Alright, so in order to talk about this movie, I’d better get to talking about what I think of the franchise as a whole.
I liked DESPICABLE ME (2010). It was a heartfelt, yet silly, animated movie. Plus, as anyone can tell you, I’m a sucker for adoption stories. It was cute, it was fun and funny. As I said, it was good.
DESPICABLE ME 2 (2013) wasn’t… bad. There was a charm factor to it, but it definitely didn’t have the same emotional weight that the first film had. A cute enough movie to warrant a sequel, I suppose, but there were just a few too many subplots.
Next up was the inevitable MINIONS (2015). Their own spin-off slash prequel shouldn’t have been a surprise considering the popularity of the little yellow guys. But to be honest, I didn’t think it was that bad. I enjoyed that little Minion with his teddy bear and I did think there was a genuine heart to the movie. Plus, I enjoyed Sandra Bullock as the villain Scarlet Overkill. But yeah, I said that is wasn’t “that bad,” meaning that I didn’t think it was good. It was still laced in way too many bad and unfunny jokes, and in an animated comedy, that’s sort of a necessity. But as it went, I didn’t hate it.
Now for this one. Once again, I don’t think it’s going to be very good. Why? Unknown brother. Of course there is. And his name is Dru. Really…? Already, Gru is borderlining on annoying, but what made him work in the first one was that he had a well-defined character and a great character arch. Had that not been the case, he’d be right up there with Olaf from FROZEN (2013). I can’t imagine that Gru will have the same arch, or certainly this new shoe-horned brother. Also, calling it out, I think the villain will annoy me too, and even the Minions this time around. Seriously getting tired of seeing Minion butt. Although it does tickle me that they’re rebelling against Gru for not being a villain anymore.
Well, here’s the voice talent. Starring, we have Steve Carell (CAFÉ SOCIETY , EVAN ALMIGHTY , OVER THE HEDGE , and upcoming biopic BATTLE OF THE SEXES  and video game adaptation MINECRAFT ), Kristen Wiig (MASTERMINDS , THE MARTIAN , TV show THE LOONEY TUNES SHOW, and the upcoming animated DreamWorks film HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 3 ), Trey Parker (TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE , BASEKETBALL , and TV show SOUTHPARK), and Pierre Coffin (MINIONS , DESPICABLE ME 2 , DESPICABLE ME , and the upcoming MINIONS 2 ). In support, we have Miranda Cosgrove (YOURS, MINE, & OURS , SCHOOL OF ROCK , and TV show ICARLY), Dana Gaier (DESPICABLE ME 2 and DESPICABLE ME), Nev Scharrel (known for shorts and TV shows), Julie Andrews (DESPICABLE ME, THE PRINCESS DIARIES , and THE SOUND OF MUSIC ), and Jenny Slate (GIFTED , THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS , and TV show PARKS AND REC).
Now for the crew. There are three directors: Kyle Balda (MINIONS, THE LORAX , and the upcoming MINIONS 2), Pierre Coffin (MINIONS, DESPICABLE ME 2. and DESPICABLE ME), and Eric Guillon, making his co-directorial debut. Congrats, sir. Co-writing the script are Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, both known for THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS, HORTON HEARS A WHO! (2008), BUBBLE BOY (2001), and both are slated to write the upcoming THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 (2019) and Daurio is slated to also write MINIONS 2. Finally, co-composing the score is Heitor Pereira (THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE , IT’S COMPLICATED , CURIOUS GEORGE , and the upcoming animated film THE NUT JOB 2: NUTTY BY NATURE , and Scooby-Doo remake SCOOBY ) and Pharrell Williams (HIDDEN FIGURES , THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 , and DESPICABLE ME).
Overall, this definitely won’t be the best Despicable Me movie, but I’m hoping there will still be enough humor and heart to carry it enough to make it a bearable experience.
This is my honest opinion of: DESPICABLE ME 3
Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) and his wife Lucy (voiced by Kristen Wiig) have been fired from the Anti-Villain League after failing to capture the nefarious Balthazar Bratt (voiced by Trey Parker). Not long after, Gru receives a letter from a long-lost twin brother he never knew he had named Dru (voiced by Carrell). When they meet, Gru finds out that Dru is a wannabe villain and wants to pull a heist with Gru, despite him leaving his villainous ways behind.
Alright, alright, it’s not as bad as I thought. I’m not wrong about it not being the best of the franchise, but it’s got some good in it to make it enjoyable enough.
First, the negative. If you thought Gru’s voice was annoying, you’re going to get it double because Dru is not any less ear-bleedingly obnoxious to listen to. Again, the reason why his voice was tolerable in the first film was because he had legit character arch that was compelling and had heart. The second film is basically taking that heart away for a half baked romantic comedy, which wasn’t nearly as interesting. Now we have a forced discovery of a twin brother who isn’t nearly any more tolerable, nor is he an interesting character. He’s this rich and successful guy who somehow knows that his entire family heritage is villains and wants in on the action and infamy, despite not knowing that Gru put his villainy behind him. On paper, it doesn’t sound that bad, but the presentation of the character is annoying and doesn’t have the same emotional gravity that the first one had. Together, Gru and Dru are loud, never a quiet moment, it’s a chore to sit through.
And Agnes (voiced by Nev Scharrel) didn’t make too much sense to me this time around. I mean, this complaint is pretty mild by comparison to any scene being shared with Gru and Dru, but… here it is. I know she’s a little girl, at that age where she has a right to think that unicorns exist. So when she’s at this festival and meets a bartender who tells her a story about seeing a unicorn in the woods, she gets excited and looks for one. The conclusion of this little adventure is a little goat appearing that has one horn and Agnes thinks it’s a unicorn. Right because it’s white… stands on four legs… has one horn, not even on its forehead mind you, which is on the side of its head where a goat’s horns would be… and suddenly she thinks it’s a unicorn. Like I said, I’m aware that Agnes is a little girl, but… no, even when I was her age, I knew the difference between a horse and a goat. Maybe this is supposed to be the blossoming of a dim-witted personality that she’ll adopt in a sequel, or something, but it’s a little weird that she doesn’t know the difference.
Actually, come to think of it, that could kind of work. When she reaches Margo’s (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove) age and she still believes in mythical creatures and uses Gru’s high tech resources to hunt them down for cuddling purposes, even though no one believes her and tries to talk her out of wasting resources and time. That’s got some comedic possibilities. That’s not where this franchise will go, but that’d be interesting.
Other pointless plot threads include some boy having a crush on Margo that isn’t mutual, the minions quit due to no more villainous activity and wind up in prison, which is forgettable, we don’t get enough screen time with Balthazar Bratt, and a wasted use of Slate’s talent as the new boss of the Anti-Villain League, who has incredible little screen time, and that sums up my primary issues with the movie, which are consistent throughout.
I think about the only thing I actually liked about Dru was that he was incompetent as a villain. In any other movie, I feel like he’d be written as significantly more talented and threatening as a villain and Gru would be jealous of his abilities and eventually conspire against him. Thankfully, that’s not the case. The writers were smart enough to hold true to the given plot and rolled with it without trying for too many surprises and twists and turns, which I found refreshing.
Bar none my favorite moments in the movie are when Lucy is trying to connect with Margo, Edith (voiced by Dana Gaier), and Agnes as their step-mother. While I thought that she was such an unfunny tool in the second film, I love her character here as she tries to set a good example, but constantly finds herself in a position to beat up people, or causes more problems for the girls. To be frank, I’d have rather kept the focus on her trying to be a mom to the girls than Gru and Dru trying to be brothers. There’s emotional weight to that and does have a sweet resolution to it, but it’s clearly what the movie should have been about. Plus, feminism and “girl power” is all the rage these days, so a movie about a step-mom teaching her three step-daughters to be resourceful, self-sufficient, cautious, and tough, while finding a balance of learning to be compassionate, open to receive and offer help, and all that good stuff that women and little girls should learn. But nope, it’s the misadventures of the dual performance of Steve Carrell. … Woo…
Overall, I can’t say that this was awful, or even really that bad. It’s not very good, what with a long string of unfunny jokes, the painful inclusion of Dru, and some questionable subplots and character choices. But where the movie works the best is when Lucy is trying to win the hearts and minds of the three girls and leaving me hopeful with certain possibilities for any future installments. If you wanted to bring your kids to see it, I’d say it’s fine for them. There’s better kids movies out there, but this won’t harm them any. But if you’re an adult movie-goer and thought this was cute, eh, watch the first one again. It’s highly superior. I neither strongly recommend it, nor do I exclaim to stay away.
My honest rating for DESPICABLE ME 3: 3/5