Despicable Me 3 makes excellent use of cliched plot lines, 80s throwbacks, and the Minions doing what they do best [Review]

Despicable Me 3 makes excellent use of cliched plot lines, 80s throwbacks, and the Minions doing what they do best [Review]


Has Gru met his match in the twin brother he never knew he had?
Photo: Universal Pictures International

The long-lost twin thing has been done (many, many times) before, but that doesn’t stop Despicable Me 3 from being a fun, action-packed romp for the whole family.

Gru’s (Steve Carell) adjustment to life as a good guy is a little bumpy as both he and wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig) are fired from the Anti-Villain League for failing to catch super villain Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker). Enter separated-at-birth identical twin Dru (also Carell), whose desire to continue the family tradition of superior villainy leaves Gru torn between the paths of good and evil.

As predictable as the plot is, the twins' brotherly bonding is fun and heartfelt, with the obligatory detours of jealousy and sibling rivalry providing plenty of humour. Dru's full head of beautiful blonde hair is a constant sticking point between them, but his confident exterior hides a nagging insecurity that he will never live up (down?) to the evil family name. The journey they take to discover that family is what matters most serves as a key anchor for the whole film.    

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The directors have also snuck in something for the parents, with Bratt’s 80s child-star-gone-bad character providing plenty of hilarious and nostalgic references to things like Reebok Pumps and shoulder pads for men. Bratt's caricature of a grown-up that can't seem to let go of past glories is just exaggerated enough to make you want to root for him a little bit - an important feature of any good villian.

Not everything is perfect though. The minor subplot of Lucy adapting to her new role as stepmom to Gru's three adopted children feels a bit tacked-on. The directors had a lot of fan favourites they had to fit into one movie, so the overall integration suffers slightly. But judging by the cheers from the younger members of the audience at the screening, any face time with the cutie-pie kids is a welcome treat. 

The lovable Minions are also back with their crowd-pleasing sight gags, though they don’t figure into the main plot as much in this one (perhaps because they were given their own franchise). They do have one show-stopping musical number that’s not to be missed though, so prepare to enjoy a bit of classical opera - in Minionese.

All in all, Despicable Me 3 delivers exactly what you’d expect from the series, and that’s just “papaya” to us.

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