I want to discuss the importance of “rules” in a movie real quick.
Now because there is an absolute onslaught of films; and because these days, if a person can simply imagine a concept, they are able to put it on the big screen, it is important that your story have concrete rules that allow or prevent your characters from doing things. This gives the film more meaning, and it makes our hero’s accomplishments and/or failures feel more genuine, real, and legitimate.
Many movies fail to grip me because they don’t understand the importance of rules. Alice Through the Looking Glass is the perfect example of a worst case scenario of this, because literally nothing in that movie is tied down to limitations. Another great example is Ghost in the Shell, which ultimately felt meaningless because they never clearly defined how anything works in that universe. Still another one was The Mummy, which was an obnoxious movie because the rules changed whenever the plot demanded.
Pretty much every children’s animation I have ever reviewed is guilty of this as well…
And even if your movie is as ridiculous, air-headed, and banal as Despicable Me 3, this still applies.
As for the plot itself and the character arcs, there isn’t too much to complain about. Gru and Lucy still are… relatively likable characters, and they both have relatable goals and struggles, but nothing is truly fleshed out to the point where you are able to deeply care about anything that was happening to them. It seems that with every passing movie, Gru is less and less defined by his quirkiness, and more defined by how funny he talks.
The three girls Gru looks after are just kind of there… Oldest Margo really only serves to flesh out Lucy’s desires and motivations, and Edith almost has no purpose in this movie at all. And while Agnes, the youngest, doesn’t have much purpose in the movie either, she is so successfully cute and comical, that it’s almost completely forgivable that she doesn’t have much to do in this movie either aside from distracting us from the plot.
I’ll tell you who WASN’T successfully cute and comical enough to justify their lack of importance in the plot….
The Minions are becoming more and more obnoxious, useless, and mundane with every single movie they appear in. I swear, at one point, I was on board this love train for the Minion craze, but they have well overstayed their welcome. There is literally not one point in the film where they truly affect the plot in any significant way. They only serve as perpetual comic relief. Otherwise, their existence in the movie only pads out the length of this film long enough to be called a “movie”.
Now if you’re still in love with the Minions, then this won’t be a problem for you, but if you are as tired and irritated by them as I am, then you should not see this film.
The villain in this movie loves stuff from the 80’s… that’s basically his character. Because he loves stuff from the 80’s, he dances kookily, he dresses kookily, and he occasionally says things that are kooky. What a kooky character!
Trey Parker, a man who voices characters for extremely adult cartoons, voices this villain, and the decision to do so absolutely escapes me. It added nothing to this film, and his character was as forced as they come.
…That being said, when it’s discovered that his evil plan was to destroy Hollywood, it was odd because I began to immediately sympathize with him more.
As I said above, the movie often decides to forsake its own rules to either give our heroes a chance to escape, or to provide some sort of tension. At one point, Gru and his brother both have these super suits that basically have all of these capabilities, and these capabilities are constantly forgotten about whenever the movie decides they need to spice things up. The main villain has this bubblegum weapon that is sticky whenever it needs to be, is thick and indestructible when it needs to be, and is easily broken when it needs to be.
You’ll notice that the above paragraph was the only time I mentioned Gru’s brother Dru. That’s because his character barely contributes anything to this movie. He’s convenient to move the plot around, and the two end up having a conflict transition that, of course, was quickly mended and fixed, as if it was just a staple in the generic script checklist.
Also, does Pharrell Williams have some sort of one-song-in-every-movie contract with Illumination? Because one of his overrated songs is in this movie too, and I’ll tell you what, if I never hear a song from him ever again, it would be too soon.
With all that said, Despicable Me 3 is relatively harmless, and there is a small handful of moments where I did enjoy the movie (mostly because of a few lines by Gru and a bunch of lines by Agnes), but aside from that, there’s no reason to see this movie unless you are a child, or if you are still somehow obsessed with The Minion craze.