Despicable Me 3

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Photo by D. Tempesta

Simply put, this movie was fun to watch. In the animated world, no one does sequels quite as well as Toy Story. But I would consider Despicable Me 3 to be a successful sequel. It had everything you would expect from a Despicable Me movie, a great performance by Steve Carell, wonderful emotion provided by the girls, and minions. Yet the story was strong enough to not feel forced or cheap.

The first Despicable Me movie is all about the minions and the girls with Gru, but the minions were the real reason we watched. The second film was all about Lucy, Gru, and the girls. Despicable Me 3 took a different path; I think it was all about the girls and Lucy. Sure, there was a fun plot line with Gru and Dru, but this didn’t happen until just shy of halfway through the film. Even so, their time on screen was a fairly small portion of the rest of the movie. Similarly, both the minions and Balthazar Bratt had a decent part in the film, but each was still limited. On the other hand, we were returning to the story of Lucy trying to become a mom every couple of scenes. I am glad that we did, because it was a beautiful story. I nearly cried at least three times watching this movie.

Lucy is hypercompetent at her job; she always has been. But she has never been a mother before and was finding it hard to be one. She tried repeatedly to connect with the girls, but her efforts did not warrant success. The concept itself is not original, but the way the story was told this time was excellent. Lucy did not need to change who she was to get the girls to like her, but you could get the sense that she felt she needed to. This is why it felt so good when Lucy realized she just needed to be herself to be a good mom. The most satisfying moment (moments, I suppose) of the film is when Lucy saves the girls from the tower and when Agnes tells her good night. I consider these one moment because they need each other; neither would be as good without the other. While they are chronologically distanced, they are intricately paired. Watching Lucy navigate this newfound motherhood was great fun and emotionally satisfying.

It probably helped that each of the girls received much more character development in this movie than in the other two. All three had their own stories independent of Gru’s. The only time this happened before was when Margo discovered boys in the second film. But even this story was used as a plot device more than true character development. In this movie alone, we watched Margo and Lucy navigate a new relationship, Edith show off her mischievous side, and Agnes find a “unicorn”. They each became more to all of us. My only mild complaint is that the humor was simpler than the previous two. There were still those moments of cleverity and subtlety, but much of the humor was immature. I know. I watched a children’s movie, but the first two set my expectations. Again, the movie is a success, but it is different.

My name is Chuck, and these are my thoughts. Now I would like to know what you think. In which order would you rank the three Despicable Me movies? Did you like the direction this movie took? Or do you just want more minions? Leave a comment down below, and we’ll talk. Enjoy the day!

Next week: Mulholland Drive


4 thoughts on “Despicable Me 3

  1. This is my question: If I’m all prepared to sit down and rewatch Ocean’s Eleven or Shawshank Redemption, and the wife and nephew come in and say we need to watch a Disney/Family cartoon movie instead, what is my best option in this genre so that I don’t fall right to sleep?

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    1. That is a completely fair question! But not easy to answer at all. My initial response would be to suggest Zootopia. While labeled as a family movie, the concepts it approaches and points it makes are deep enough to leave you thinking for a few hours. Another unique film in this genre is Kubo and the Two Strings. If nothing else, you will be impressed by the fact that it is stop motion and looks as smooth as it does. As far as finding family films similar to Ocean’s Eleven or Shawshank, I am afraid we are both out of luck. But these two stand well above the others I have watched.

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      1. Would you recommend any of the Miyazaki productions such as Spirited Away or Howl’s Incredible Flying Castle (which I know you haven’t watched, but we will find a way) as satisfying both the need for an animated/whimsical children’s film that makes more mature conversations accessible and engaging?
        -lg

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      2. Oh! I am so glad you mentioned these! While I have not seen them, as you said, I’ve spent enough time on the interwebs to know how good these movies are. Related, I have spent enough time listening to soundtracks to know that anything from Studio Ghibli will have incredible music. The accessibility of these films may be an issue, though. But, in short, it seems as if they would satisfy the children’s fantasy aspect and keep the adults engaged.

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