Despicable Me 3
Length: 90 minutes / 1.50 hours
Sometimes I wonder how this franchise became so popular. Perhaps this perception is due to the oversaturation of the annoying little “Minions” that seem to pervade every corner of social media. And yet, when I go to see a movie like this, I am soon reminded that there are relatable and underappreciated storylines and plot points contained within this silliness. I have rarely seen a better “adoption” storyline than the one presented in Despicable Me (2010). Of course, Despicable Me 2 (2013) took the natural next step and provided a “single dad looking for a wife” storyline that also is rarely seen in animation.
With Despicable Me 3 (2017), the franchise transitions more into a series of vignettes better suited for a television show than a feature-length film. It was a little hard to tell which storyline was the main one for the film, even if they were all intertwined in some way. From the “long lost brother” character arc to the “wife trying to gain acceptance of step-children” sub-plot, there almost wasn’t enough time to focus on the Minions’ mutiny or the campy 1980’s-inspired villain. Each of the segments almost felt episodic, as if they would work better as a 15-minute segment in a 30-minute children’s show.
All this being said, there were moments I did enjoy in this movie. From the occasional “adult-oriented” Minion jokes (like “The Major General’s Song” and a Die Hard (1988) quote) to the touching moments of true parenting (again, a rare treat), the most entertaining aspect of the film was the nostalgia-inducing antics of Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker). However, because I mostly know Tray Parker from his work on “South Park,” I couldn’t separate his voice from the numerous episodes of this raunchy and politically incorrect television show (which is probably, again, something for the adults in the audience).
A franchise on the verge of trying to do too much, I give Despicable Me 3 3.0 stars out of 5.