as one would hope, there is a noticeable change. 

It may have been less than stellar in comparison to other ‘Despicable Me’ movies, but it was considerably better than ‘Minions’. ‘Despicable Me 3’ has enough humour to keep all ages entertained for the runtime, however it had potential to do so much more and never fully delivered on it.  

Andrew’s rating: 6.5 out of 10 

 

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