For years Pixar have ruled the roost with their animated films and its really only been over the past few years that their only competitor has been Illumination Studios whose films have steadily grown in stature and now regularly earn just shy of a billion dollars. Most notably those films have included the ‘Despicable Me’ franchise and the glorious ‘Minions’ and now after a four year break it’s time for ‘Despicable Me 3’.
Gru, the super villain turned super agent, is now married to another super agent, Lucy and the film opens with him and his wife Lucy attempting to capture Balthazar Bratt, a child TV star of the 80’s whose show was cancelled when he turned into a teenager and bearing a grudge against the world he’s now become a real life super villain. If you’ve seen the first trailer then you’ve seen the opening scene of the film and it’s still as funny with Bratt, voiced by South Park’s Trey Parker, still attired in a shoulder padded tracksuit and mullet hair cut is a glorious creation insisting on dance fights to classic 80’s music. For parents the music alone will bring back retro memories (some good, some just enjoyably naff) taking in Michael Jackson’s Bad to that riff from Dire Straits Money for Nothing to Phil Collins Sussudio and its one of the many delights of the film.
Having been booted out of the Anti Villain League for failing to catch Bratt, Gru and Lucy go home only to find that he has a long lost twin brother, Dru, who is the polar opposite to him. Handsome, upbeat and successful the only difference is that Dru wants to team up with Gru for one last diabolical plan which goes against everything Gru now stands for. Gru is futhr pressured into returning to his old ways when the minions want a return to villainy too and abandon him to make their own way in the world of criminality. At the same time Bratt is planning his revenge on both Hollywood and Gru. And as if Gru doesn’t have enough on his plate his adopted girls have their own story as the youngest goes on a quest for a unicorn and the eldest accidently ends up getting engaged to a local lad. Yes, there’s a lot going on in this film and its all packed into a tight 90 minutes.
This is as hilariously inventive as the previous films with some very funny moments but it suffers from a similar problem as ‘Lethal Weapon 4’, ‘Spiderman 3’ & ‘Fast and Furious 8’ in that the ‘family’ in the cast expands with each film making it difficult for each character to have a decent story or sometimes even to justify their existence. Most notably is the jettisoning of Russell Brand’s Dr Nefario and it does seem that Hollywood, having been so enamoured with the comedian who dresses like a pirate that they gave the lead in films like ‘Get Him to the Greek’ and the remake of ‘Arthur’ but quickly tired of him when those films flopped. On the other hand Steve Coogan returns who, having played the villain so well, in the second film, here voices two different characters and Julie Andrews adds a bit of old school class to the proceedings playing Gru’s mother . The minions are still as deliriously bonkers as ever but with every character jostling for screen time all the roles are somewhat reduced and Bratt is such a fun villain it would be a shame to not have him reappear in his own film.
At 90 minutes this is exactly the right length and the film moves so quickly and so inventively it never lets up and so confident are the makers of it being a success that it makes it quite clear where an inevitable fourth film will be heading.
Here’s the 3rd trailer……