“Life is just like that sometimes. We’re hoping for a unicorn and we get a goat.”
This fatherly truth bomb that Gru drops on young Agnes in Despicable Me 3 could be said about a lot of attempts at movie sequels. We’re hoping for a beautiful shiny story that we loved just as much as the first (or even the second!) and it falls flat and leaves us wanting more. Fortunately, that’s not at all the case for the newest installment of the Despicable Me franchise. Despicable Me 3 gives audiences a villain we love to hate, the Minions we adore, and, above all, a heartwarming storyline.
One of the best parts about the Despicable Me franchise is the absolutely fabulous lineup of villains—and DM3‘s villain is the wonderfully ridiculous Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker). A child TV star-turned villain, Bratt is very much stuck in the ’80s. He’s hyped up all his on-screen gadgets into real supervillain weapons, with the goal of obliterating Hollywood to get revenge for the cancellation of this show. Tinseltown is not for the faint of heart.
And while those lovable and goofy Minions are a blast, they are not the focus of this movie. Instead, Despicable Me 3 turns its attention back to Gru, and focuses on family. When we catch up with Gru (Steve Carell), Lucy (Kristen Wiig), and the girls, Gru and Lucy have just lost their jobs at the AVL. Right up top, Lucy asks Gru to tell the girls because she’s still getting used to the whole “mom” thing, which is a catalyst for her character’s story throughout the whole film. She grabs opportunities to bond with the girls, making mistakes along the way, but in the end, learning what it really means to be a mother. What’s most heartwarming about this is that she gets a lot of parenting advice from Gru, who we’ve already seen go through the same journey in previous films. Look at this family growing together!
Our DM family grows a little bit in this installment too, with the addition of Dru (Carell), Gru’s twin brother he never knew he had. Dru has taken over the family business from his sprawling mansion in Fredonia. That business is pig farming—or at least we think it is. Dru reveals that his father (who Gru’s mother said “died of disappointment” when Gru was born #lol) was in fact the world’s greatest villain, and Dru is ready to learn the family business from the best: Gru. There’s only one thing they can do to complete that task: Enter Bratt’s Rubik’s Cube-shaped lair, steal the expensive diamond he’s using for his evil plan, and keep it for themselves!
Dru and Gru’s interactions and love for being brothers is endearing as all get out. There’s a great dinner scene where they try to trick the girls and Lucy into thinking they are each other—which leads to many eye rolls from our favorite ladies. The twins spend time bonding and getting to know each other, so we get to see all sorts of layers of familial love.
Of course, the Minions are not altogether absent from the film. Although they’re not the centerpiece of the tale, the Minions storyline is expectedly silly. After following Mel’s revolution against Gru for no longer wanting to be a villain, the goofy yellow guys end up in prison with some very hardened criminals. But, no matter how kooky these guys are, they are always cunning and quickly make their way to the top of the prison food chain (after all, they’re so good at being bad). In a delightful turn of events, we see that the Minions’ time in prison is mostly occupied by them running the yard as a West-Side-Story-esque snappin’ gang.
Full of unicorn hunts, cheese festivals, prison gangs, ’80s tropes, and humor for both kids and parents, this movie is a must for family fun. In a world full of goat sequels, Despicable Me 3 is definitely a unicorn.