Monday, 7 September 2015
Despicable Me 2 (2013)
Sequels are generally inferior to their progenitors, and Despicable Me 2 is no exception to that rule. Which is not to say that it's not a fun film - it is. There are plenty of laughs to be had. I'm just not a huge fan of the direction they took.
To give some context, a short precis of the film's set-up:
Since adopting the three girls from the first film, Gru has given up his supervillainous ways (though he's sensibly kept the awesome rocket car) and committed himself to being a father and building a legitimate career. Therefore he is not initially interested when the "Anti-Villain League" asks for his assistance in finding the person responsible for stealing a dangerous mutagen.
However, when his long time colleague Dr Nefaria decides to take another job ("I miss evil"), Gru starts to think that the AVL offer might be just the excitement his life is lacking ... though he's less than thrilled when AVL Agent Lucy Wilde is assigned to be his partner.
And I bet you can already guess that Gru and Lucy will be making kissy-faces by the end of the film. Now I have nothing against romantic sub-plots (or even romantic main plots) in general, but this one rubs me the wrong way for two reasons. The first and lesser reason is that it just feels really lazy and obvious as a progression. "Gru became a dad in the original film so let's make him become a husband in this one" is so join-the-dots unimaginative.
The more important reason is the way the film does it: after displaying what a great dad Gru is, it then drops the "but the kids can never really happy without a mom as well" line. Way to make every kid of a single parent (and every single parent as well) feel inadequate, movie. And let's not think about the baked-in anti-gay parent message there, either.
"Gru falls in love" is a storyline I can accept (even if I think it's a bit of a safe and boring choice). "Gru's kids need a mommy" irks me.
As long as you can overlook this element though - and I imagine a lot of people won't even register it - this is a fun movie. There are some "it happens because plot" moments, but the pace and humour of the film generally carry it past them.
Check it out if you liked the original and don't mind that this one doesn't quite measure up.