First Word: Have I seen better animated films? Yes. Is this movie the best Despicable Me movie? No. However this movie was not half as bad as I thought it would be. When Despicable Me 3 focused on its main plot it was an enjoyable kid’s film with humor that could also entertain adults, but this film is riddled with distracting and unnecessary subplots.
Synopsis: The main thrust of the film finds Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) committing himself to life as an agent of the Anti-Villain League along with his wife, Lucy (Kristen Wiig) — but finds himself failing to foil the plans of Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a former child star turned supervillain whose entire presence is dedicated to beating the audience over the head with tired ’80s jokes. Failing to apprehend him, Gru and Lucy are both fired, which just so happens to coincide timing-wise with Gru’s long-lost twin reaching out to him (I’m not trying to be coy; there is no artfulness to be found here). Liberally ripping off The Simpsons, Dru (also Steve Carell) is the rich, follicly-superior sibling, and it’s his greatest dream to join with Gru as a villainous duo — but really Gru just wants to use him and his resources to find Balthazar Bratt and get his job back. This plot ultimately demands the bulk of Despicable Me 3’s runtime, but it’s broken up by the series of aforementioned subplots that really add nothing and go nowhere. This random assortment of half-baked ideas includes the Minions going to both Hollywood and prison; Lucy trying to mother Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) and accidentally getting her engaged to a stranger; and the young Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Nev Scharrel) looking in the deep forest alone for a unicorn after following the advice of a potentially-crazy bartender. None of them have anything special or significant to say, or add to larger themes — and it’s easy to imagine each of them being pitched as jokes that got taken seriously by the wrong people. 6/10
Characterization: Gru and Lucy give this film some much needed grounding. The relationship between brothers Dru and Gru is played mostly for comedy relief. This is another of the films short comings instead of there being any emotional beats or character arcs they are replaced at times with misplaced dark humor that doesn’t actually work in the film. Also the little character development that is in the film is cut short by extraneous subplots. 6/10
Animation: Despicable Me 3 is a beautifully animated film. Illumination has proven once again that although their storytelling is not at a DreamWorks level their animation team is. The animation is bright and fun and jumps off the screen at the audience. 8/10
Conclusion: Despicable Me 3 has a great soundtrack, beautiful animation and relegates the minions to their rightful place as side characters. However, a lot of the “adult humor” falls flat and seems misplaced. Also the laborious subplots distract from the actual plot of the film. Despicable Me 3 is a mediocre film with a few good one liners.
Final Score: 6.7/10