Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022) Review!!

Synopsis – The untold story of one 12-year-old’s dream to become the world’s greatest supervillain.

My Take – Considering how successful their first film, Despicable Me, was it is of no wonder why Illumination studios keeps going back to the world they created back in 2010.

A film which not only got two equally successful sequels, in 2013 and 2017, but also launched the small, indestructible, blobby yellow colored gibberish speaking (with a bits of French, English and Spanish thrown in) creatures called Minions in the world, who since then have not only become the studio’s mascots and got their own very successful spin-off film in 2015, but have also exploded into pop culture. Playing a major part in driving the enormously popular franchise to $3.7 billion gross worldwide.

Now, seven years after their spin-off grossed over $1 billion at the box office, the Minions are back in an animated comedy adventure set years before the events of Despicable Me and tells the story of a younger Gru’s transformation into a supervillain who was deep down always a hero at heart.

With Steve Carell back voicing the character, the sequel is immediately a major improvement over its tepid previous Gru-less flick because the Minions make the most sense when serving a likable villain. Resulting in an acceptable, mildly enjoyable piece of entertainment that fires on all cylinders. Colorful, zany, funny and goofy, the film is a return to the formula that made the original such a charming, funny, and hilarious animated hit.

Sure, it is unlikely that the film will gain a new fandom, yet nonetheless, one thing is clear, the minions are not going away anytime soon.

Set in 1976, eight years after the events of the first film, the story once again follows the Minions (voiced by Pierre Coffin) who after witnessing his super-villainy go to all lengths to convince a young Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), to hire them, and name him their ‘mini-boss.’ Only 11-year-old, Gru is an awkward schoolkid who aspires to become a supervillain. A role he gets a chance to fill into when he is called into interview for a position within the Vicious 6, a notorious supervillain group that recently ousted their leader, Wild Knuckles (voiced by Alan Arkin).

However, when he is rejected and ridiculed by the evil gang, he steals their ancient amulet, a big-ticket to becoming indestructible supervillains when its powers are activated at Chinese New Year’s midnight. Finding himself chased by their new leader Bell Bottom (voiced by Taraji P Henson) and the rest of the gang comprising of evil Viking Svengeance (voiced by Dolph Lundgren), the spooky Nun Chuck (voiced by Lucy Lawless), Jean Clawed (voiced by Jean-Claude Van Damme), the metaled handed Stronghold (voiced by Danny Trejo), and Wild Knuckles himself. Setting up the stage to allow for his stooges Stuart, Bob, Kevin and Otto to save their Mini Boss.

If that sounds like an overload, it is, but in the most fun kind of way. And the minions are there every step way offering comic and emotional relief. Plus it’s only 88 minutes long which is just enough time to wrap the whole thing up before non-minion fans start to lose patience.

Following the same pattern as other films in the franchise, the story exists, for the most part, to put them into a bunch of silly situations. Yet it work well enough if you know what to expect from the Despicable Me franchise. Here, director Kyle Balda and writers Matthew Fogel and Brian Lynch, learn from the mistakes of its 2015 prequel, by diving the film into multiple subplots that keep one entertained and constantly engaged with out-and-out slapstick fare.

But like all animated films it also contains a few hidden lessons. Like how Gru fires the minions in search of a better group, but later learns during his time with Wild Knuckles that the best results can be achieved only when you have your friends helping you in little ways on every step. His new-formed bond with Wild Knuckles also brings out emotional moments, as both of them fit the franchise’s core idea of villains actually being heroes under all their tough exteriors.

However, the Minions continue to remain standouts of the franchise. Supported by glossy animation and full of chaos, the Minions are the true source of humor and the reason for laugh-out-loud scenes. Whether they’re being chased by the Vicious 6, learning karate to defend themselves, or posing as airline pilots and learning to fly a plane full of passengers as they go, the Minions are the lovable and wacky heart of the film.

Voice performance wise, Steve Carell make a triumphant return here and is perfectly convincing even as he voices the younger version of Gru. Most importantly he gets to have fun doing his Gru accent at a higher register. Pierre Coffin continues to be the exceptional voice of the Minions, and is ably supported by Alan Arkin and Michelle Yeoh. It’s good to even hear Russell Brand and Julie Andrews in their established roles.

Sadly, the Vicious Six voice cast which comprises of Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Lucy Lawless and Taraji P. Henson are a missed opportunity. RZA, Steve Coogan and Will Arnett make likable cameos. On the whole, ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ is a delightfully silly sequel that guarantees lighthearted comedy and a good time.

Directed – Kyle Balda, Brad Ableson, Jonathan del Val

Starring (voices of)- Steve Carell, Lucy Lawless, Michelle Yeoh

Rated – PG

Run Time – 88 minutes

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