Despicable Me 4

July 4, 202450/1005 min
Starring
Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Joey King, Will Ferrell
Written by
Ken Daurio and Mike White
Directed by
Chris Renaud and Patrick Delage
Run Time
1h 35min
Release Date
July 3rd, 2024
Overall Score
Rating Summary

If you had a five year-old that loved Despicable Me when it came out in 2010, they are old enough to vote now and more than likely are not looking forward to the latest minion movie mayhem. But the makers of the popular franchise are not going after that young adult audience, they are sticking with the one that brought them.

Gru (Steve Carell) is still working for the Anti-Villain League as a spy which he still enjoys more than being a villain. With the Minions in tow Gru goes undercover at the Lycée Pas Bon’s high school reunion to take down Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell) a former school rival turned menace. After Le Mal wins an award he revels himself to be augmented with cockroach parts. Gru proceeds to take him down and heads back home to Lucy (Kristen Wiig) and their family including their new baby boy Gru Jr. Shortly after with the help of his girlfriend Valentina (Sofia Vergara), Maxime escapes and plans to take his revenge on Gru and his family.

Like a lot of on-going animated franchises where Despicable Me branched off its most popular aspect, the Minions. Their 2015 film is, in my opinion the best in the series as far as setting, story, and memorable villain. You would think having someone like Will Ferrell as your despicable baddie would be money in the bank. Unfortunately he needs the right material to elevate. And he’s given a stock villain storyline: revenge on a childhood rival. Which would only have worked if they told a parallel narrative involving Joey King’s character Poppy and Miranda Cosgrove’s character Margo on how to deal with a rival the right way. Instead they use Poppy as a mini rival to Gru where he helps her get some badger and she decides to play nice with his family in return.

As far as the Minions go, they are almost treated as an afterthought here. Several are turned into superhero versions of themselves with powers mimicking characters like Superman, X-Men’s Cyclops, and Fantastic Four’s Mr. Fantastic, and The Thing. The last two will probably inadvertently cause confusion when Marvel releases The Fantastic Four next year. I foresee a frustration like I had with my kids when I first tried to show them The Godfather and they were laughing five minutes in when they remembered the parody done in Disney’s Zootopia. But I digress. Despicable Me 4 does what it does, rapid-fire jokes (most involving the Minions are too fast to be funny), Gru getting beaten up, big tech gadgets creating big explosions. It’s enough to make its target audience laugh out loud, but not the ones that drove that audience to the theater.

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