Little cinemagoers have had a rough go of it lately with Transformers: The Last Knight mucking up cinemas across the globe and Wonder Woman being a little too intense for kiddies there’s been nothing available for the family. Well, guess what folks Gru (Steve Carrell) and the gang have returned to bring some light whimsy into your day with their latest adventure in Despicable Me 3.
Despicable Me 3 opens with Gru (Carrell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) on a mission for the AVL (Anti-Villain League), and their target is Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) an 80’s child star turned supervillain. The mission goes south, the villain gets away, and Gru and Lucy lose their jobs. Once the family comes to terms with this Gru learns that he has a long-lost brother and so they decide to meet this brother, and from there hilarity ensues.
Despicable Me 3 is a gorgeous film, bright and filled with vivid colours and they give the characters an impressive level of life. Each film in the Despicable Me franchise goes from strength to strength thanks to the team at Illumination Entertainment. This vibrant and sharp animation style continues to give the Despicable Me franchise an excellent style unique to itself and the action set pieces are also given this bright polish. A particular favourite scene of mine involves Gru his brother Dru facing off against an army of 80’s toys, and it looks stunning, so well set up and enjoyable as hell.
Fans of the characters need not worry as all of them return, with varying degrees of success. Gru and his little girls still have an excellent chemistry, Agnes (Nev Scharrel), in particular, is fantastic and incredibly charming standing out in several of the scenes she’s in. Unfortunately, Wiig as Lucy does nothing particularly funny in the film though she is given a fascinating subplot of her own where she is trying to figure out what kind of mom she wants to be to these new girls in her life. Sadly though the film never fully capitalises on the emotional potential that was available to them and that’s a major disappointment. The two biggest problems in the movie sadly are the latest introductions to the franchise, Balthazar Bratt (Parker) and long lost brother Dru (Carrell). Balthazar is an interesting villain with a quirky backstory and with a comedic talent like Trey Parker voicing him he has a unique voice in the film. Unfortunately, this voice is drowned out by the unbelievably annoying Dru who is a human facepalm meme. There’s nothing charming, interesting or even well developed about Dru but he’s at the centre of Despicable Me 3, and so Balthazar and his story are shoved into the background. On top of that Balthazar is given very little screen time, so his impact feels minimal in the greater scheme of the story. There are also long periods of time where the jokes were not strong enough but thankfully the minions also return, and their subplot is injected throughout helping to bring more humour to the film with a much more visual aspect.
Directors Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda have made a fun and pretty film, and the theme of family is still strong in Despicable Me 3 which is one of the reasons why this is such a charming film franchise. Unfortunately, Despicable Me 3 is easily the weakest in the franchise.