Here’s my review of Despicable Me 3.
Overview: Gru fails to catch a villain (Balthazar Bratt, an ex-child star obsessed with his TV character from the 1980’s) and is subsequently fired from his job at the Anti-Villain League. His wife Lucy, who was along for the ride, is fired with him. Gru then visits his twin brother, Dru, and enlists his help to get his revenge on Bratt. Meanwhile, Gru’s three daughters, Agnes, Edith and Margo, spend a day in Dru’s hometown.
Review: The first act of the movie was shown in the trailer: Bratt stages a heist, Gru gets fired, the minions quit, Gru learns he has a twin, the family flies to Dru’s mansion. From then on, the movie divides its time between Gru and Dru’s A storyline, Lucy and the girls’ B storyline, and the minions’ C storyline. I honestly couldn’t care less about what the minions were up to, and it had no impact on the A storyline whatsoever.
I think the intention was for the middle of the movie to be made up of character moments illustrating the dynamic between the family members. I love the idea, but it fell flat. There has to be a better way to show how a mother struggles to connect with her teenage daughter than having Margo politely decline a game of cards. Then the 3-minute vignette where Margo gets a marriage proposal was odd and unfunny.
Things get better in the third act when storylines A and B mesh. The bonding between Gru and Dru, as rushed as it is, builds up to a poignant scene. Gru finds himself mimicking the criticism of his father and finds wisdom through Agnes’ innocence and pure heart. The final showdown against Bratt is quite grand and cinematic, a saving grace to top off an otherwise lackluster and disjointed film.
The animation included some fleetingly good ideas. The Mediterranean village, with its cheese-loving inhabitants, looked charming, but was barely exploited. The island’s pigs were really cute – they had better designs than the animals of Sing or Pets. Bratt’s gadgets (and fat suit) were visually amusing. I wish they had spared us the American Idol set and given us Dr. Nefario instead (he’s sadly frozen à la Han Solo).
Verdict: Disjointed and distracted by rogue minions, this threequel doesn’t squeeze enough from its characters and remains lackluster until the Avengers-style finale.