2010’s Despicable Me was a bit of a sleeper hit. Going toe to toe with Megamind – the other evil genius cartoon that shot itself in the foot with its numerous trailers spoiling its one and only twist – it invariably won audiences over with its gentle humour, its Looney Toons-esque plot, and lots and lots of those little yellow nuggets we now know as Minions. With so much going for it, the arrival of a sequel should only have come as a surprise to rocks and even then, really dumb rocks.
Former evil genius Gru (Steve Carrell) has officially hung up his plans for world domination and is focussing all his energy into raising his three adopted daughters and producing a range of mouth-watering jams. Left in the lurch by his lab partner Dr Nefario (Russell Brand), who wants more evil out of life, Gru finds himself pining for a bit of a break from parenthood. Enter secret agent Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig), who enlists Gru’s help in tracking down a stolen mutating chemical compound.
Despicable Me 2, like most sequels, cranks everything up to 11. However, unlike most sequels, it manages to hit every target it aims for. We very rarely use the term perfect, but the only issue we really had came in the form of a neutered performance by Kim Jeong as the diminutive wig guru, Floyd Eagle-san. Speaking of Jeong, Despicable Me 2 manages to show the excruciating Hangover Part III how you beef up your franchise’s minor characters without crushing the life out the film like a python.
A large part of the film sees the Minions pushed to the front in a plot concerning their kidnapping, and the film’s success is largely down to this. Never managing to outstay their welcome, like a certain man-child, they bring the biggest laughs and the greatest joy of the film. Whether this will translate to the upcoming Minions movie remains to be seen, but for now let’s not worry. Despicable Me 2 is a wonderful, anarchic, slab of joy.