I Can’t Shake The Feeling That Something’s Missing From Gru’s Latest Adventure


  • Despicable Me 4 introduces Gru Jr., adds new challenges for characters, and features more over-the-top villains and Minions.
  • The film has too many plotlines, leaving some characters underdeveloped and overshadowing Gru’s bond with his daughters.
  • Despite its flaws, Despicable Me 4 offers entertaining action, new characters, and potential for future crossovers, as long as it stays true to its roots.

Once upon a time, a supervillain named Gru (Steve Carell) adopted three adorable young girls with the hopes of using them for his nefarious goal of stealing the moon. Instead, he began to care for them, and eventually became a proper dad. You all know this story: the Despicable Me franchise now spans four main movies, two spinoffs, several shorts, video games, and theme park attractions. The newest installment in the main storyline, Despicable Me 4, features more of some of the franchise’s hallmarks — over-the-top villains, Minions — while losing track of others.

This film series has come a long way since it debuted in 2010, and while some might have grown tired of seeing endless Minions running around, I’ve always been charmed by these movies (save for 2015’s Minions, which tried my patience). Despicable Me 4 is far from a failure, providing solid laughs and several heartwarming moments. Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing here, even as I had a fun time watching Gru’s latest outing.

Despicable Me 4 Is Packed With Storylines

So some get lost in the shuffle

Gru’s family has grown substantially since the first Despicable Me, and this movie introduces its latest member: Gru Jr., the newborn son of the former supervillain and his wife, Lucy (Kristen Wiig). A running gag is that Junior isn’t very fond of his dad, though Gru tries his very best to win over the baby. However, the domestic bliss is swiftly interrupted by Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell), one of Gru’s old classmates who broke out of prison and is coming for Gru. Our hero must pack up his family and move to a safe house, where they’re given new identities.

The movie’s brisk pace keeps the cracks between the various plot threads from showing initially, but upon further inspection, it’s clear Despicable Me 4 has so much on its mind, it’s forgotten some of what makes the series so delightful.

Despicable Me 4 sets up some interesting challenges for its various characters. For example, bespectacled oldest daughter Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) has to start over at a new middle school with no friends, and the always-precious Agnes (Madison Skyy Polan) is having a hard time accepting her new identity because, well, that would mean lying. Gru, meanwhile, is encouraged to act less like himself; as in, be friendly to strangers rather than standoffish. The family dynamic at the core of the franchise seems primed to explore these ideas with ample humor and heart.


Despicable Me 4 Cast & Character Guide: Where Else You Know The Cast

Despicable Me 4 will see Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig reprise their roles for another adventure between Gru, Lucy, and their new family.

However, Despicable Me 4 has more plotlines than it can handle. Several Minions become superheroes (who are parodies of beloved superheroes) in an Anti-Villian League experiment, and we follow their first mission. In addition to the threat Maxime poses, Gru finds himself aiding his new neighbor Poppy (Joey King) in a heist involving his alma mater, a school for villains that seems ripe for further exploration.

This story eventually intertwines with the Maxime conflict, but it also pushes away the rest of Gru’s family. It ultimately leaves Despicable Me 4 feeling more hollow than previous movies. The franchise was built on Gru’s bond with his daughters, but save for a handful of moments, the girls barely get the chance to shine. In fact, Gru spends more time with Poppy. The movie’s brisk pace keeps the cracks between the various plot threads from showing initially, but upon further inspection, it’s clear Despicable Me 4 has so much on its mind, it’s forgotten some of what makes the franchise so delightful.

Despicable Me 4 Has More Of What The Franchise Is Known For

Silly, entertaining villains and vibrant action keep things fun

Before the movie is written off as a disappointment, though, it’s worth noting that Despicable Me 4 has several positives. Its ability to stay light on its feet helps keep the excitement going, making for an entertaining viewing experience. Newcomers to the franchise, most notably Ferrell and Sofía Vergara, as Maxime’s accomplice Valentina, fit in perfectly. Though Vergara’s character is underused, her diabolical laugh alone makes her role worth it.

The action is zippy, enhanced by energetic animation that fits within the franchise’s style.

Ferrell’s hammy French accent matches Carell’s undefinable Gru inflection, which somehow goes a long way in making Maxime feel like a true nemesis for Gru. Maxime’s grand plan is incredibly silly — he wants to turn people into cockroaches — but the final act raises the stakes by making it personal. The action is zippy, enhanced by energetic animation that fits the franchise’s style. The Minion subplot is perhaps the most extraneous within Despicable Me 4, but I imagine it’ll amuse enough viewers for Illumination to contemplate a spinoff.

I have no doubt that, should this be a financial success, we will see more of Gru, his family, and the Minions. Introducing new villains means there’s plenty to sustain this franchise going forward, and the film’s ending makes a case for a crossover like Avengers: Infinity War. Should it continue, I just have to hope it doesn’t forget where it came from, and what makes it special. We can get action-packed storylines involving two-dimensional villains anywhere; what we can’t get are these characters and the relationships they share.

Despicable Me 4 releases in theaters on Wednesday, July 3. It is 95 minutes long and rated PG for action and rude humor.

Despicable Me 4 Poster showing Gru with his son and a Minon holding a gun

The infamous (and kind-hearted) not-super villain Gru returns in Despicable Me 4, the fourth entry in the long-running movie series from Illumination Entertainment. The fourth film also sees the return of Gru’s wife, Lucy, portrayed again by Kristin Wiig, and introduces their son.


  • Despicable Me 4 has energetic animation and zippy action
  • Will Ferrell’s villain is great and adds a nice touch to the film

  • There are too many storylines and Gru’s daughters don’t get enough screentime
  • The Minions’ subplot is unnecessary

Source link

Leave a Reply