Despicable Me 4 – Film Review

At one point in time there was nobody more despicable than the supervillain Gru (Steve Carell). But now as a reformed hero of the Anti-Villain League (AVL), few men are loved as much. By his wife and fellow agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig), their adopted daughters Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), Agnes (Madison Skyy Polan), and newborn baby “Junior”. As well as his 100s of pint sized Minions (Pierre Coffin).

But Gru makes a powerful enemy when he crosses his former school bully, now dangerous cockroach hybrid, Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell). When Maxime vows to “exterminate” Gru and his family, the head of the AVL, Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan) orders the family into witness protection. He will care for the Minions while the family relocate to the pleasant wealthy town of Mayflower with new identities.

Here the “Cunninghams” must get used to their world being turned upside down where Lucy and the girls have trouble fitting in, while Gru attempts to bond with Junior. But before long, Poppy (Joey King) the young brat next door discovers Gru‘s secret identity. With Maxime on the hunt, Gru must play ball with Poppy to keep his family safe. Meanwhile, Ramsbottom experiments by turning his new employees into superheroes; enter “The Mega Minions”!

Illumination made a name for itself with the release of Despicable Me in 2010. A heartfelt story of a master criminal who turns his life around upon adopting three young girls to aide his plot to steal the moon! Since then, Illumination have gone from strength to strength with their recent ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ as their greatest success yet. All the while, the Despicable Me franchise (including the Minions spin-offs) kept audiences coming back for more. Now, we have our fourth (technically the sixth) instalment in the long running saga.

After a full trilogy’s worth of storylines there isn’t much left to be told of Gru and his family. Gru has grown into a better person while learning to appreciate his loved ones, and they him. Any attempts to tell a deeper character story would feel like re-treading the same character arcs. So Despicable Me 4 avoids any redundancy by simply avoiding them altogether.

It actually works much better than one might expect by just allowing the whole film to be a hilarious collection of subplots tied together under this fish out of water framework. None of it ever runs out of steam, as was the issue with Despicable Me 3‘s storyline. So, it’s just a treat seeing what hijinks Gru, Lucy and the girls get into. As a villain, even though Maxime spends much of the film far removed from the other characters his scenes are still full of laughs in their own right.

But as always it is the Minions that steal the show. They are neither brushed aside (as they felt in the last film) or are at the forefront (as they are in their spin-offs). Instead, the Minions are often in the background causing mischief and keeping the younger audience members glued to their seats. The children at my screening adored the fast paced creative gags and slapstick comedy. The segments with the Mega Minions parodying superhero movies (and our exhaustion of them) will prove to be favourite parts in this film for many by a mile.

As always, Illumination‘s animation is fluid and the action scenes they have crafted are exciting. Illumination regular Chris Renaud returns once more as director and it shows, bringing in the same energy that was seen in Despicable Me 1 and 2. Here, he is backed by Patrick Delage who makes his feature debut after decades of animation work in the industry. Together, Renaud and Delage capably handle the multiple storylines and numerous characters without ever dropping the ball.

Not only is Despicable Me 4 the best film in the franchise yet, but it may also be the most enjoyable instalment. The characters and the scenarios are already established, meaning that Despicable Me 4 hits the ground running and doesn’t stop entertaining audiences until the credits end. Despicable Me 4 is potentially the final Despicable Me film, with Steve Carell looking to retire the character. If that proves true, it’ll be sad but I couldn’t think of a higher point to go out on!

Sign up to receive weekly updates on our most recent reviews.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *