The fifth installment of Illumination’s Despicable Me franchise is here with a sequel to Minions, which premiered in 2015. Minions: The Rise of Gru turns the sidekicks into the stars of the show; telling a coming of age story for Gru while keeping the Minions in the spotlight. I have adored the Minions since the initial Despicable Me movie released when I was 9 years old, and they deliver yet again on the adorable chaos we’ve come to know and love.
This movie takes place in the 1970s, with a young Gru (Steve Carell) applying to join his favorite supervillain team the Vicious 6, after its founder and Gru’s idol, Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin) is kicked to the curb. This inevitably leads to Gru crossing paths with them, and the Minions play a key role throughout.
Minions: Rise of Gru premieres in theaters July 1, 2022 and tickets are on sale now! Spoilers below!
REVIEW – The Minions Get the Spotlight
My favorite thing about the movie was getting to see more of Minions Kevin, Bob, and Stuart (Pierre Coffin). Bob has always been my favorite, however I could see the newest Minion becoming a fan favorite. In this film, we are introduced to the easily distracted, adorable Minion with braces named Otto. He’s really trying his best, but sometimes ends up making things worse; he is so adorable and very dumb. I love him. He basically sets Gru’s storyline into motion in the most Minion way possible. Another thing I loved was that the Minions refer to Gru as “mini boss,” which is so cute.
What is most enjoyable about having the Minions as the leads is that their scenes can’t be driven through verbal communication. While we can sometimes figure out what they’re saying, or Gru translates for them on occasion, we primarily rely on their body language or actions to understand them. This can lead to some great humor, and because of this, the Minions are endlessly entertaining. This is especially evident when they’re the only characters on screen.
Because of the unique storytelling the Minions bring to the table, I would have liked to see more from the rest of the bunch. This Minions sequel doesn’t show us as much of the various Minions as the first film, and feels more similar to Despicable Me. We mostly focus on Kevin, Bob, Stuart, and now Otto, except here they are given equal spotlight with Gru. Gru’s motivations and origins are a major point to the story, but these Minions are the driving force of the film. Almost everything happens because of them. It is balanced well enough that it works. However, to some extent, having Gru takes away from the other Minions. It’s not something that ruins the film because I greatly enjoyed getting to see the ups and downs of their relationship.
A more glaring weakness in the story is that by the end of the film, many of Gru’s defining elements from the initial movie are established, even though he is only 11 years old. Maybe this is because they don’t plan to do another Minions movie, or the next can be set closer to the Despicable Me timeline, but it’s odd to have a character fully developed at such a young age.
There are a lot of fun easter eggs and references to the original film, which are really fun to notice. We know Despicable Me 4 is on the way, and hopefully that won’t be the end for our adorable little murder blobs. I hope we get more Minions content with them as leading characters, as they bring unique storytelling possibilities.
Michelle Yeoh joins the franchise as Master Chow, an acupuncturist with some kung fu skills living in San Francisco. Her introduction scene is EPIC and watching her fight is mesmerizing. Chow would be a great character for a spinoff. While Master Chow teaches the Minions some valuable lessons and has an impact on them, it would have been nice to see more from the character in the end. She is more of a teacher figure who helps them for a short part of the film, and then they are on their way.
Minions: The Rise of Gru is hysterical for all ages. The animation does a great job to elevate the writing and make the Minions hilarious. Their facial expressions go from cute and mischievous to puppy dog eyes level of cuteness in just a second. There is a scene where the Minions are actually turned into animals and it is exactly both of those things at once.
The background/environmental art as well is exceptional. San Francisco especially looked beautiful with the ocean. From Wild Knuckles and his henchmen, to the Vicious 6 and their vehicles, the character and vehicle designs are very interesting and fitting of the time period. Humorously, Jean Clawed (Jean-Claude Van Damme) has a lobster themed vehicle, and the Nun-like character Nunchuk’s (Lucy Lawless) vehicle has church candles on the back. I also appreciated that Wild Knuckles’ house was a W shape with a K underneath. All around I found the art in this film to be beautifully done.
RATING – 4/5 Pocky
Jorgie is a pop culture fan and contributor at POCculture.com. He loves learning about visual effects, production, film, and art, and how they all come together to make films like Star Wars.