Minions: The Rise of Gru

Minions: The Rise of Gru Is More of the Same Drivel We’ve Seen Before

Dept. of Sadly Subpar Spinoffs


Get ready for another round of bad gibberish and butt jokes kids, because the Minions are back. And this time we’re taking a trip to the 70s. Now, the last time we saw the overall-wearing, unintelligible yellow demons creatures was back in 2015’s Minions, after selecting a young Gru to be their new master. In Minions: The Rise of Gru, we are treated to the budding ambitions of a villainous Gru, gunning for a spot in the Vicious 6, a notorious supervillain league. But things aren’t going according to plan.

Not only do they not take the boy seriously, they’re even less impressed when he steals their prized amulet. A city-wide chase ensues, and Gru finds himself abducted by the last person he ever expected. That’s where his loyal Minions come in, ready to charter planes, master the art of kung-fu, and ride cross-country on the back of a snazzy biker to save their new boss. It’s a nice foray back into the world of Despicable Me, but somehow Minions: The Rise of Gru feels like a desperate attempt to revive a dying franchise.

We’re All Minion-ed Out

Minions: The Rise of Gru

That’s not to say that this is an objectively bad film. It has some great one-liners, fun new characters, and a great soundtrack (thanks Jack Antonoff!). The animation has also significantly improved in the past decade, with each sequel upping their voice cast game in the process too. 

The Vicious 6 serve as great antagonists to the story, voiced by an all-star cast of Taraji P. Henson as Belle Bottom, Jean-Claude Van Damme as Jean Clawed, Lucy Lawless as Nunchuck, Dolph Lundgren as Svengeance, Danny Trejo as Stronghold, and Alan Arkin as Wild Knuckles. With punny monikers and cool abilities, they make formidable foes for the Minions and an 11-year-old Gru. But within this 90-minute span, they’re almost criminally underused.

Michelle Yeoh’s Master Chow falls victim to the same treatment. Besides being a token kung-fu master, her presence is barely felt in the film other than to appease an Asian audience. 

Minions: The Rise of Gru feels like an ambitious effort, but with one foot in the grave, it’s difficult to recreate the magic of Despicable Me.

The Fall of a Franchise

Minions: The Rise of Gru

The fact of matter is: the Minions aren’t lead characters. It’s in their name itself, they are minions, designed to serve a superior person or prop up an overarching story. They are the R2D2s and C3POs of the Despicable Me universe – unique enough to be remembered but not nearly enough to keep up our attention spans going beyond 5 minutes. They are filler characters, cannon fodder for dense comedy and merchandise mascots.

But maybe it’s the childhood nostalgia in me talking when I say that I still want to see more of this franchise. I want to see where the story can go with the right narrative direction. I want to see more of the Vicious 6 (give them a spin-off, you cowards!). I want to see more of Gru’s evil exploits as he ages. I want to see what makes him just so damn despicable. I want to see more great musical numbers and intelligible humour beyond the scope of butt flashes and gibberish. 

In conclusion: I just want less Minions. They’re the real villains here.

Click here to listen to our review of the movie on The Goggler Podcast.

Minions: The Rise of Gru is now streaming in cinemas. Save yourself the trip and rewatch Despicable Me instead.

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