It’s hard to believe that the last time those yellow Minions graced our screens was back in 2017. They are such a prominent part of pop culture that even though they haven’t had appeared in a feature film since ‘Despicable Me 3’ their faces still haunt us in short films, billions of pieces of merch and, of course, the Facebook memes. After years of delays due to the pandemic, Stu, Bob, Kevin and the rest of the Minions are back and we get to found out when they first meet Gru.
After the events in London from the first ‘Minions’ film, 'Minions: The Rise of Gru' sees them follow a 12-year-old Gru (Steve Carell, ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’, ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’) back to his life in the United States. There, they wreak havoc around town as supervillains-to-be and idolise over The Vicious 6. The group is led by Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin, ‘Argo’, ‘Little Miss Sunshine’), but after going after he goes missing, they are looking for new recruits and interview Gru. The interview goes horribly wrong and now Belle Bottom (Taraji P. Henson, ‘What Men Want’, ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’), Jean Clawed (Jean-Claude Van Damme, ‘Kung Fu Panda’, ‘Kickboxer: Vengeance’), Nunchuck (Lucy Lawless, TV's ‘Park and Recreation’ and ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’), Svengeance (Dolph Lundgren, ‘Creed II’, ‘Aquaman’) and Stronghold (Danny Trejo, ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’, ‘Machete’) are after Gru and his minions - but there are secrets looming about the villainous group that change everything.
‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ is exactly what it advertises - Minion hijinks, and yes, they do get some really big laughs, but everything around them falls flat. This is the first one of all the films not to cross the 90-minute mark and you can see the ‘Minion’ fatigue starting to show; after over 10 years and 5 films, it feels like the franchise is nearing an end.
‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ also takes the franchise in a new direction by bring in more magical elements then pervious entries, which is an interesting choice. The film also has a lot of fun with the 1970s setting, from music to fun pop culture references that will keep the parents entertained. ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ is not a bad film, and it certainly doesn’t even have the usual cash grabiness that many other Illumination films have, but there's just nothing in this one that you can’t enjoy in other ‘Despicable Me’ films.
‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ is exactly what it advertises - Minion hijinks, and yes, they do get some really big laughs, but everything around them falls flat.
Illumination Animation is pretty hit and miss when it comes to their films, but they do know how to milk those Minions, and ‘The Rise of Gru’ is no exception. It's more Minion fun, but in all the moments between you can see the 10-plus year franchise is fading.