'Despicable Me 2': Will it win over kids and adults like its predecessor?(Read article summary)
The sequel to 'Despicable Me,' starring Steve Carell and Miranda Cosgrove, hit theaters July 3. Will it continue the subversive, fun spirit of the original?
Three years ago, the animated movie featuring Steve Carellâ€™s grumpy but warm-hearted villain Gru, â€śDespicable Me,â€ť conquered the summer with a staggering box-office gross. Can the movieâ€™s sequel do it again?
In the first film, Gru, who yearns to be respected as an evildoer but can never seem to make his crimes go correctly, adopted three girls whom he planned to use against a fellow supervillain, only to find his heart melted by the children who were just looking for a family. In the sequel, which came out July 3, Gru is approached by the Anti-Villain League, who ask him to work for them and help take down someone dangerous. When Gru finally agrees, sparks fly between him and an Anti-Villain League agent, Lucy (Kristen Wiig).
In addition to Carell and Wiig returning (Wiig actually voiced a different character in the first film), the three actresses who play Gruâ€™s daughters, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, and Elsie Kate Fisher, are all back for the sequel. â€śLaw & Orderâ€ť actor Benjamin Bratt voices a new villain, while â€śRuby Sparksâ€ť actor Steve Coogan plays the head of the Anti-Villain League. Bratt replaced actor Al Pacino after Pacino left the project.
Reviews so far have been mixed. Mark Kermode of The Observer called it â€śfunnier... than its predecessorâ€ť and said he â€ślaughed [his] way through pretty much the entire film.â€ť
â€śThe real joy, however, is in the increased role of the goggle-eyed Minions,â€ť Kermode wrote, calling them â€ścomedy gold."
Forbes writer Scott Mendelson, however, was less impressed, running his review with the headline â€śDespicable Me 2 is despicably generic.â€ť
â€śThe first act of Despicable Me 2Â is so winning and engaging that itâ€™s almost a tragedy how the rest of the film falls into bargain basement formula,â€ť he wrote.
Entertainment Weekly writer Owen Gleiberman agreed, giving the film a C grade.
â€śIn the surprisingly toothless sequel, [Gru] has been neutered into a boring nice guy,â€ť he wrote. â€śAdults will just regret the way that Despicable Me 2 betrays the original filmâ€™s devotion to bad-guy gaiety.â€ť