I have been obsessed with the Despicable Me series (and especially with the Minions) since the first film was released in 2010, so I had to see the third instalment which was released at the end of June. I think it’s fair to say that there’s been a lot of hype around this new film but I’m afraid it’s just that: hype. Knowing how much I enjoyed Despicable Me 2 and the spin-off movie Minions, I had very high expectations for this one. However, there was this niggling feeling that made me think that it might just be one of those sequels made to cash in on the success of previous films. After seeing Despicable Me 3, I’m really sorry to say that my feeling was correct.
This film is annoyingly simple to follow. There’s a new super-villain threatening the world’s safety, Balthazar Bratt, and he has to be stopped. You can imagine how the rest of the film goes. It’s predictable, and that’s one of the big issues I have with this film. It may be a children’s film, but it was too simple and that made it boring to watch. There is a moment with Agnes and a unicorn which surprised and delighted me when it popped up.
Let’s talk about the main characters. We have Balthazar, who was a TV star in his childhood and became a villain after they cancelled his show. His heyday was in the 1980s and this guy is really obsessed with that decade. Not that it’s a bad thing, but this was obviously done to appeal to the older audiences.
The other new character is Gru’s twin brother, Dru, who amusingly has a luscious head of hair, unlike Gru. This wasn’t the only difference, though – Gru and Dru are polar opposites of each other in every way possible and because of that, they made the perfect team.
The rest of the main characters are back again: Agnes, Edith and Margo, Gru’s adopted children, and Lucy, Gru’s wife who we first saw in the second film. However, I think they were all a bit too exaggerated. They were overreacting and shouting too much and it became irritating.
Last point on the list, and the most serious topic of this review: the Minions. I knew from the start that the action would be centred on Gru & co. and I didn’t expect the Minions to be present everywhere but I was still very disappointed with their appearances in Despicable Me 3. First of all, what did they do with Bob, my favourite Minion? You know, the bald one with different coloured eyes who was introduced in the spin-off film Minions. The cutest Minion of them all. And why did they introduce a new one, Mel, who all of a sudden became the leader of the Minions? And on top of that, why did the scenes featuring Minions feel so out of context?
In the previous Despicable Me films, although they were not the main focus, the Minions were an aid to our heroes, an essential tool for defeating the villains. Here, they seem tacked on. It felt like I was a watching a film which was occasionally interrupted by adverts with Minions. They took me out of the film when in previous instalments they would draw me into the story.
All in all, if I were a kid, I’d probably enjoy it. It was full of the vibrant colours and the dynamism that make a children’s film immersive. But what bothers me is that a franchise which used to be as entertaining for older people as the children has lost that touch and, ultimately, let me down. With a heavy heart, I don’t think I’d recommend this film to people of my age, but perhaps in the future, when you have kids of your own, you should revisit this film with them.
Despicable Me 3 is in cinemas across the UK now. Image source: Theindependent.co.uk