Enlightenment has changed the definition of villains Despicable Me movie at the same time. Minions: The Rise of Gru, the latest spin-off in the franchise, tells the story of a child’s transformation into a super-villain before finally turning into a secret government spy. The prequel doesn’t disappoint and shows how our favorite super villain Gru was always a hero at heart.

Minions: The Rise of Gru is set in the 1970s, between the timelines of Minions (2015) and Despicable Me (2010). The Minions (voiced by Pierre Coffin), including Kevin, Stuart and Bob, arrive at Gru’s house in droves and ask him to hire them after witnessing his super villain in the first movie where he steals the Queen’s Crown. The henchmen go to great lengths to convince Gru to hire them and call him their “mini-boss.” Steve Carell is perfectly convincing, even when portraying the younger version of Gru.

Gru is a clumsy 11-year-old who wants to be a super villain. He chases innocent bystanders in line for an ice cream cone and eats the treat in front of people who are exercising. He bombs an entire movie theater to enjoy a movie with his followers. But he manages to look cute instead of obnoxious in his mischief as you can also see his need for validation and the bond he shares with the followers. You can also glimpse a future Gru who is the doting father of three young daughters as even in his youth he acts as a father to followers before bedtime.

This image released by Universal Pictures shows characters, from the left, Gru, voiced by Steve Carell, Bob, Kevin and Stuart in a scene from "Minions: The Rise of Gru." (Lighting Entertainment/Universal Pictures via AP)(AP)
This image released by Universal Pictures shows characters, from left, Gru, voiced by Steve Carell, Bob, Kevin, and Stuart in a scene from “Minions: The Rise of Gru.” (Lighting Entertainment/Universal Pictures via AP)(AP)

The new cast

The film introduces Vicious 6, a notorious supervillain group who betray their leader Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin). The other members of the Vicious 6 are new leader Bell Bottom (Taraji P Henson) – a disco diva who believes in pure villainy; an evil Viking Svengeance (Dolph Lundgren); Nun Chuck (Lucy Lawless) – a ghostly nun who splits her crucifix into weapons, Jean Clawed (Jean-Claude Van Damme) – a villain with lobster legs, and Stronghold (Danny Trejo) – who has large metal hands as his weapons. They humiliate Gru and set the cogs of the plot in motion.

While Gru has his moments, it’s the new minion Otto who steals the show with his cartoonish charms. The underwired minion is known for incessant talking and unbridled stupidity. To gain Gru’s trust, he embarks on a tricycle journey, battling rain, ponds and a death valley.

Otto, a new follower, in Minions: The Rise of Gru.
Otto, a new follower, in Minions: The Rise of Gru.

While the actors who voice the villains in the group do what it takes from them, the Vicious 6 members don’t have their own stories and are only there to support Gru’s storyline. Gru’s newly formed bond with Wild Knuckles makes for emotional moments in the film, as they both fit into the franchise’s core idea that villains are actually heroes beneath all their tough looks.

Master Chow (Michelle Yeoh), an accomplished Kung Fu master turned acupuncturist, is part of some of the funniest and most adorable moments in the film when she teaches Kung Fu to Kevin, Stuart and Bob.

You really feel the absence of any creative or even partially fresh storyline in The Rise of Gru as it follows the same pattern as other films in the franchise. A precious item is stolen, someone goes missing, there will eventually be a major battle and minions will accidentally save the day after ironically accidentally causing chaos throughout the movie. It could work well if all you expect from the Despicable Me factory is light-hearted comedy and fun rather than something new and challenging. Read also| Controversial Opinion: Is It Time for Despicable Me’s Minions to Retire?

The Rise of Gru also learned from the mistakes made in the prequel, Minions. While Minions had become too slow to watch as it concentrated on a single storyline – the minions’ quest for a master, The Rise of Gru had multiple subplots that keep you entertained until it came to a powerful climax.

That’s not to say the movie doesn’t have strong moments. At its core, it is a children’s film with a few hidden lessons. Above all, Gru wants to find his people and gain the respect he didn’t get at home or at school. He fires his followers in search of a better group, but later learns during his time at Wild Knuckles that the best results can only be achieved if your friends help you in small ways every step of the way.

The animation, which is as glossy as Illumination movies always are, speaks in every frame and the action sequences are nothing short of a visual spectacle. Physical comedy, which often irritates me personally, was done in a way that made me laugh. Last but not least, there were some adorable scenes where the audience melted into their seats.

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Minions characters, from the left, Stuart, Bob and Kevin in a scene from: "Minions: The Rise of Gru." (Lighting Entertainment/Universal Pictures via AP)(AP)
This image released by Universal Pictures shows Minions characters, from the left, Stuart, Bob and Kevin in a scene from “Minions: The Rise of Gru.” (Lighting Entertainment/Universal Pictures via AP)(AP)

In the end, there was laughter and cheering in the theater, indicating that the film was a perfect fit with its target audience. However, it’s unlikely to gain a new fan unfamiliar with the previous Despicable Me movies. Nevertheless, one thing is clear: the minions will not disappear from view anytime soon.

Minions: The Rise of Gru, the fifth film in the franchise, hits theaters worldwide on Friday, July 1.

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