Despicable Me 2

In this sequel to the adventurous 3D animation comedy “Despicable Me,” we find Gru, recruited by the Anti-Villain League (AVL) to help find a villain in possession of a chemical compound (PX-41) that has the ability to turn living organisms into rabid monsters. To the ALV, Gru’s lunar thieving antics in the first film qualify him as the ideal individual and expert to help track down and locate the new mysterious villain.

Steve Carrell, Russell Brand and Miranda Cosgrove reprise their voice-acting roles as Gru, Doctor Nefario and Margo respectively. Kristen Wiig, the voice actress of Miss Hattie in the first film, takes on a new role in voicing Lucy Wilde, the agent who Gru works with from the AVL and is his prospective romantic interest in the film. Steven Coogan and Ken Jeong deliver the voices of the characters Silas and Floyd respectively to round out a star-studded voice acting cast.

Gru continues from where he left off at the end of the previous film. Having relinquished his villainous ways, he gets a new start on life as a father of three rambunctious but precious adopted daughters. He also finds success as a businessman developing his own line of jams and jellies.  Although he does not initially accept the AVL’s offer, he eventually commits himself to the job and works with Lucy toward finding and apprehending who they believe to be in possession of the dangerous PX-41 chemical.

To make up for some of the novelty that came with the original, this sequel introduces a new theme. Through the prodding of his doggedly persistent neighbor, the inquisitive nature of his girls and the arrival of the charismatic and charming Lucy, Gru finds himself confronted not only with a new villain but reminded of a childhood trepidation: the opposite sex. The sequel explores this theme to a romantic end as we witness Gru realize and eventually act on his feelings toward Lucy.

Meanwhile, the minions never waste an opportunity to seize the spotlight and steal the show, from chasing ice cream trucks to putting out fires and playing golf in the living room. Gru’s little yellow helpers remind us of why we all have come to love the “Despicable Me” universe and its inhabitants in the first place.

Gru’s minions and adopted daughters all assure that Gru’s post-villain days are to be filled with shenanigans, laughs, celebration, smiles and last but not least, a sense of family.

As a father, Gru maintains a new but selfless purpose in life. With this new purpose, a new villain at large, and a new element of romance incorporated into the film, “Despicable Me 2” is able to maintain a fresh sense of fun and adventure. Many of the components which fans of the first film enjoyed are present yet again in the sequel, as we see Gru take on a new and heroic role.

Near the beginning of the film, Gru puts Agnes to bed and, while wishing her goodnight, he whispers to her “never get older.” Luckily for us, the directors and writers of the film adhered to that same wisdom in creating the sequel, and managed to make one that, rather than getting tiresome in its formula, actually solidifies itself as worthy if not superior to the first film.

With minion madness afoot, love in the air and Agnes’s fluffy unicorn in hand, the sequel represents a combination of what made the first “Despicable Me” the surprise hit it was, in addition to lending us a few lessons on the value and importance of love and family. If you enjoyed the first movie you will undoubtedly love the sequel, and quite possibly fall in love all over again with the minions, Agnes and Gru’s sweet side and huge heart.

Overall, “Despicable Me 2” is full of feel-good family fun, representing over ninety minutes of unprecedented minion madness in an adventure that takes you under the sea, up in the air and everywhere in between to leave you as high-spirited and giggly as a minion almost all of the way through.