Minions: The Rise of Gru Review – The Boys Are Back in Town

Minions: The Rise of Gru

Minions: The Rise of Gru is just what you’d expect from a Minions movie. Five movies in, and the formula haven’t changed one bit. You won’t find anything new here, so if you’re expecting significant changes in the Despicable Me blueprint, expect to be highly disappointed. The slapstick humor, stories and themes, and animation styles remain the same. The film is also pretty light story-wise. Then again, when the movies make as much money as it does, you don’t have to come up with that many surprises. Illumination has a good feel for what fans want, and they give it to them. So once again, the Minions are the stars of the film (most of the time) and as lovable as ever.

Minions: The Rise of Gru follows a 12-year-old Gru (Steve Carell), who dreams of joining the supervillain team known as the Vicious 6. When the infamous group ousts their leader, Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin), Gru interviews to become their newest member. Unfortunately for Gru, the Vicious 6 is not impressed by having a kid within their ranks. However, when Gru outsmarts (and enrages) them, he suddenly finds himself a target of the supervillain superteam. With Gru on the run, the Minions must find a way to save their beloved boss, and Gru discovers that even bad guys need a little help from their friends.

So it’s hard to get annoyed when watching a Minions movie because you know what you’re getting yourself into. Still, Minions: The Rise of Gru takes plenty of inspiration from the unlikeliest of places: Blaxploitation and chopsocky movies from the 70s. These subgenres featuring the Minions are a pretty fun concept. Of course, the film is at its best when it leans heavily into these genre film inspirations. Also, every genre caricature character is hilariously fun and fits within this crazy universe.

Minions: The Rise of Gru returns the franchise to the same level as the previous entries in the franchise. It’s also the best movie in the franchise since the first one.

As you might expect, both Enter the Dragon and Cleopatra Jones are major influences on Minions: The Rise of Gru. So obviously, there are some spectacular action set-pieces in this—the most Illumination has put into one of their films. There is also plenty of 70s style and music, along with Taraji P. Henson as a badass Blaxploitation caricature and Michelle Yeoh as an unsuspecting acupuncture kung fu master. Sure, the lowbrow humor is still there, but it’s easy to enjoy the groovy tone of the film. 

Of course, this is still a Minions movie. As cool as the 70s aesthetic are, the film still spends a lot of time with the titular creatures doing outlandish and cute things or fighting amongst themselves. With the return of Gru, Minions: The Rise of Gru finally gives fans the prequel that most people wanted in the first film. The first Minions film wasn’t funny without Gru there and has never attained the same magic as the other Despicable Me movies. This time around, Minions: The Rise of Gru returns the franchise to the same level as the previous entries in the franchise. It’s also the best movie in the franchise since the first one.

Overall, Minions: The Rise of Gru is a prequel film that doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel in this formulaic franchise. Nevertheless, the movie is adorably delightful—with plenty of action to keep families entertained. As mentioned above, Rise of Gru is the best film in the franchise since Despicable Me in 2010. 

Rating: 3/5 atoms

Minions: The Rise of Gru hits theaters on July 1st.

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