The follow up to 2010’s ‘Despicable Me’, this not-so-imaginatively titled sequel joins Gru (Steve Carrell) and his new family as they try to move on from his life of villainy to a more sedate existence. The film opens with an audacious criminal stunt, the like of which Gru would previously have tried to pull off, but he is in the midst of throwing a birthday party for his youngest daughter and seems to have settled a bit more into the role of dad (although it would appear middle child Edith might have made a natural successor to his old crown with her tendencies for violence and mischief).
It would appear Gru has indeed shunned his former career for a new business making jams and jellies with his faithful assistant Dr Nefarious (Russell Brand) and his Minions, but before life can get too dull he is enlisted by the AVL (Anti-Villain League) to catch the perpetrator of the opening heist and heads undercover with new partner, Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig).
The visuals of this latest outing are as vibrant and enjoyable as the first with the 3D working to great effect (especially during the inter-credits Minion moments) and some exciting new gadgetry keeping things fresh. Gru’s new family life is a natural improvement on the original as everyone has found their feet and the full characters are coming to the fore. Agnes (Elsie Fisher) is still utterly delightful and Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) gets to explore new depths with a dip into her love life.
Writers Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio keep the jokes (and heart) coming and apart from a slight slackening of pace in the middle (when they suddenly have to deal with the actual plot), do well to keep the mood light and to stay away from anything too sickly sweet. The visual hilarity of the Minions is very well played, delivering a host of belly laughs and sweetness to the film. They are still the stars of the show (and getting their own movie in 2014) and bring a genuine impish joy and to the screen.
Steve Carrell and Kristen Wiig (returning to the franchise as a new character) do great work as the spying duo, sparring well both physically and verbally, and their growing relationship is charming and well played out. Supporting characters also prove to be great fun, especially Eduardo Perez (Benjamin Bratt) who really manages to get under Gru’s skin throughout.
A thoroughly enjoyable family flick that delivers on belly laughs and that will keep all generations happy.
Despicable Me 2 is out in the UK on 28th June