Despicable Me 3 is able to stand out as a fun addition to the summer blockbuster season by sticking to what works and riding fun characters as well as childish charm to an overall outstanding experience at the movies.
The third film in the Despicable Me franchise finds Gru (Steve Carrell) with an entire family -- having married Lucy (Kristen Wiig) in the previous installment -- but stuck with where is at in life. After losing his job, Gru is contacted by Dru (also Steve Carrell), the twin brother he never knew he had, who wants to continue the family business of villainy.
In the midst of all the family drama swirling around him, Gru must face-off against the '80s drop-out Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) for his biggest challenge yet.
While this isn't the most original story in the world, Despicable Me 3 makes it work by giving its entire focus to the characters. The girls are adorable - as always - and the story of Lucy's connection to them really drove their narrative. The role of becoming an adoptive or step-parent is a difficult thing, and Despicable Me 3 is able to capture Lucy's struggle in a way that many will be able to relate to.
On the subject of characters, this film does a great job of creating one that kids can laugh at, but adults can also relate to. The villainous Balthazar Bratt is trapped in the '80s, making his costume and quips a bit outrageous, but children love that kind of stuff and adults love nostalgia.
Any parent will recognize the gadgets he turned into weapons - including a Rubix Cube and keytar - or the music of Michael Jackson he dances into battle with.
Children's movies often try to hard to slide jokes in for adults -- and the Despicable Me franchise has been guilty of that in the past -- but this movie flips that script, building characters that are designed to appeal to adults, like Lucy and Bratt.
The other major victory that Despicable Me 3 can boast is its uncanny ability to move through the plot.
There isn't a moment during this film that drags, or feels too drawn-out. The directorial trio of Eric Guillon, Kyle Balda, and Pierre Coffin do an excellent job of moving on.
This is where the Minions come in.
Instead of staying with one exchange or scene too long, a minion is able to step in and make a joke to break things up. This strategy keeps the film moving in the right direction while also giving an appropriate amount of screen time to the little yellow guys.
Despicable Me 3 isn't flawless, but it's a more-than-enjoyable flick that every age can be drawn to. Of the two animated films currently in theaters, this is definitely the one to watch.0comments
Official Score - 4/5 Stars
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures