The Despicable Me franchise seems to be going by the “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” rule after three finically successful “Despicable” films and the billion dollar 2015’s Minions spin-off it was only inevitable until we got yet another sequel. However while it may be an economical success very little about this franchise speaks of reason to continue. Too obnoxious for adults and belittling to children, Minions: The Rise of Gru is another cog in a corporate wheel that flushes out mindless and exhausting junk. There will always be the argument that “it’s just a kids movie” but when Sony can put out Spider-Verse, Dreamworks can give us the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy and just the mere existence of Pixar there is very little excuse for a “kids film” to be so dull. In fact it’s downright despicable how little this film even bothers to try.
Following the MINIONS the little yellow Twinkie lookalikes have now found their new leader, a 12 year old maniacal Gru (Steve Carell). Gru wants to be a member of the Vicious Six a group of supervillains. Their former leader Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin) has been betrayed by the team and their new leader Belle Bottom (Taraj P. Henson) seeks to use an ancient Chinese medallion that will unleash the zodiac animal warrior and their powers. When Gru decides to steal the medallion and is kidnapped by Knuckles it leads the minions on a rescue mission for their leader. Yet another film where Gru wants to be the most evil but soon discovers there are truly bad people out there grows old very fast. It also doesn’t help that the film, at only 85 minutes, keeps Gru and his minions separate for most of it. One of the few things that made the first film work emotionally was Gru’s refusal to accept family when it is family that will save him. The minions are his family and it is clear that the main three Bob, Stuart and Kevin love him. One early on moment that gets a big chuckle is Gru getting picked up from school by his family which is just the three in disguise. It’s a cute little moment that enforces the notion that a true family is the one we pick. In fact a movie involving Gru and the Minions going on a road trip to become the most evil supervillains would have been worth watching. Instead it relies on cheap gags from the minions way too much slapstick and a boring buddy comedy between Gru and Knuckles.
There isn’t much to talk about when it comes to Rise of Gru. Sure some may find the antics amusing and the soundtrack full of 70s classics helps it work at times, but this franchise which has no end in sight needs to find a way to evoke any emotions outside of boredom. If the minions and Gru are a true family then it is one that you want to spend as little as time with as possible.
MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU IS IN THEATERS EVERYWHERE