In a society obsessed with the “Mount Rushmores” of pop culture, I feel like there may be one that isn’t talked about so much–voice acting performances. My sculpture would go like this: Tim Allen and Tom Hanks in Toy Story, Andy Serkis in Lord of the Rings, and Steve Carell in Despicable Me (honorable mentions go to Louis Prima in The Jungle Book and Eddie Murphy in Shrek). Even before Despicable Me 3, Carell would have already made the cut, but with his most recent performance he may have jumped himself towards the top of the list.
In the first film, he blew us out of the water with his performance as the main protagonist, Gru. The second film he did much of the same schtick, perhaps making us think that being funny in this role is just too easy for him. But this new installment has him not only playing Gru, but Gru’s twin brother, Dru.
Despicable Me 3 is in no way comparable to the first film, but it’s impressive, nonetheless, and shows great maturity. In the 2010 original, Gru is an evil villain-turned-good guy–a great premise! But the movie accomplished its end goal then and there. I give the writers kudos for figuring out how to maintain quality and success throughout 2 more stories (not including the Minions movie).
This third film shows that the series won’t just rest on its laurels by merely bringing back the same characters over and over again without providing more depth as well (I’m looking at you, Shrek).
In this one, Gru discovers he has a twin brother, Dru, who desperately wants to meet him. But in reality, Dru wants Gru to help him become an evil villain. This all comes after Gru gets fired from the evil villain task force, and now faces the dilemma of whether or not to return to villainy.
A different side to Gru is seen here. Whether accurate or not, we’ve come to know the former-bad guy as a bumbling idiot. He at least fits the stereotype. But juxtaposed to Dru, we see he is actually very skilled.
There’s a subplot that features a former-child-star-turned-villain, Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), who still thinks that he’s the character he played in an ’80s TV show. It’s an awesome bit and provides for a lot of cool ’80s references and set pieces.
One of which is Bratt’s lair–a retro-colored palace in the sky, equipped with a giant wall full of thousands of ’80s robot toys featuring Bratt’s likeness. We also get an awesome animated version of Hollywood–which might be a first in animated movies, as real-life locations aren’t typically used.
While the humor in Despicable Me 3 may not live up to the first two films, the story is just as impressive, giving us a solid addition to the franchise.