Gru and everyone’s favorite yellow Minions are back for the third installment of the Despicable Me films. In Despicable Me 3, the villain-turned-hero is now a family man with a wife and three children. He and his wife Lucy work for the Anti-Villain League capturing bad guys. The latest criminal, Balthazar Bratt, is a former 80’s child actor gone rogue. This bad boy proves to be a little more than Gru can handle. The AVL director fires Gru, and the Minions move out in search of a new crime boss to follow. With no job and no Minions, Gru experiences a little loss of identity.
Where do we turn to rediscover ourselves? Family, of course! Gru learns he has a twin brother and sets out to meant him. Dru is a want-to-be villain. The twins join forces for a little action–some good and some bad. Together they set out to put a stop to Balthazar Bratt once and for all.
This third round with Gru and his crew may be my favorite of the three films. Despicable Me 3 is a mash-up of the signature Despicable Me comedy with VH-1’s I Love the 80’s. Parents will love watching pieces of their childhood find their way on screen through the stuck-in-the-80’s bad guy, Balthazar Bratt. Dance moves, fashion, catch phrases and more will elicit snickers from the over-thirty crowd. The writers cleverly weave nods to the 80’s into the film; viewers have to pay close attention to the dialogue and visuals to catch them all. The sound track includes gems from Michael Jackson, A-Ha, and Madonna.
While Minion-lovers come back for the jibberish-speaking clan, I only tolerate them for the hilarious work of Steve Carell as Gru. His delivery of the well-written lines often causes me to guffaw in the theater. His performance in D3 is double the fun as he voices both Gru and Dru. With only a slight change in voice, the back and forth between the two brothers is witty and so like siblings.
Despicable Me 3: Three Cheers for Family
As with the last two movies, Despicable Me 3 is rich with teachable moments. Gru’s struggle between villain and hero closely represent the struggle we often have between who we are and who we want to be. When Dru asks Gru, “Are you ready to continue the family tradition,” Gru replies, “I left that life behind me.” Paul speaks of this struggle in Romans 7:18-20:
And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. (NLT)
Family loyalty is front and center. Gru and Dru’s love and dedication are instant, but their relationship is not void of conflict. The two demonstrate conflict resolution in a comedic setting. Gru also demonstrates a commitment to his wife and children. Thier security and well-being drive him to be a better man. Step-family issues are well-represented with Lucy’s efforts to become “mom” to the three girls. The Minions join the theme by overcoming their propensity for evil with their love for Gru.
Despicable Me 3 is not without a few despicable moments. Like any good hero-versus-villain movie, fights and explosions are a part of the script. Some cartoon nudity and potty humor make an appearance as well. Be warned: my own three-year-old came out of the theater using Balthazar Bratt’s tagline, “I’m a bad boy!” which was met by laughter from my family. All-in-all, though, this one is a family-friendly, pro-family film.